Costume Construction, BA

Duration: 3 years full-time, October start

UCAS code: Institution code: C35, Course code: W460

Award: Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Theatre Practice

BA Costume Construction - At work in the Costume Construction Workshop.

On this course students become part of a creatively inventive team of costume makers. Through training in technical skills and working closely with costume designers, they’ll learn to interpret briefs and create costumes and accessories for productions to the level of finish expected by contemporary audiences.

About the course

The work of the costume constructor is to interpret the given costume designs, whether period or modern, abstract or representational. Students on this course will learn to be sensitive to the stylistic intentions of the designer and director, and how to research and understand the time, place and narrative of the production through analysis of the scripts or creative concepts.

Alongside training in high level and diverse making skills, students will also learn and develop skills in time management, resource management, budgeting and scheduling, working closely with students of all other theatre disciplines to realise productions.

Course Detail

Year 1

Students participate in projects and workshops to understand the role of the costume interpreter, including drafting patterns to create a period shirt/chemise, working with a professional designer to produce costumes for a tableau vivant, and making period underwear, such as corsetry and crinolines from a self-drafted pattern. Working as part of a team on a public production, students will be dressing and undertaking wardrobe maintenance, and will also make hats and headdresses.

Year 2

Skills in pattern cutting for men and women are developed, along with cutting and draping on the mannequin, and learning and applying tailoring techniques. Students will make outfits for Central’s public productions, and costumes that look at a personal interest, such as a tutu, frock coat or prop costume. They will have the opportunity to undertake a placement with a professional company and assist a costume supervisor on a professional production.

Year 3

Acting as Head of Department on a full-scale realised production in the Embassy Theatre or Webber Douglas Studio at Central, students will take on the role of Wardrobe Supervisor managing other students constructing costumes. They will also undertake professional projects and placements, research and make a costume to own specifications, and work with a professional company to create costumes or to costume supervise. In their final term, students participate in an exhibition to present a portfolio of their best work to the industry.

Download BA (Hons) Theatre Practice Course Specification 2016-2017 (1.24 MB)


From the second year, students have the opportunity to arrange placements.

There is a wide range of professional companies that work with Central, allowing access to many performance styles. This extends from live arts, through small and medium-scale devised and collaborative work, puppetry, circus and street theatre, and text/character-based play production, to large-scale celebrations and events, and corporate presentations.

Previous Work Placements

Costume Departments: Past Pleasures, Royal Opera House, Shakespeare’s Globe, Park Theatre, Almeida Theatre, Emergency Exit Arts, Hand and Lock, Robert Allsopp and Associates, Phil Reynolds Costumes.

Costume Supervisors’ Departments: Oily Cart, the National Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre with costume supervisor Karen Large.

Other: The dye department of the National Theatre.

Professional Focus

Throughout this course students have the opportunity to work with professionals and professional companies across a wide range of productions.

First year students have worked with:

  • Simon Kenny on the Tableau Vivant Project
  • Fashion designers Vivienne Westwood and Jasper Conran, and costume designer Jenny Beavan on the Interior Designers’ pantomime Peter Pan And The Pirates Of The Caribbean.

Second and third year students have:

  • Assisted costume supervisor Karen Hobbs on the television documentary Inside Holloway
  • Worked with Sades Robinson and graduate Lauren Butler at the Opera Holland Park 2014 season
  • Been on placement at the National Theatre in the dye department during the production of Treasure Island
  • Assisted on English Touring Opera’s 2014 national tour
  • Worked as costume makers on the Peaceful Lion’s production of Rosie’s Magic Horse at the Southwark Playhouse.

Students have also:

  • Worked with Designers Bob Bailey, Keith Orton, Sarah Beaton, Alex McPherson and Alison Cartledge.
  • Worked with Costume Supervisors Karen Hobbs, Karen Large and Hilary Lewis.
  • Made costumes for This Flesh Is Mine (Border Crossings, designer Will Hargreaves).
  • Been assistant supervisors and costume makers on the Royal Academy Opera’s Puccini double bill.
  • Worked with Shunt on The Boy Who Climbed Out Of His Face at the Greenwich Jetty.
  • Undertaken work experience with the White Horse TIE Theatre Company (Germany) as costume makers and costume supervisors.

Recent Visiting Staff

Lorraine Westhead, Brigid Strowbridge, Karen Hobbs, Karen Large, Jane Smith, Rachel Young, Kate Flanaghan, Nancy Betton, Hilary Lewis, Simon Kenny, Bex Kemp.

Entry Requirements and Admissions

Minimum Entry Requirements

3 A Levels at BBC, BTEC ND: DDM.

Offers may vary from this, depending upon expected grades and performance at interview. Exceptional applicants who do not meet this requirement but demonstrate appropriate potential at interview and via their portfolio may be accepted. All candidates invited to interview are asked to bring a portfolio.

We particularly encourage applications from groups currently under-represented in higher education, such as students with disabilities and members of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups. Find out more information on Central’s commitment to equality and diversity.

Admission with Academic Credit

For information on alternative entry requirements see

Application Details

This programme is still accepting applications for 2017 entry, and you are likely to be offered an interview (although UCAS will mark your application as ‘late’).

See How to Apply section for Undergraduate courses.


Find out more about the interview process for this course.

International Interviews

Each year Central hosts a number of interviews outside of the UK, with a team of tutors from Central traveling to meet applicants. The international interviews are designed to replicate the London-based interview experience in every aspect (other than a tour of our site!). See our Event Finder for listings of upcoming interview locations and dates.

International Students

Visit the International Students section to view details of English language requirements for Central's courses.


Notable Graduates

Lauren Butler (2012) Costume Supervisor at Opera Holland Park, previously Costume Maker at English Touring Opera.

Jessica Pile (2012) is Production Director of Hand and Lock, which specialises in bespoke, individually crafted embroidery.

Rhys Tucker (2007) Deputy Wardrobe Master for the London production of Phantom Of The Opera.

Recent Graduate Employment

Costume Maker at Rainbow Costume and for Shunt’s The Architects.

Costume Supervisor with English Touring Opera, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, summer 2014 and at Shakespeare’s Globe.

Wardrobe Mistress for The Color Purple at The Menier Chocolate Factory.

Dressers for Made In Dagenham, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

Wardrobe Mistress at Park Theatre, Jack And The Beanstalk.

Maintaining and supporting the Fulham Palace Archive costume collection.

Member of the dye department, Royal Opera House.


View profiles of the academic staff who teach on this course. Click on each staff member to see their CV.

Caroline Townsend, PGCert, PGDip, FHEA

Programme Leader, Principal Lecturer BA (Hons) Theatre Practice

Dr Jessica Hartley BA, MA, PGCE, PhD, SFHEA

Lecturer, Theatre and Performance Studies

Current Students

View profiles of the Class of 2017 for this course. Click on each student to see to their CV.

Related Courses


Hanne Talbot
Hanne Talbot

Graduating 2015

My tutors have always supported my developing career choices and there has been a constant focus on preparing us for the professional world. With Central’s support I have worked on external projects alongside my studies, which has encouraged me to pursue the aspects of the industry that interest me most before I graduate.

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