Scenography, MA/MFA

Duration: MA, one year, full-time, October start. MFA, two years, full-time, October start. On-site attendance between July and October is not mandatory.

Awards: Master of Arts in Scenography (180 credits); Master of Fine Arts in Scenography (240 credits).

MA/MFA Scenography - Leanne Vandenbussche

About the course

Some of the major innovations in performance practices over the past hundred years have been drawn from scenographic developments. The MA/MFA Scenography courses approach scenography from multiple practical and theoretical perspectives to create new opportunities for experimentation and authorship.

  • Develop authorship through performance design, working with a dynamic interplay of practice and theory, informed by a variety of disciplines including film, sculpture, sound, digital media, puppetry, choreography and architecture
  • A balance of independent and collaborative work
  • A professional focus through mentors, tutors and industry partners

Our approach

Through past and present approaches to performance design, the Scenography courses aim to explore dynamic and innovative interplays between the body, space and time, further informed by a variety of disciplines including film, sculpture, sound, digital media, puppetry, choreography and architecture. Your existing skills and practices are challenged, extended and refined as you investigate design processes and tools for creative developments.

With a balanced mix of collaborative and independent work, and a particular attention to the interplay of practice and theory, the courses include:

  • workshops and mentoring to explore speculative and operative uses/misuses of processes and tools, ranging from dramaturgy, model making and technical drawing to audio-visual media, casting, interactive sensor technologies and 3D printing;
  • studies in relevant historical and theoretical frameworks and contexts for understanding and developing practice.

Course Detail

In the first year, students of the MA and MFA combine for Terms One to Three of their course.

The MFA second year extends the final project initiated at the end of the first year, with support from seminars and tutorials with the course team and with the possibility of undertaking one or two workplace/ professional attachments.

An MFA top-up year for those with an existing MA in this subject is also available.

Assessment

Assessment is by practical conceptions and realisations, written assignments and verbal presentations (individual and collaborative). You will collaborate with your class peers, as well as with other courses within Central to create and design new work, including the MA/MFA Advanced Theatre Practice, MA Acting for Screen, MA/MFA Performance Practice as Research and MA/MFA Creative Producing.

Archives of past students’ work on the course can be seen at www.mascenography.com.

Download MA/MFA Scenography Programme Specification 2017-2018 (1.17 MB)

Entry Requirements and Admissions

You should normally have an undergraduate degree in the broad field of performance, drama studies or a design subject, although applications from students of other disciplines (e.g. visual arts, architecture, sonic arts) will be considered. Applications from those with at least two years' relevant experience will also be considered. An offer will normally only be made after interview.

An MFA top-up year for those with an existing MA in this subject is also available.

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.

English Language Requirements

Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to prove their English language proficiency by gaining an overall score of 7.0 in an IELTS test. We do accept equivalent English language qualifications. Applicants are advised to gain this certification as early as possible.

Application Details

If you are selected for an interview for a place on the Scenography, MA or MFA courses, we will require you to bring with you some relevant examples of your practical work.

This portfolio will contribute to further discussion about your qualifications, experience, interest in the subject and your plans for the future. Please be careful to edit and prepare your portfolio so that you can present and discuss the work with ease, and be prepared to leave it with the course team for further consideration. Preferably this portfolio will be in the form of a digital media (DVD, CD, etc). It should be no longer than four minutes in duration and should include at least two examples of your work. You will also be asked to submit evidence of your technical experience where appropriate to the nature of your chosen media.

Applicants may be seen individually or as part of a group, undertaking a number of activities as part of the interview process.

During the interview process you will have a chance to learn more about the courses and the School.

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.

Distance Interviews

Central does allow applicants to undertake a distance interview for these courses. If you live abroad and are unable to attend an interview in person you may, at the discretion of the Admissions Tutor, be offered the opportunity of a distance interview. If you are selected for interview in this manner you will be contacted (normally by email) in order to arrange a suitable time for an interview. This will be conducted on Skype, telephone or by ‘live’ email exchange and will normally be based upon material you will have been asked to submit in advance. The interview will be conducted by the Course Leader or a member of the course team.

International Students

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

What our students said

Ana Inés Jabares-Pita
Ana Ines Jabares Pita graduated in 2012 from MA Scenography at Central

Graduated 2012, her work crosses the genres of ballet, theatre, installation and film, currently designing on a number of productions. Recently awarded the third place of the European Opera Prize with director Max Hoehn for their proposal for La Traviata.

Having a background in painting and music, the course challenged and broadened my creativity and, in particular, my understanding of space. The diverse range of students’ backgrounds on the course was also very enriching. After graduating, I assisted on and designed for over 20 productions including theatre, opera, film, exhibitions and events. In 2013, I received the Best Design Award at Ottawa Fringe Festival and was the Overall Winner of the Linbury Prize for Stage Design 2013.

Alice Helps
Alice Helps graduated in 2014 from the MA Scenography course at Central

Graduated 2014, works professionally designing and fabricating interactive artefacts and installations for performance, exhibitions and events, currently undertaking a practice-based PhD.

After ten years working in performance design, I sought to deconstruct my working practices, in order to expand my creative potential. The course exceeded expectations, challenging me to rigorously interrogate my process and question my creative habits, which opened up vital and exciting new pathways in my creative thinking both as a researcher and practitioner. This allowed me to develop a new body of conceptual work leading to doctoral studies.

Industry Links

Collaborative work with fellow MA/MFA students and industry professionals is a key part of both courses.

Professional hosts and industry partners include:

  • Annemarie Woods
  • Antony McDonald
  • Dick Bird
  • Yoon Bae
  • Nic Sandiland
  • Darren Johnston
  • Whitechapel Gallery
  • Victoria and Albert Museum
  • London Biennale
  • Clerkenwell Design Week
  • English Touring Opera
  • National Theatre Studio.

Recent Graduate Employment

Graduate employment and career pathways include:

Designer

National Theatre of Scotland, Royal Court Theatre, Sadler’s Wells, Prague Quadrennial 2015 (representing Spain, Canada and the UK), Young Vic Theatre, Opera North, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Eldarin Yeong Studio, Ljubljana City Theatre, National Theatre of Iceland, Nulty, London Fashion Week, King’s Head Theatre, Musée des civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée, Martins Camisuli Architects.

Design Assistant

Barbican Centre, Almeida Theatre, Glyndebourne, Royal Opera House, Opera North, Opéra de Marseille, Angers-Nantes Opéra, Gate Theatre, StoreyStudio.

Artistic Director

Kill the Beast, Techture, Collective Textiles, Edible Opera, SWARM collective.

Interdisciplinary Artist

Roundhouse, Station House Opera, Victoria and Albert Museum, Rio Occupation London, Glimmerglass Festival.

Linbury Prize for Stage Design 2013, overall winner.

Some graduates have transferred to study PhDs.

Staff on the Course

View profiles of the academic staff who teach on these courses. Click on each staff member to find out more about them.

Dr. Simon Donger, BA, MA, PHD

Lecturer, Course Leader MA/MFA Scenography

Joanna Parker

Senior Lecturer, Scenography

Recent Visiting Professionals

  • Sophie Jump (Seven Sisters Group)
  • Pete Gomes (mutantfilm)
  • Helen Pynor (GV Art)
  • Dan Scott (Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice)
  • Mauricio Elorriaga (ETO/Opera North)
  • Stewart Laing (Untitled Projects)
  • Hannah Millest
  • Phoebe von Held
  • Scarlett Perdereau
  • George Oates (Good, Form & Spectacle).
Register for email updates