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Two people with theatrical make up

Make-up for Media and Performance

Spectacular make-up and dramatic special effects can transform a production. Recent graduates have gone on to work on Coronation Street, Pirates of the Caribbean, Pan, Cinderella and James Bond.

Course information

Our BA (Hons) Make-up for Media and Performance course gives you the skills you need to play a key creative role in performance, fashion, film or television. The make-up artist is an important member of any production team and you’ll work with students studying acting, film production, costume and fashion to create ‘live’ collaborative projects.

Make-Up for Media and Performance gives you the skills that you need to play a key creative role in performance, fashion, film or television.

Our recent graduates have worked on BBC and ITV productions (such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Coronation Street, Casualty, Granchester and The Durrells), films (such as Beauty and the Beast), theatre productions at the Royal Shakespeare Company, musicals (such as Wicked, The King and I, Matilda and Priscilla Queen of the Desert), and at Leavesden Warner Brothers and Pinewood Studios.

The make-up artist is an important member of any production team and you’ll have the chance to work with students who are studying Acting, Film Production, Costume and Performance Design, Commercial Photography, Visual Effects, Fashion and Fashion Branding and Communication to create ‘live’ collaborative projects. On this course, you’ll learn a diverse range of make-up skills. You’ll study make-up and hair design for drama, ballet, opera and music. A different perspective will give you the skills for fashion and photography shoots. You’ll also construct wigs and hairpieces, and create prosthetic make-up FX for film and television. In short, you’ll develop skills that are a real asset to a wide range of performance industries, from theatre to TV, and from the music business to the world of fashion and film.

Level 4 (first year)

The first year (Level 4) of the course is designed to teach you the fundamental creative, practical, analytical and critical skills needed by makeup artists working in various media and performance industries.

Workshops and practical projects will help you to extend existing skills in makeup, wigs and hair design and application through learning about postiche. Interpersonal, communication and employability skills are developed through these units since you will carry out practical make-up and hair projects on one another, models and performers under direction and supervision.

The units will also introduce you to formally recording your work through developing a professional make-up portfolio.

The development of analysis, critical thinking, research, reflection and writing skills are an important part of the course and link with the development of your practical and creative work.

Level 5 (second year)

The second year of your course enables you to build upon the skills and knowledge that you have gained at Level 4 and gives you the opportunity to consider the specialisms and career pathways that you would like to explore in more depth during Level 6 study.

Employability and professional skills are developed through exploring professional makeup contexts, digital technology in makeup, industrial links and collaborative engagement.

You’ll refine your technical abilities and knowledge of the place of the make-up artist within the creative team. You’ll work on a variety of live projects including live performances, shoots and make-up events – an important aspect of the course.

You’ll develop a contextual understanding of the art of make-up transformation and performance work though research.

Level 6 (third year)

Your third year provides the opportunity for you to formulate and identify your particular professional and academic interests.

Risk and ambition within the field will be crucial to your individual development and intellectual and academic integrity will be further encouraged through written work and ‘thinking through practice’.

The structure of Level 6 is made up of units that will further develop your potential to become intellectually motivated and increasingly autonomous professionals.

There is a strong emphasis on balancing conceptual thinking skills, research methods, practical and technical skills, working independently and as part of a team and acquiring lifelong learning skills.

You’ll develop your specialist areas of interest such as prosthetic transformation. You’ll extend your portfolio of work within a range of professional contexts through live projects and collaborations.

You’ll investigate your own practice and develop a philosophical understanding of key critical and contextual issues.

All students are registered for the award of BA (Hons); however, exit awards are available if you leave the course early, having successfully completed one or two levels. If you successfully complete a level of the course, you will automatically be entitled to progress to the next level.

For the award of a Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE), you must have achieved a minimum of 120 credits at Level 4. This qualification may be awarded if you leave the University following successful completion of the first year of your course.

For the award of a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE), you must have achieved a minimum of 240 credits of which a minimum of 120 must be at Level 5. This qualification may be awarded if you leave the University following successful completion of the second year of your course.

For the award of a BA (Hons) you must have achieved a minimum of 360 credits of which a minimum of 240 must be at Level 5 or above, of which a minimum of 120 credits must be at Level 6. This qualification will be awarded upon successful completion of your course.

A BA without Honours may be awarded if you have achieved 300 credits, at least 180 of which are at Level 5 or above, and at least 60 of which are at Level 6.

On the BA (Hons) Make-up for Media and Performance course, you’ll benefit from the expert guidance of our experienced teaching staff. You can read more about their specialisms by exploring their profiles below.

Photo of Sara Taylor

Sara Taylor

Sara’s professional portfolio of design work includes Wig Mistress (make up, hair and wig design) for London’s west end productions...

Photo of Carolyne Hinds

Carolyne Hinds

Carolyne joined AUB in September 2013, with extensive experience in Education and Cert Ed (PCET) following on from running a BA (Hons)...

Photo of Amanda Stephenson

Amanda Stephenson

After working for several years as a professional photographer, Amanda completed a BA (Hons) in English and Film at the University...

Dr Jon Croose headshot

Dr. Jon Croose

PhD, MA, Certificate in Newspaper Journalism, BA (Hons) (University of Kent at Canterbury) Jons academic background is in Theatre...

Photo of Kathrine Auger-Fisher

Kathrine Auger-Fisher

Kat who has worked for the BBC, ITV, Cosmo and OK magazine has extensive and varied experience of freelance work within the make-up...

Photo of Wayne Humphrey

Wayne Humphrey

Wayne comes from an Art and Design background, having completed a HND in Graphic Design. Wayne’s has 12 years’ experience working...

Photo of Antony Dixon

Antony Dixon

Antony is a practicing artist having exhibited and curated exhibitions in London and the South West. He has been instrumental in setting...

Photo of Alison Hart

Alison Hart

BA (Hons), PGCE Alison trained in Fashion and Textile Design, Costume and Millinery and currently works as a Senior Technician...

Photo of Julia Carter

Julia Carter

Julia has had a varied career in the Arts, and has taught sculpture and life drawing as a visiting lecturer in further education and at...

Photo of Sophie Monro

Sophie Monro

Sophie completed a BA (Hons) degree in Photographic Art before turning her attentions to make-up and undertaking a VTCT course in...

Photo of Gabrielle Main

Gabrielle Main

Gaby is a practicing makeup artist and wig maker with experience in a range of industries. She is currently an Early Career Academic at...

Photo of Paul Schilling

Paul Schilling

Paul joined the Arts University as a Technician Demonstrator in January 2019. Prior to this post, Paul was a visiting tutor for the...

Photo of Jessica Hutchings

Jessica Hutchings

Jessica first found her aptitude for hair and makeup after completing the AUB short course in Makeup for TV, Film and Theatre in 2011...

Amy George profile picture

Amy George

As a former AUB Hair and Makeup graduate, Amy pursued a career within the theatre industry, working predominantly as a wigs mistress...

How to apply

Once you've found the perfect Undergraduate course, you can apply to study via UCAS, including direct entry applications to second and third year.

When applying through UCAS, use the institution code A66. All of our courses take place on one site, so we don't have a campus code. We'll then use your completed UCAS form to make decisions about your application. You can find out more on entry requirements in our apply section.

When you apply to one of our courses, it's important that you help us get a good picture of both you and your work – so you'll need a great personal statement. We want to know more about why you're interested in the course, your key influences, and what you hope to do after your studies.

If you're invited for an interview, many of our courses will ask to see a portfolio of your work so we can get more insight into your ideas and abilities. To help you, we've created guidelines outlining what we expect from your portfolio for each course.

Ready to be inspired? Browse our gallery of student work to see some of the projects that our current students have been working on.

Students studying this course achieve great things and have won prestigious and high profile awards, such as:

  • Illamasqua ‘Distinction in Make-up Artistry’: Finalist
  • Warpaint Make-up Championship, London: Winner
  • National Make-up Awards​: Winner
  • Brush Wars Fashion Make-up Competition​: 2nd place
  • ‘The Art of Bodypainting’, Olympia

Portfolio requirements

To become a knowledgeable, competent and successful professional make-up artist requires a sincere desire to learn. We're looking for a strong academic entry profile and candidates who display a commitment to learning and who aspire to a career in make-up and special effects for performance, film and television.

Due to Covid-19 and the need for social distance, we will not be able to offer on campus interviews to applicants this cycle. For courses that require a portfolio review or an audition, the Admissions team will be in touch with you and request a digital portfolio or audition.

We will hold Offer Holder days in Spring and invite applicants to visit the campus and meet the course team, or if you are unable to visit us you will be able to attend a virtual Offer Holder Day.

We’re particularly interested to see evidence of your creative artistic ability and potential. We’d like to see the way you think and work so your portfolio should include examples of investigation and development leading to a two or three-dimensional conclusion.

We like to see your visual understanding of the human body, life drawing, portrait studies, observational drawing and experimental ideas. Examples of any experience in make-up transformation, hair dressing or sculpture work are useful and we would like you to show and tell us about your interest and passion for make-up through your research in sketchbooks, design pages or photographs.

We also expect applicants to show abilities in research, the development of ideas, self-motivation and commitment to this area of study.

Universities interviewing for creative courses will expect to be presented with a portfolio to help them understand your ability and range of work. Your portfolio could be your golden ticket into receiving an offer so making sure it’s presentable, well-organised and accessible is essential.

Studios and resources

AUB has three state-of-the-art make-up studios, which provide a realistic, professional and comfortable working environment. Formally opened by Nick Dudman himself, our makeup studios offer large flexible spaces for lectures, demonstrations, and practical workshops for all creative make-up and hair work.

Equipment in the Make-up studio

Make-up Studio

Our studios have individual workstations with make–up chairs, mirrors, lighting, and much more

Student using tools in a Workshops

3D Workshop

Our 3D workshops with manual and digital manufacturing equipment and computers

Student performing in AUB Black Box style theatre

Black Box Theatre

Our versatile ‘Black Box’ style theatre is a space for performers and set designer to test their mettle for real

Teaching and learning

The teaching and learning within the BA (Hons) Make-up for Media and Performance studio environment is structured so that you can make the most of opportunities that arise within and beyond the curriculum structure. This multidisciplinary manner of teaching is characteristic of the nature of the subject and individual development, as well as collaborative engagement, is strongly encouraged and supported.

The course will encourage you to explore the notion of make-up as an interface within the creative community with a particular focus on the media and performance contexts of stage, screen, film, fashion promotional and editorial, special effects and prosthetics. Projects will encourage you to investigate, test and challenge the critical and theoretical ways in which contemporary, historical, cultural, psychological and anthropological attitudes inform and impact upon our perceptions of identity. Opportunities to consider the importance, significance and invention of faces and the representation of make-up on the body provide an exciting environment for producing creative work. You will be encouraged to relate your theoretical research to your practical development of make-up transformation through design thinking and technical skills development in hair styling, wig making, body painting, prosthetics and character design.

We are interested in a convergent and divergent approach to thinking, through research development, design thinking, ideas generation, and problem solving for make-up transformation, from conception to the final outcome, be that a live performance, film, video recording, photographic evidence, digital images, installation or artefact. The integration of theory and practice is promoted and reinforced through a team teaching approach. Lectures, seminars and tutorials will be delivered by team members and visiting guests in the creative environment of the make-up studios.

The course objectives will be met by deploying a wide variety of teaching and learning methods including studio workshops, simulated and collaborative projects, lectures, seminars, group critiques, guided reading and tutorials. The course is structured progressively to provide increasing opportunities for autonomous learning. The methods deployed will, whenever possible, lead you into the disciplines required of a creative make-up designer and practitioner and promote the transferable skills of self-management and self-reliance. The progressive promotion of student-centred learning reflects your maturity as a student and provides the opportunity to focus learning towards individual goals.

Contact hours include all scheduled teaching sessions, but also supervised time in the workshop or studio. In line with national guidance, we include in our calculation of contact hours all the time which is scheduled in the studio for independent study which is also supported by staff (either academic staff, or technicians).

The information provided below gives the proportion of your study time which constitutes contact hours. Where there are optional routes through the course, we have used the figures for the most popular option.

Year 1 (% time) Year 2 (% time) Year 3 (% time)

71

76

73

Assessment and feedback

Each unit is assessed separately, and the assessment forms part of the unit. Assessment both provides a measure of your achievement, and also gives you regular feedback on how your learning is developing.

For every unit of your course, we will inform you of what you are expected to learn; what you have to submit; how your work will be assessed; and the deadline for presenting your work for assessment. This is made available through Unit Information, which is on your course blog.

You will receive a final mark for each unit in the form of a percentage, which will be recorded on your formal record of achievement (transcript). Each component of assessment is graded using a notched marking scale, whereby only certain marks are used within each grade. The only marks available within any ten-point band are *2, *5 and *8 (e.g. 62, 65, 68). These marks correspond to a low, mid, and high level of achievement within each grade band.

The University has agreed that, during 2019/20, it will run a pilot project. This will mean that on some courses, one unit at Level 4 will be assessed on a Pass / Fail basis only, with written feedback but no numerical grade. If your course has been selected for the pilot, your Course Leader will tell you this, and the details will be clearly expressed on the Unit Information Sheet.

All learning outcomes must be passed to successfully complete the unit.

On successful completion of your Honours degree course, you will be awarded a degree classification based on your unit marks. The final classification is determined using all unit marks at Levels 5 and 6 using two different algorithms, which are detailed in the HE Student Regulations. If the two algorithms produce different results, you will be awarded the higher class of degree.

If you have joined Level 6 through either the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) route or having completed a Foundation Degree (FdA), the final classification is determined using only your unit marks at Level 6.

For further information on assessment, progression, awards and classifications, please visit https://viewpoint.aub.ac.uk

What Our Graduates Are Doing

Successful completion of this course means you’ll have acquired the accomplished, discipline-specific and transferable skills needed in order to enter a highly competitive and sometimes unpredictable makeup industry, which requires graduates with a robust work ethic.

Career opportunities will focus on working closely with directors, designers and other creative departments in film, television, live performance and fashion which could include CGI technicians, photographers, model makers, sculptors, animatronics designers, visual effects artists and fashion stylists.

As graduating make up artists from AUB, your professional options are wide and varied. With this in mind, the course has been designed to prepare you for a professional career in a diverse range of specialist roles thus giving you the necessary skills to take full advantage of an inspiring and exciting career.

Our Careers and Employability Service is dedicated to supporting you in turning your creativity into a great career. You can read more about this here.

Opportunities that our recent graduates have undertaken include:

  • Make-up Trainee, Fantastic Beasts the Crimes of Grindelwald (film)
  • Make-up Trainee, The Durrells (ITV)
  • Deputy Head of Wigs, La Cage au Folles (musical)
  • Make-up trainee, Beauty and The Beast (film)
  • Make-up assistant, The Secret (ITV)
  • Wig Assistant, The Wig Store
  • Wig Technician at Pete Own Wigs, Bristol
  • Wigs and Make-up assistant for the Royal Shakespeare Company
  • Wig maker/dresser at Banbury Postiche
  • Mould-making technicians for the Harry Potter tour
  • Ministry of Masks, London
  • Shepperton film studios, Thor 2
  • Shepperton film studios, John Carter of Mars
  • Millennium FX prosthetics studio, London
  • Pinewood Film Studios, Les Miserable
  • Palace Theatre, London, Singing in the Rain
  • Dominion Theatre, London, We will Rock You
  • BBC, Children in Need
  • BBC, Doctor Who
  • Channel 4, Gok’s Clothes Road Show

Previous graduates have gained employment on the following projects:

  • Films Maleficent 2 (2019), Star Wars: Episode 8 (2018), Fantastic Beasts the crime of Grindelwald (2018), Redcon1 (2018), Beauty and the Beast (2017), The Mummy (2017), Star Wars: Rogue One (2016), Spectre (2015), Cinderella (2015), Pan (2015), War Machine (2014)​
  • Television Carnival Row (Amazon), Coronation Street (ITV), Relik (BBC), The Durrells (ITV), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (BBC), The Secret (ITV), Little Boy Blue (ITV), Three Girls (BBC), Casualty (BBC), The Keith and Paddy Picture Show (ITV), Episodes (Ch4) ​
  • Fashion Promotion and Editorial MAC cosmetics, Charlotte Tilbury, Illamasqua, Bobbi Brown and London Fashion Week​
  • Theatre Wig Department and Wig makers English National Opera, Royal Shakespeare Company, Miss Saigon, 42nd Street, Hairspray, La Cage aux Folles, Cabaret, Mary Poppins, Hairspray, Shrek The Musical, Mamma Mia, Dirty Dancing, Peter Owen Wigs, Welsh National Opera and The Wig Store​
  • Prosthetic makers, designers, wax works Mark Coulier, Millennium FX, Kristyan Mallett Make-up Effects, Altered States FX, KMFX, Harry Potter Studio Tour and Madame Tussauds
student applying makeup on a photoshoot

Keleigh Thomas

Since graduating from BA(Hons) Make-up for media and performance in 2014, Keleigh's film credits have included the Mummy 2017...

student applying hair and makeup

Natalie Allan

Since graduating from the BA(Hons) make-up for media and performance course, Natalie Allan has added some impressive work...

student creating a gnome with makeup

Clare Hedges

Since graduating from BA(Hons) Make-Up for Media and Performance, Clare Hedges has worked with the likes of Cara Delevingne...

  • Illamasqua ‘Distinction in Make-up Artistry’: Finalist
  • Warpaint Make-up Championship, London: Winner
  • Body Paint Pro at the North Make-up Championships
  • National Make-up Awards: winner
  • Brush Wars Fashion Make-up Competition: runner up
  • ‘The Art of Bodypainting’, Olympia

Trips and Visits

As part of your course you may also get the opportunity to take part in course trips, previous trips have included:

  • New York
  • London

*These trips are optional and some may incur additional costs

Due to the current travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines, it is unlikely that any trips will be planned in the first half of the new academic year. We will follow Government advice as soon as it is available for the remainder of the year.

Make-up for Media and Performance news

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