Although the course focuses on costume for shows, films and new performance disciplines, the skills you learn will prepare you for a wide range of other careers.
Costume is a diverse and demanding subject – you need to be interested in art, design and all genres of theatre and film. You’ll discover how to create whole new worlds on this exciting and creative course. As well as technical skill, you’ll learn that great costume production depends on your ability to interpret ideas.
You’ll work alongside set and costume designers, film, make-up and acting students on stage and in ‘live’ productions. While your eventual career may not be in both costume supervision and making but we believe that understanding the overall production process is what sets our students apart and gives them an edge. Over the three years of study, you can choose to focus your studies and specialise in Costume making or costume supervision, or a combination of both areas.
Level 4 (First Year)
In your first year, we aim to give you a solid grounding in both Performance Design and Costume Interpretation. This will help you to experience the creative process of both designing and interpreting designs.
The first unit is focused on core skills and aims to introduce you to a wide range of sewing techniques, including making the male and female blocks, boning and many seams and fastenings. Design-orientated projects include life drawing, costume design processes and scale model making, as well as looking at the contextual and theoretical issues around the subject.
The Design and Making unit asks you to develop a performance design through the study of a text. You can then try your hand at making one of your designs. This unit investigates the designer/performer/audience relationship in a given space and culminates in a set of sampled costume designs and scale set model with a made costume.
At the end of this unit, you’ll have the opportunity to decide if you want to continue with the BA Costume course that you enrolled on or transfer to the BA Performance Design and Film Costume course.
If you remain on the course you will then be introduced to our Costume Workshop unit – which allows you to see the complete costume interpretation process – right through from measuring performers to working on a creative brief and learning more detailed costume supervision skills.
Throughout all years you will be writing essays and reviews. A critical understanding of performance is integral to all aspects of the course curriculum.
Level 5 (Second Year)
Your second year begins with the Historical Costume unit – where you will learn about how to be a ‘dress detective’ and how to analyse the historical clues in clothing and the historical context of clothes. You will then get the opportunity to make an historically-inspired-costume or part of a costume – this maybe historical pattern cutting ‘cut on the stand’ or how to make a corset. This unit is followed by the Tailoring unit – where you will make a tailored garment step by step. The final practical unit is entitled Experimental Costume and will require you to make and supervise a costume that will challenge you to push boundaries and break rules so that you develop your creativity.
This final unit of the year aims to provide you with opportunities for you to develop as a creative maker and supervisor with high aesthetic standards and strong technical ability. This unit may offer live project briefs, including working with BA (Hons) Film Production students on their films and designing for BA (Hons) Acting productions.
Collaborating with other students will help you to learn by doing, extending your conceptual and creative ability, technical understanding and practical expertise.
Remember that you will also be writing an essay and developing your critical analysis skills.
Level 6 (Third Year)
In your third year, the focus is on film, theatre and site-specific projects. Throughout Level 6, you’ll have learned how to use the skills that you have developed on the course to produce work of a professional standard within a near-professional context.
The first unit, Production Practice, asks you to choose from a selection of exciting projects. These range from making or supervising a show that will be staged by BA (Hons) Acting students, to making for a series of short films for BA (Hons) Film Production students. We also regularly make costumes for professional theatre productions or museum exhibitions.
You’ll find the atmosphere in the studio reflects the pace and intensity of industry; we expect students to work in tight creative teams, solving problems as they occur.
You’ll also prepare and write your Research Project unit in the autumn term. You’ll have the opportunity to choose your own topic for research and to complete a 5,000-word essay.
The Major Project unit is designed to develop your professional skills in either costume making or supervising. This unit can be entirely speculative – you might want to create a costume from a design that has always inspired you, or you might work on one of the many professional and BA (Hons) Acting projects that we undertake.
Another key focus of your third year will be on developing your professional identity. You’ll attend mock interviews with objective industry personnel, who can help you to understand your strengths and weaknesses – and identify any gaps in your portfolio.
This feedback will help you to create work that complements your existing projects, for example, a maker might build a specific item to demonstrate their sewing skills.
As part of your course you may also get the opportunity to take part in course trips, previous trips have included:
- New York
*These trips are optional and some may incur additional costs