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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
A brown haired male smiles for a portrait photo

The course has allowed me to develop my skills and understanding by putting them into practice on numerous shows and productions in Derby and surrounding cities.

Dominic Murray
Technical Theatre graduate

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 the 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 3 years of my course. 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, Technical Theatre graduate

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 Study at Derby Theatre video transcript

What you will study

Year 1Year 1Year 2Year 2Year 3Year 3

Code: 4TH520

Spotlight on: Industry Practice

This module provides the opportunity for all students to fully interact with the processes involved in the professional theatre environment in which you are based.

You will engage with the various departments within Derby Theatre and explore the plethora of roles and responsibilities involved in theatre and theatre making, from Front of House, to Technical, Learning, Creative, Directing, Marketing and Fundraising. As such, this module will create the connections that you might draw on for your work experience and facilitates your future networking skills and professional opportunities.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 4TT506

Theatre Production In Context

This module provides historical and critical frameworks to examine the development of performance, technical production, and design for theatre/performance. Genres and styles of theatre and other forms of performance, both national and international, will be explored and contemporary approaches to theatre and performance will be considered in the context of their precursors. Fundamental aspects of scenography and relevant concepts and theories for interrogating practice will be introduced along with script analysis and interpretation.

You will explore different types of performance venues and spaces and the impact they have on technical theatre and performance production and design, along with aspects of sustainability in theatre production.

Small group seminars will support the lectures.

You will familiarise yourself with a number of performances and practitioners that relate to the topics being studied.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 4TT508

Theatre Technology and Design

The modern theatre technician must be familiar and comfortable with the use of contemporary digital technology as it has become ubiquitous in every aspect of theatre and performance production and design.

This module will introduce you to the technology used to support theatre and live events. You will gain an understanding of the technical and operational characteristics of a range of theatre equipment including lighting, sound, video, staging and flying systems. You will learn the fundamental principles behind the function and operation of each system, how they can be deployed, and how they can be used to support a performance. Furthermore, you will learn the basics of set and props construction and will be introduced to the fundamental principles of costume and wardrobe operations.

You will learn how to read and interpret scale drawings and simple hand draughting will be explored before Computer Aided Drawing is introduced. The use and manipulation of Digital Media will be introduced.

As well as classroom based activity you will have the opportunity to observe the Derby Theatre technical team at work during pre-production periods and Production Weeks. You may also get the opportunity to shadow the technical team during performances.

You will put your knowledge into practice through practical exercises and working as part of the teams preparing for productions at Derby Theatre.

Some sessions may be shared with students on the Costume and Set Design programme (e.g. technical drawing and CAD workshops)

More information
40 Credits

Code: 4TT509

Stage Management and Production Process

This module will introduce you to the role of the Stage Management team and how all aspects of technical theatre relate to and integrate with the Production Process. You will gain an understanding of Production Process from initial show choice through the design and development phase to realisation and performance. You will learn at what points and in what way the technical departments contribute to the planning and realisation of a successful production. You will begin to consider possible modes of professional engagement within the industry and reflect upon what role(s) you may be interested in pursuing and what skills and attributes would be required to be successful.

In this module the role of the Stage Management team will be explored in detail. You will learn the main tasks allocated to each member of the team at each level and practice some of the necessary skills such as propping, mark-ups, recording blocking and cueing.

You will learn how to break down a script in order to create props and setting lists, lighting and sound cue synopses, and draft running plots.

Vital Health & Safety knowledge will be gained. You will learn the importance of working safely at all times and you will develop skills in carrying out your own Risk Assessments. Techniques such as safe Manual Handling and working at height will be taught.

As well as classroom based activity you will have the opportunity to observe the Derby Theatre Stage Management team at work in the rehearsal room and during Production Weeks. You may also get the opportunity to shadow the Stage Management team and other running crew during performances.

You will put your knowledge into practice through practical exercises and workshops. Experience of working at Assistant level will be gained and you may be an operator, programmer, or Assistant Stage Manager on one of the end of year shows. Where available, other opportunities to work on productions and events at Derby Theatre or other venues will be offered as they arise.

Some sessions may be shared with students on the Costume and Set Design programme (e.g. Production Process seminars)

Module Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  1. Explain in detail the workflow of the technical theatre departments and how they relate to and support the artistic and creative processes
  2. Apply a range of techniques in technical theatre production, in particular the functions of the Stage Management team.

Module Content

Exploration of the entire Production Process from initial show choice through design, development, rehearsals, realisation, performance, and aftermath. You will discover how each member of the team fits into the process and how their contribution is coordinated with all others to result in a successful outcome. Building upon your experience in Spotlight On: Industry Practice you will explore the roles of the technical and design teams and consider where you might fit within this ‘bigger picture’.

Stage Management team, functions, and processes. The main skills of the Stage Management team will be explored and practiced. The importance of the Stage Management team as part of the rehearsal and performance periods will be investigated. Strong communication skills will be emphasised.

How to break down a script for Stage Management and technical preparation.

Introduction to Health and Safety principles, regulations and processes. Hazard identification and Risk Assessment will be taught. Specific skills and knowledge in relevant topics such as Manual Handling and Working at Height will be gained.

You will take on a role as part of the technical or Stage Management team on one or more productions or events.

At least 10% of the module hours (40 hours) will be taken up by production work.

More information
40 Credits

Code: 5TT506

Spotlight On: Research Methodologies for Theatre Production

This module will engage you in a deep consideration of your developing interests and skills in creative, academic and work-based contexts. You will consider critical and analytical issues in relation to research methodology and practice. You will also consider your future interests and potential employability. You will build on your developing practice and wider understanding of theatre production and design, through academic study and exploration of professional practice.
20 Credits

Code: 5TT510

Creative Project in Theatre Production

All theatre disciplines include aspects of design and creation. Job titles in the industry include ‘Lighting Designer’, ‘Sound Designer’, ‘Props Maker’, ‘Video Designer’, etc. In this module you will develop further professional practical, craft, and design skills and technical knowledge as well as exploring new techniques and gaining a deeper insight into craft and design aspects of theatre production.

You will have the opportunity to select one or two specialisms and study them in depth. You will negotiate this provision with the module leader towards the end of the previous semester. With the module tutor you will produce a learning contract that outlines your aims and objectives, individual learning outcomes, and assessment criteria.

You may want to explore in more depth a skill or topic with which you are already familiar. Or you may want to try something new. Or perhaps you have thought of a novel combination of techniques or a new approach to a problem. Creativity, innovation, and risk taking will be encouraged.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 5TT511

Design and Technical Processes

In this module you will develop and build upon the basic skills you acquired in your first year Theatre Technology and Design and Stage Management and Production Process modules. Topics such as Production Electrics and Production Sound will help you to apply your knowledge of lighting, sound, video, and other disciplines and discover how to integrate them effectively as part of a public performance.

You will study Lighting Design, Sound Design and Digital Media along with the equipment and software tools used to plan and realise a successful production. You will continue to explore the roles of the Stage Management team and develop your skills in this area. You will be introduced to the role of the Production Manager.

More information
40 Credits

Code: 5TT512

Theatre Production Practice

This module will build upon your growing knowledge of Technical Theatre concepts and techniques and develop your skills at applying those techniques to performances along with the skills needed to manage the production process at different levels.

The emphasis of this module is very much on the realisation of productions and performances through professional practice. You will begin to develop more independence in your creative and technical choices.

With your peers you will create and realise a short performance or presentation (Group Project). All creative, artistic, design, and technical decisions will be yours within the normal parameters of budget, schedule, resources and safety.

In addition to the group project you will take on a role for one or more productions, typically at a Deputy Head of Department, Head of Department, or Designer level.

More information
40 Credits

Code: 6TT508

Professional Practice in Theatre Production

This module provides opportunity to experience professional practice related to your programme of study. This may be achieved either through an industrial placement or by engaging with a defined project related to the professional practice of an industrial sector. The precise nature of engagement will be defined by you in consultation with the Module Leader.

Whilst it is expected that most students will seek an opportunity to engage in a short term, full-time placement, it is recognised that this may not be appropriate for some students or their personal circumstances. In this case a project may be more suitable.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 6TT509

Spotlight On: Industry Preparation

This module is focussed on ensuring you have the skills and knowledge required to seek and gain employment in the theatre industry, wider arts sector, or beyond. You will build upon the job seeking skills, such as CV writing and interview techniques, which you explored in Professional Practice in Theatre Production as well as exploring topics such as Internet presence and social media.

You will also study different types of business structures with a view to possible self-employment or running your own business. Subjects such as Tax, accounts, insurance, business plans, and basic employment law will be discussed.

You will be introduced to organisations and industry bodies, such as trade unions and professional bodies, which you may encounter or take advantage of in your career.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 6TT512

Research Project in Technical Theatre

This module gives you the opportunity to develop a focused research project in your area of interest and developing specialism that you identified in your level 5 module Spotlight on Research Methodologies For Theatre Production. This may take the form of practice research, with a written component, or may be exclusively written, dependant on the relative needs of your area of research.

The module is driven by you as an independent researcher and practitioner, with suitable support and guidance from your teaching team and professionals within Derby Theatre, as appropriate to your project.

The module is designed to enable you to hone your independent critical thinking in relation to materials encountered within your study. Good practice of academic enquiry, research methodologies, and an appropriate level of research is expected.

Research in this module should include both primary and secondary attributed sources. You may utilise practice based activities including observation or practitioners or participants, workshops, and practical investigations.

All research should comply with the Derby University policy on Research Ethics and you will be required to gain ethical approval before embarking on your project.

More information
40 Credits

Code: 6TT513

Major Project in Technical Theatre

In this module you will take on a key role in the instigation, creation, planning and realisation of one or more public-facing performances or productions. The work should evidence creativity, independent study and competent command of techniques and processes. The produced work is intended to be an expression of your professional potential. You will be part of the creative or technical team, working at a high level of responsibility.

The emphasis of this module is very much on the realisation of productions and performances at the highest level. You will demonstrate independence in your creative and technical choices. The working methods will reflect standard industry practice and the highest levels of professionalism will be expected at all times.

You will undertake a role at a senior level of responsibility such as Head of Department or Designer.

The method used to evidence your engagement and attainment within this module will be negotiated between yourself and the module leaders. Your role and contribution to the production of the work must be agreed and confirmed by the module leaders prior to any work being undertaken. There must be summative, assessable evidence of your contribution to the finished work. Evidence will be project specific and negotiated. The requirements for your project will be discussed and confirmed with the module leaders. A Learning Agreement will be drawn up to document this.

More information
40 Credits

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.

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Open Days

Register your interest for a future Open Day and we'll be in touch as soon as we are able to welcome you on campus.

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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 will 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

Personal academic tutoring

Your personal academic tutor will work with you to help you get the most out of your time at university. Having someone to talk to about your academic progress, your university experience and your professional aspirations is hugely valuable. We want you to feel challenged in your studies, stretched but confident to achieve your academic and professional goals.

Find out more about personal academic tutoring

Who will teach you

Kit Lane
Programme leader

Performing Arts and Theatre

View full staff profileView full staff profile

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.

Two students sitting in front of a laptop smiling

Academic Achievement Scholarship

We’re offering eligible students a £1,000 scholarship to celebrate your hard work and success.

Learn more about the Academic Achievement ScholarshipLearn more about the Academic Achievement Scholarship

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

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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