Theatre Sound, BA

Duration: 3 years full-time, October start

UCAS code: Institution code: C35; Course code: WW34

Award: Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Theatre Practice

BA Theatre Sound - Sound studio.
Overview

Working with tutors who are active professionals and with state-of-the-art equipment, you'll learn the art of creating sonic worlds integral to dramatic narrative, and develop the technical ability to control the sonic environment of live performance.

About the course

The Theatre Sound course explores the possibilities of one of the most rapidly evolving of the specialist theatre disciplines.

On this course you will:

  • focus on practical learning on real projects, exploring the textures, subtleties and power of sound and music as part of the live theatre experience.
  • engage with the conceptual underpinnings of theatre sound design aesthetics
  • consider how sound interacts with light, movement, set, moving image, costume and objects, and then actually create sound content and systems that will help present an integrated, seamless performance to the audience
  • work with state-of-the-art equipment and software, acquiring core technical understanding and an ability to teach yourself new skills, which will develop over three years and carry forward into your professional career
  • develop as a theatre-maker through practice-based, experiential learning, working in role on fully-realised public productions
  • learn artistic, technical, communication, group-work and problem-solving skills as part of a collaborative company of performance-makers
  • meet key industry practitioners and to develop your own unique career profile based on your talents and interests
  • showcase your design work by inviting sound design professionals to any of the public productions in which you are involved

The newest professional performance technologies, including computer-based show control, audio recording, waveform editing, digital mixing, audio and computer networking, MIDI, scripting and OSC are made available to you and can become an integral part of your practice. Relevant acoustic and electronic theory helps you use this equipment effectively in practice and allows you to adapt to emerging technologies in the future.

If you are interested in composition for performance, the relationship between the fields of sound design and music composition may be explored.

Apply for 2017 entry

Interested in applying for 2017 entry? This programme is still accepting applications, and you are likely to be offered an interview; sign up for an interview slot by filling out this form.

Course Detail

Year 1

Developing and extending your skill base: examining core aesthetic and technical understandings to inform practice in theatre sound, including content design and production sound. You are encouraged to understand current professional practice and to develop your own design aesthetic. You engage in practical exercises, including speculative projects, looking at the link between theory and practice while expanding your understanding of working collaboratively in cross-disciplinary groups.

Year 2

Identifying an individualised career path: engaging with principle areas of practice, working ‘in role’ across a variety of productions, under the guidance of tutors, support staff and outside professionals, you will take responsibility for sound design and production elements of public productions, working collaboratively. You will enhance your design and technical skill set, and your ability to work as a valuable team member.

Year 3

Focus on professional development: undertaking key sound design and production roles across a variety of public productions at Central, including the management of sound teams and budgets. You continue to research industry practitioners and practice, and seek to begin integration with the professional industry outside Central through placements and/or offsite projects.

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

In the Industry

Theatre Sound was one of the first courses to incorporate the concept of industry partnerships at Central, looking at ways in which collaboration between audio and theatre industries could be mutually beneficial.

The programme is generously supported by major industry partners, including d&b audiotechnik, Autograph Sound, DiGiCo, Orbital Sound, Blitz Communications, HAVEsound, Out Board Electronics, and a variety of other companies and individuals. Central played a major role in the establishment of the Association of Sound Designers (ASD), which provides a platform for continuing professional development and community support.

Many opportunities for sound students come through the network of graduates already well-placed in the industry.

Recent Visiting Staff

Dominic Bilkey (Head of Sound & Video, National Theatre), Paul Clark (Composer and Artistic Director, Clod Ensemble), Carolyn Downing (freelance Sound Designer, Olivier Award Winner – Best Sound 2014 for Chimerica), Peter Eltringham (Senior Sound Technician, Entec Sound & Light), Andy Farnell (Computer Scientist, Procedural Audio pioneer), Gareth Fry (freelance Sound Designer, Olivier Award Winner – Best Sound 2007 for Waves and 2009 for Black Watch), Tom Gibbons (freelance Sound Designer, Olivier Award Winner – Best Sound 2016 for People, Places and Things), Yvonne Gilbert (freelance Sound Designer and Mix Engineer), Tom Hackley (Owner, HAVEsound), Jan Hendrickse (freelance Composer, Instrumentalist and Sound Artist), Tim Lynn (Owner, Showsound), Peter Malkin (freelance Sound Designer, Beware Of Pity, Complicite, The Tempest, Donmar Warehouse) Zoe Milton, Ruth Sullivan (Foley Artist), Rich Walsh (freelance Sound Designer, All That You Hear).

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

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.

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

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.

Graduate Employment Beyond Central

Graduate employment and career pathways include: Sound Designer, Robert Lepage/Ex Machina (The Blue Dragon, Playing Cards 2: Hearts – International Tours), Royal Shakespeare Company (As You Like It), Complicite (Lion Boy, Beware Of Pity), Katie Mitchell (The Rest Will Be Familiar To You From Cinema, Happy Days, Travelling On One Leg, Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg), Ivo van Hove (A View From The Bridge, Young Vic), Propeller (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Headlong Theatre (1984).

Production Sound, National Theatre, Royal Court Theatre, Stereophonics European Tour, Disney International.

Freelance and staff design and production positions, Royal Court Theatre, National Theatre, The Young Vic, Almeida Theatre, Donmar Warehouse, Toneelgroep Amsterdam, Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg, and West End and professional touring productions e.g. Clybourne Park, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Gypsy, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, Jerusalem, Legally Blonde, Matilda, Much Ado About Nothing, Pride And Prejudice, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time, and Thriller.

Alumni

Notable Graduates

Gareth Fry (1996) is the Chair of the Association of South Designers and was the Sound Designer for the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony. He has also been announced as the Sound Designer for J.K Rowling’s upcoming West End play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Carolyn Downing (2002) won the 2014 Olivier Award for Best Sound Design for Chimerica. Other Sound Design credits include, The Motherf**ker with the Hat (The National Theatre), Teddy Ferrara (Donmar Warehouse) and King John (The Royal Shakespeare Company).

Recent Graduate Employment

Freelance Sound Designer: Robert Lepage, Royal Shakespeare Company, Complicite, Katie Mitchell, Propeller, Delta Sound, Capital Sound.

Production Sound: National Theatre, Stereophonics European Tour, Winter Olympics, Disney International.

Freelance and staff design and production positions: Royal Court Theatre, National Theatre, and numerous West End and professional touring productions.

Staff

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

Donato Wharton, BA, MSc

Lecturer, Sound for Theatre and Performance

Current Students

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

Related Courses

Testimonial

Harry Johnson

Graduating 2017

"The Theatre Sound course has really opened my eyes to the possibilities within the world of sound design. With a combination of practical learning in a variety of roles, exciting professional level shows and support from the industry’s top practitioners. I really couldn’t ask for a better environment in which to experiment and expand my knowledge of a constantly evolving industry."

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