Technical and Production Management, BA

Duration: 3 years full-time, October start

UCAS code: Institution code: C35; Course code: W493

Award: Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Theatre Practice

BA Technical and Production Management
Overview

As live theatre and performance becomes an increasingly important part of the global economy, there is a huge demand for Technical and Production Management professionals. This course trains students in the specialist skills and knowledge of managing creative processes from initial concept through rehearsal to realised performance.

About the course

Technical and Production Management students learn to co-ordinate and bring together all the technical and practical aspects of staging a performance; from hands-on skills and techniques of theatre technical work to managing the collaboration of the whole production team of designers, engineers, artists and technicians. This prepares them for a career in technical management, production management, or associated fields within the entertainment industry.

Following intense training in fundamental theatre technology and management practice, students’ focus their career direction by engaging directly with performing arts professionals, including access to both long established and emerging industry companies, venues, manufacturers and suppliers. Students also have the opportunity to arrange and complete placements to explore the specific areas of the entertainment industry in which they are interested.

Course Detail

Year 1

Students develop hands-on skills and build their knowledge of the core technologies and techniques used in theatre production, including set construction, lighting, sound, technical drawing, risk assessment, counterweight flying and rigging. They work closely with students from the other specialist courses at Central on a number of practical projects, forming team working and leadership skills, and learning the principles of ensuring the safe, economical and timely completion of theatre projects. Alongside this, students expand their contextual and critical understanding of performance, through examining and challenging contemporary philosophies, theories and issues surrounding the industry.

Students are assessed on the practical work they create and through their own critical reflection on their learning. Work for assessment can be presented in a variety of formats, including written, as a presentation, drawn, recorded and using photographed evidence.

Year 2

Central stages several public productions every term; in their second year students undertake roles which are pivotal to the creation of these shows, progressively taking on greater managerial responsibility as appropriate. Students may take on the responsibility of Technical Manager or Head of Flying and Rigging, for example. The experiences are guided by a number of specialist staff and mentored by visiting professional practitioners, as they work alongside mixed student and professional creative teams.

Throughout the year, students continue to receive taught sessions in specialist topics, such as AutoCAD, health and safety legislation, pyrotechnics and automation. Career development awareness is built; students explore aspects such as marketing themselves and securing employment, unions and industry associations, pay and work conditions and insurance requirements.

By the end of the second year students are encouraged to make strong connections within the industry which may often lead to paid work. This extends their learning opportunities and greatly supports their transition from education to full-time employment.

Year 3

Students undertake activities which enable them to hone their skills, with tasks such as managing budgets, ensuring the highest standards of health and safety are maintained and creatively solving complex logistical or technical problems.

Students are assigned roles individually based on their particular strengths and interests. This might include the role of Production Manager on one of the School’s public productions, showcases for the work of all of the BA Theatre Practice courses and Central’s acting degree program. The challenges offered to students enable them to make huge leaps forward in their development as Technical and Production Managers through working in a ‘real world’ context.

Alongside work within the School, students direct their learning towards the areas of the entertainment industry they see themselves aligning with. They have opportunities to undertake placements which further build their network of contacts and integrate them with up-to-the-minute productions, projects and developments in the sector.

Their final activity at Central is to prepare a portfolio and a career plan which sets out the next steps in their professional life. This unit includes a presentation to a panel of leading industry figures, who offer up ideas, suggestions and advice to support the students on their chosen path.

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

Placements

Throughout the three years students will have contact with a variety of performance arts professionals including industry leading and pioneering companies, venues, manufacturers and suppliers.

During their third year, students research, arrange and then attend a placement with a company, or alongside an individual practitioner, working in the field of performance arts, theatre making or events production they are interested in developing.

Students have undertaken a variety of placements including Production Assistant at the National Theatre, with Proper Productions on the British Summer Time Festival, Assistant Technical Manager at the Young Vic and with Stage Technologies. They have also gained experience in non-traditional areas of practice, for example at the London 2012 Olympic Ceremonies, Glastonbury Festival and Opera Holland Park.

Professional Focus

The course has a range of relationships at all levels and in all areas of the performing arts industry.

London theatre companies include: the National Theatre, English National Opera, the Young Vic, Hampstead Theatre, Tricycle Theatre and Unicorn Theatre for Children, as well as receiving houses such as Sadler’s Wells, Hackney Empire, the Pleasance Theatre and many West End theatres.

Touring theatre companies include: Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, English Touring Opera, Kneehigh Theatre, Ambassador Theatre Group and smaller, more radical companies such as dreamthinkspeak, Shunt, Goat and Monkey, Walk The Plank, The World Famous and Emergency Exit Arts.

In addition to performance companies, Central has connections with a range of technical equipment manufacturers and suppliers: Stage Technologies (automation), Flying by Foy (people flying), Unusual Rigging (rigging and suspension), White Light and Stage Electrics (lighting and sound), J&C Joel (stage fabrics), and Scott Fleary (scenery construction).

The course also has links with performance venue designers including: architects Keith Williams (Unicorn), Tim Foster (Tricycle) and Jason Flanagan (Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama), and theatre consultants (Theatre Projects, Charcoalblue, Theatreplan).

Recent Visiting Staff

Julian Rudd (Remarkable Productions), Liz Pugh (Walk The Plank), Simon Byford (Production Manager), Martin Jady (Production Manager), Di Willmott (National Theatre), Kim Swaden-Ward (Circus Space).

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.

Admission with Academic Credit

For information on alternative entry requirements please see www.ucas.com.

Application Details

See How to Apply section for Undergraduate courses.

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.

Interviews in London

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.

Alumni

Notable Graduates

Gary Beestone Production Manager on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Al Parkinson (2003) Production Manager at Leicester Curve. Was Assistant Manager of the Olympic Stadium for the London 2012 Olympic Ceremonies.

James Roxburgh (2008) Production Manager for 59 Productions, working on projects such as the London 2012 Olympics and the David Bowie Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Recent Graduate Employment

Project Manager, Stage Technologies.

Technical Manager, Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake tour.

Automation Technician, the musical White Christmas tour.

Production Manager, Olivier awards live from the Royal Opera House.

Head of Stage, Holland Park Opera.

Draftsman, Olivier Stage productions, National Theatre.

Production Assistant, Heart Productions Events.

Assistant Production Manager, English National Opera.

Production Coordinator, Winter Olympic Games, Sochi, Russia.

Arts Centre Manager, Ellesmere College.

Whole crew and production management, Holland Park Opera.

Staff

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

Paul Colwell

Lecturer & Course Leader, Technical and Production Management

Peter Maccoy, BSc, PGCert, FHEA

Senior Lecturer, Theatre Production, Course Leader Stage Management

Current Students

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

Related Courses

Testimonial

Tom Lee

Graduated 2012, currently Production Manager at English National Opera, now working on Sweeney Todd at the Coliseum, as well as several other international co-productions for the company into the 2015/16 season and beyond.

The course helped me to develop skills that I use in my job every day. Not only did it teach me the core hard skills such as budgeting, draughting in AutoCAD and technical solutions, but also helped to develop my soft skills as a team leader and ability to deal with complex production situations. The position of responsibility you get as part of the projects ensures you have the opportunity to individually develop as a practitioner, with guidance and support from the team at Central through the entire process. I met a number of practitioners in the industry, which helped me find my student placement during my third year, which has led to the job I now have, as well as several other opportunities, including small scale musicals and freelance jobs.

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