Course details

Study options

Full-time: 3 Years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year* (2020/21)

International fee

£14,045 per year (2020/21)

UCAS points

112 (September 2020 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BA (Hons)

Start date



Markeaton Street, Derby Campus
Derby Theatre

Course description

Talented and creative professionals are in great demand for backstage roles in theatres and across the live entertainment industry. Offering hands-on experience in a real working theatre, our exciting BA (Hons) Technical Theatre covers all the behind-the-scenes skills that go into staging exciting productions. 

To find out more about the work that Derby Theatre do outside of the University, please visit their YouTube Channel.

100%overall satisfaction - BA (Hons) Technical Theatre**National Student Survey, 2019

Derby Theatre
The UK's unique professional, producing and learning theatre 

As a Learning Theatre, Derby Theatre provides a unique opportunity for students to learn to their craft by working alongside both academics and theatre professionals in the heart of a professional producing theatre, to develop your skills in technical theatre or performance. 

Students, academics and artists work, create and learn side by side at Derby Theatre. All decisions about the development of both the art and the learning opportunities are made together. At every stage, there is huge potential in the crucible of the arts, learning and research combining to both underpin and inform our future work.  

Derby Theatre provides an extraordinary platform for real life learning to take place, not only through the exciting main stage and studio programmes, but also through the work that the Theatre does with young people, young people in care, emerging artists and the community. Graduates of the programme can also be supported by our Artist Development Programme, In Good Company, which is part of a large regional funding programme. 

Winner: Excellence in Arts Education Award, UK Theatre Awards 2019
Derby Theatre won the Excellence in Arts Education Award at the annual UK Theatre Awards, in recognition of its learning theatre vision which has transformed the venue and provides opportunities for young people to take part in high-quality arts, sports and cultural activities across the city. The award was also in specific recognition and celebration of This is Derby, a unique project delivered by Derby Theatre and other cultural and sports organisations in the city, including Derby County Community Trust, Cultural Campus: Derby's Cultural Education Partnership and the City's Sports Forum.


Team from Derby Theatre stand for their photo at the UK Theatre Awards

Derby Theatre wins Excellence in Arts Education Award at UK Theatre Awards

Derby Theatre has won recognition of its learning theatre vision and innovative This is Derby project.

View the full storyView the full story
Technical Theatre students working

This exciting Technical Theatre programme is taught by practising theatre professionals with decades of experience and expertise in all areas of technical theatre. You will study the traditional technical theatre disciplines but then go on to explore the integration of new media and emerging technologies in live performance. During the course you will encounter a range of practices including stage and production management, lighting, sound, projection, set, props, wardrobe and theatre administration. You will be part of the production team for public performances in the Main House and Studio at Derby Theatre and other venues around the city and further afield. There is also the opportunity to be involved in extra-curricular activity at the Theatre.

You will develop a broad range of skills and be able to follow your particular interests and specialise in related areas. In your first year you will start with class work and focussed practical sessions in order to develop the fundamental skills and knowledge of technical theatre. You will work as assistants and operators on some of the produced shows as well as spending time observing and working with the professional team at Derby Theatre. In your second year you will develop more advanced skills and start to create and manage your own productions alongside students on other theatre courses. In your third year you will head up a department or engage in design roles for public performances as well as exploring your unique interests through your research project.

As well as the specialist facilities of Derby Theatre (which include a scenic workshop and dedicated student Production and Design suite) you will have access to a wide range of facilities at the Markeaton Street site including wood and metal workshops, computer labs with specialist design software, LASER cutters, 3D-Printers, audio labs, video equipment and much more. 

Technical Theatre student Aaron Mace
Aaron Mace, BA (Hons) Technical Theatre

'I chose to study a degree at Derby thanks to their outstanding facilities they have on offer. Due to the fact they have their own theatre, I’ve had the opportunity to gain real life learning by working in a professional theatre for the course of my 3 years. This has given me networking opportunities I’ll be able to take with me outside of the University and experiences working on big Main House productions that look great on my CV.' - Aaron Mace, BA (Hons) Technical Theatre

What you will study

You will study all the traditional technical theatre disciplines but then go on to explore how new media and emerging technologies can be integrated in live performance. There is also the opportunity to pursue your personal interests to specialise in particular areas.  

You will study modules such as:

The emphasis at this stage is on class work and focused practical sessions with opportunities to observe and shadow professional practitioners at Derby Theatre. You will work as an assistant and/or operator on productions.

  • Spotlight on: Industry Practice
  • Theatre Technology and Design
  • Theatre Production in Context
  • Stage Management and Production Process

At this stage, you will develop your skills and knowledge while creating and managing shows.

  • Spotlight on: Research Methodologies for Theatre Production
  • Creative Project in Theatre Production
  • Design and Technical Processes
  • Theatre Production Practice

You will progress to greater responsibilities within technical theatre, such as heading up a department or engaging in a design role for performances. Through your research project you will explore in depth your unique areas of interest. We will help you to prepare for the next stage of your career through the Professional Practice and Industry Preparation modules. 

  • Professional Practice in Theatre Production (Possible work placement)
  • Major Project in Technical Theatre
  • Spotlight on: Industry Preparation

Watch the video to see what you could get involved with at Derby Theatre...

Derby Theatre's Artistic Director Sarah Brigham tells you all about the organisation

View View our video transcript for "Study at Derby Theatre" video transcript video transcript

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

University of Derby student drinking coffee

How you will learn

You will take part in lectures, seminars, practical workshops, tutorials and self-directed study, while engaging with performance and production activities.  Assessment is through written coursework and practical evaluation.  

You’ll work alongside students on other courses such as the BA (Hons) Theatre Arts and BA (Hons) Costume and Set Design to stage work not only at Derby Theatre but also at other venues across the city and further afield. The nature of technical theatre means that you should expect to work on shows during the evenings, overnight and at weekends occasionally.

Whilst all of your learning is underpinned by classroom based theory this programme has a very practical, hands-on approach to learning and you will spend much of your time working alongside the professionals at Derby Theatre. You might find yourself helping to construct the set, rigging lights or organizing props.

Real world learning is at the core of the Technical Theatre programme. Your work will be grounded in the professional activities of Derby Theatre and you will find yourself involved in production activities from a very early stage. We also work with other theatres and entertainment venues (such as theme parks) to give you exposure to practices in a variety of contexts. As well as professional productions you will work alongside students from a number of courses and develop valuable skills in collaborating across different disciplines.


You willl benefit from honing your skills in Derby Theatre. We are one of the only UK universities to own and run a professional producing theatre and your course is delivered as part of the innovative Learning Theatre initiative, funded by Arts Council England, which enables you to gain valuable industry experience.   

The vision for the Learning Theatre is to develop the next generation of theatre makers while creating a highly successful regional producing theatre and a city-wide community education programme.  

Such has been the success of the Learning Theatre project that it won the prize for ‘Excellence and Innovation in the Arts’ in the Times Higher Education Awards. It has also become an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation (NPO). 

Take a virtual tour of our facilities at Derby Theatre

A 360 look around Derby Theatre

People you will meet 

You will be taught by practising professionals with expertise in their own specialist areas of technical theatre.   

Degree Show

Every year students from the School of Arts celebrate their time at University by showcasing their work at an end of year Degree Show at Markeaton Street and across the City of Derby. The Show usually runs throughout June and is a fantastic opportunity for potential employers, friends, family, industry and members of the public to see exciting creations by the next generation of artists, designers, creators and makers from Derby. The Show takes the form of:

Take a look at highlights from the 2019 Degree Show.

Technical Theatre students working

Entry requirements

September 2020 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points112 (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-level

No specific subject requirements

Specific requirements at GCSEGCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
IELTS6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)
Interview / AuditionYes - see interview details

Alternative entry qualifications:

We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.

Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees


£9,250 per year*



£14,045 per year


* The fees stated above are for the 2019/20 academic year; fees for 2020/21 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. We will update this information as soon as it is available.

Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

UK/EU students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Part-time students should apply directly to the University.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for EU students post-Brexit

International students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree


Our graduates have a great employability track record in many areas of the live event industry, including lighting design, project management, stage management, technical support and theatre technician roles.  

Throughout the Technical Theatre course, you’ll discover countless opportunities to showcase your work to a wider audience, make contacts across the industry, and join professional agencies and support networks to help launch your career. We’ll help you to structure an impressive CV and portfolio to plot your course through the complex terrain of the creative industries.  

Notable Graduates

Programme leader

Kit Lane

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

Included in your fees

Mandatory costs not included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

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