Full-time: 3 Years
£9,250 per year (2019/20)
£13,250 per year (2019/20)
112 (September 2019 entry)
Markeaton Street, Derby Campus, Derby Theatre
New for September 2019: As part of our commitment to improving student experience we are continually enhancing and reviewing our courses. Changes are being made to this course to reflect the evolving nature of the industry and to keep the course in line with industry standards. Curriculum changes proposed will ensure that we equip our graduates with the prerequisite skills and subject knowledge to be successful in their careers. To find out more get in touch with our programme leaders or attend an open day. This webpage will be updated as changes are made to the programme.
Talented and creative professionals are in great demand for backstage roles 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 which go into staging exciting productions.
Employable Graduates – we’re ranked 15th highest amongst all UK universities and 12th for English institutions with 96% of graduates in work or further study within six months of completing their degree: HESA 2016.
- You will have your own professional theatre in which to hone your skills. The University owns and runs Derby Theatre as a major venue in the city centre, where you can observe and work with industry professionals.
- The course covers all aspects of technical theatre. You will get to grips with stage and production management, lighting, sound, projection, sets, props, wardrobe and theatre administration.
- You will join a production team and help deliver compelling shows and performances locally, nationally and even internationally.
- You will have the opportunity to visit other venues such as theatres, theme parks and arenas to find out what happens behind the scenes as well as on stage.
- You will be taught, guided and mentored by experienced industry professionals including the full-time staff of Derby Theatre, visiting professional designers and the highly experienced programme team.
To find out more about the work that Derby Theatre do outside of the University, please visit their YouTube Channel.
This exciting Technical Theatre programme is taught by practising theatre professionals with 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. The general pattern of your work during the course moves from class work and focused practical sessions during the first stage to being part of the production crew for public performances during stage two and on to heading up a department and/or engaging in a design role for public performances in the final stage.
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.
'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
You’ll 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.
- Introduction to Lighting, Sound and Video
- Digital Media
- Stage and Production Management
- Set, Props and Costume
- Contextual Studies (History and Theory)
- Personal Development Planning
At this stage, you’ll become part of the production crew for public performances and have the opportunity to focus on an area of personal interest.
- Lighting Design, Operation and Production Electrics
- Sound Design, Operation and Production Sound
- Stage Management in rehearsal and production
- Design Realisation and Digital Design Tools
- Video, Interactivity and New Media for Performance
- Advanced Contextual Studies
- Continuing Personal Portfolio Development
You’ll progress to greater responsibilities within technical theatre, such as heading up a department or engaging in a design role for performances.
- Professional Practice in Technical Theatre (Possible work placement)
- Major Performance Project
- Independent Studies
- Personal and Career Development
You’ll 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) Contemporary Theatre and Performance to stage work not only at Derby Theatre but also at major events such as Buxton Fringe Festival and the National Student Drama Festival. 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 on a number of programmes and develop valuable skills in collaborating across a number of disciplines.
You’ll 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).
People you will meet
You’ll be taught by practising professionals with expertise in their own specialist areas of technical theatre.
- Kit Lane (Program Leader) – Over 25 years’ professional theatre experience. Production Manager for over 100 productions in the UK, West End and internationally. Video Designer with dozens of professional designs nationally and internationally.
- Rebecca Emery (Lecturer) – 20 plus years of professional experience in Stage Management and Production Management nationally and internationally. Board member and former Chair of the Stage Management Association.
- Alexandra Stafford-Marshall – Associate Lecturer and freelance lighting designer with 25 year’s professional experience. Formerly Chief Electrician of Derby Playhouse.
- Adam McCready – Guest Lecturer and Freelance Sound Designer with over a decade of experience and numerous design credits.
- Tim Heywood – Head of Wardrobe at Derby Theatre and accomplished designer of set and costumes for theatre, TV and film.
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:
For a glimpse of last year’s Degree Show take a look at our flickr photo album.
September 2019 typical entry requirements
|UCAS points||112 (up to 16 from AS-levels)|
|Specific requirements at A-level|
No specific subject requirements
|Specific requirements at GCSE||GCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification|
|Interview / Audition||Yes - see interview details|
Alternative entry qualifications:
- BTEC - DMM
- Access to HE Diploma 60 credits: 45 at level 3 with a minimum of Dist: 15 Merit: 24 Pass: 6
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.
How to apply
Apply by 15 January to start in September
Need help applying? Find out how we can help you with your UCAS application
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
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.
- Richard Gerver, who studied Theatre Arts at Derby and has become a best-selling author, award-winning educationalist, acclaimed public speaker, and adviser to governments and major corporations across the globe. “There was a sense that anything is possible at Derby," says Richard. "We were studying in an atmosphere where risk-taking, creativity and entrepreneurship were the norm. It gave me a love of learning which has stayed with me.”
- Tom Ralston, a graduate of sister-program BSc (Hons) Sound, Light & Live Event Technology, is Project Manager for many international events (Justin Bieber, One Direction, Lionel Ritchie etc) in the Middle East and won the Middle East Young Achiever of the year award at the Middle East Event Awards 2014.
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.Contact us
† Additional information about your studies
Download programme specification
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, state-of-the-art 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
- Use of theatre workshop and all technical equipment in the Derby Theatre.
- 2 national field trips
- Discounted tickets to Derby Theatre during studies
- Here at Derby, we provide excellent learning resources, libraries and specialist laboratories and studios.
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
- Personal Protective Clothing (PPC) Safety Boots (Approx. £50)
- Correct clothing for practical classes - if not already owned approx £20- £30
- Additional materials (printing, stationary, portfolio sleeves, folders, USBs/hard drives etc.) (Approx. costs - Year 1= £250, Year 2 = £300, Year 3 = £400)
- There will be occasions when you will be expected to attend exhibitions, screenings, performances and festivals. You will need to budget for these over each academic year.
Optional costs not included in your fees
- additional course related publications (approx. costs £100),
- specialist software/hardware (costs up to £1500)
- Students would be expected to build up their own tools for practice in the profession over the period of study on their degree.
- Final year project costs (costs determined by student £200-£600)
- Travel for work placement opportunities (costs will vary dependant on location)
- We provide full details of all course fees, but extra costs may include field trips (approx. cost £200-£400)
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.