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Performance Design and Film Costume Welcome Guide

Preparing for your course

We're delighted that you've chosen to join our creative community at Arts University Bournemouth. We can't wait to see what you'll create.

Welcome to BA (Hons) Performance Design and Film Costume

This welcome pack is designed to give you an idea of what to expect during the first weeks of your course. Please take the time to read it carefully and take particular note of what's required for pre-course preparation. We hope that you'll enjoy a happy and productive time with us, and we look forward to meeting you.

A message from your Course Leader

Congratulations on achieving your place on BA (Hons) Performance Design and Film Costume (PDFC) at AUB!

The course will begin with an induction week, when you'll have the opportunity to meet staff and current students, find your way around the university, discover Bournemouth and learn more about studying at AUB. The course is delivered over 30 weeks with the usual Christmas and Easter breaks.

We look forward to welcoming you and helping you settle in to the PDFC community.

- Dr Jon Croose, Course Leader

Before you join us

The Library at AUB is extremely well resourced and includes all key texts that you'll need. The list below indicates the key texts that will be useful throughout your studies, all available from the Library at AUB.

You might want to borrow a copy from your local library to look at before you arrive.

You'll receive a comprehensive reading list in the Course Handbook when you arrive and at the start of each unit. The seven books listed below (digital and hard copy versions available in the AUB Library) are suggested to get you started.

  • Bettina, J. (2021) Costume Design for Performance. Ramsbury: The Crowood Press.
  • Counsel, C. & Wolf, L. (2001) Performance Analysis, An Introductory Coursebook. London: Taylor & Francis.
  • Cunningham, R. (2009) The Magic Garment: Principles of Costume Design. Illinois: Waveland Press.
  • Fortier, M. (2002)Theory/Theatre: An Introduction. London: Psychology Press.
  • Huaixiang, T. (2004) Character Costume Figure Drawing: Step by Step Drawing Methods for Theatre Costume Designers. London: Focal Press.
  • Nadoolman Landis, D. (Ed) (2012) Costume Design. Burlington: Focal Press
  • Schechner, R. (2013) Performance studies: An introduction. London: Routledge.

We also recommend reading a journal article from Costume, The Journal of Dress History or Studies in Costume and Performance. This will help you begin to understand costume within an historical, social and cultural context.

In addition, we recommend that you watch Abstract: The Art of Design (Netflix) – specifically the episodes on Ruth Carter and Es Devlin.

There's no summer project, but we recommend that you practise your drawing, read around your subject, attend some theatre productions, watch some films, and visit some exhibitions and art galleries.

If you'd like to practise your drawing but don’t know where to start, the book Character Costume Figure Drawing: Step by Step Drawing Methods for Theatre Costume Designers (Huaixiang, T. 2004) is highly recommended to develop your costume and figure drawing.

Current student work

Have a look through some of the work our current students are producing to get an idea of the type of work you may be making on our course.

What to bring on your first day

On your first day, you'll just need to bring a notebook, a pencil and pen and plenty of enthusiasm! We'll provide all new first-year students with their free induction kit when they arrive on campus.

The course provides all new first year students with a free induction kit listed below. Please note the exact items included may vary (this is a guide).


  • Bobbin and Bobbin case for an Industrial Sewing Machine
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • Needles
  • Chalk
  • Tape Measure
  • Calico
  • Pair of Snips
  • Tracing wheel


  • Cutting mat
  • Pliers
  • Aluminium wire
  • Block of Sculpey
  • Plastic set square (45º)
  • Box of glass-headed pins
  • Propelling pencil
  • Eraser
  • Scalpel handle and x5 blades
  • Metal tape measure
  • Sharpie pen
  • 5 m steel tape
  • Aluminium cutting ruler
  • PVA glue
  • Masking Tape
  • A4 Sketch book
  • Pack of charcoal
  • Water-based inks in black and brown
  • Artway S-Tuff Bag

In the first two terms, there'll be a mix of costume making and costume/set design.

For this, you may wish to purchase additional specialist items listed below. We've also included a list of recommended suppliers.


  • Fabric scissors/tailors shears (essential)
  • Small Embroidery/Needlework scissors (optional)
  • Pack of safety pins in different sizes (essential)
  • Pinking Shears (optional)
  • Thimbles (optional)
  • L-Square/Pattern Master (however, you can borrow these from the course)


  • Paper scissors (essential)
  • A range of hard and soft graphite pencils (essential)
  • A range of short-handled brushes in various styles (round/flat) (essential)
  • Watercolour pencils (essential)
  • Palette (optional)
  • Acrylic paint set (basic colours) (essential)
  • Inks in various colours (we recommend Dr.Ph. Martins) (essential)
  • A3 Cartridge paper sketchbook (optional and can be purchased on campus when required)
  • A4 Watercolour sketchbook (optional and can be purchased on campus when required)
  • Sandpaper (optional)
  • Sponges (optional)
  • Glue Stick (essential)

Recommended Suppliers:

Additional Equipment

  • A small workbox to store your items – you'll need to carry this kit to and from campus as there is limited storage space in the studios
  • Old clothes/overall/apron
  • Steel-toe work boots
  • Laptop (we recommend a Mac if you're buying, but if you already have a PC this is also compatible. Laptops are available to hire for a short period of time from the library). The Adobe suite including Photoshop and Illustrator will be provided by the AUB for free.
  • Some students like to invest in a graphic tablet later in the course. (Graphic Tablets are available to hire for short periods of time from the course).
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Basic Domestic Sewing machine for continuing your work at home
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Digital camera to record your learning journey (the camera on your phone is fine)
  • On-set, film/backstage kit (portable waist bag)

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We're delighted that you've chosen to join our creative community at Arts University Bournemouth. We can't wait to see what you'll create.

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Next Steps

Find out the useful dates and contact before you start here.

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Arrival and your first week

We’re looking forward to you welcoming you to BA (Hons) Performance Design and Film Costume. See you in a few weeks!

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