Production Lighting, BA | The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Production Lighting, BA

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3 years full-time, October start


Institution code: C35; Course code: W451


Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Theatre Practice

About the course

Studying on the Production Lighting pathway of the BA (Hons) Theatre Practice course, you will:

  • Learn how to rig and focus professional lighting and video equipment to industry standards
  • Work alongside professionals on realised projects within Central and in industry settings
  • Develop a high level of technical proficiency and expertise

As a student on the Production Lighting Course, you will learn to plan, rig, focus, plot and maintain lighting and video rigs for theatre and other live shows. You will also have opportunities to develop management skills that (along with your practical skills) will help you position yourself at the forefront of the industry on graduation.

Production Lighting Course Leader Nick Moran discusses becoming a Lighting Engineer for Live Performance.

Tailor your experience

As you progress through the course, there are opportunities to develop specialist skills in the areas of most interest to you as a developing practitioner, giving you the best possible preparation for employment upon graduation.There are also opportunities to develop and negotiate your own projects, which have previously included programming for music, conference and event lighting, site-specific work, festival planning and architectural projection.

Practical-based tuition

Tuition is structured around practical projects in Central’s well-equipped studios, theatre and performance spaces, supported by taught sessions on, for example, computer-aided drafting, making electrical props and programming. You will also study video and projection systems, working on productions and on more experimental projects.

Beyond traditional theatre roles

Central offers opportunities, within the course and on placement in industry, to broaden your experience beyond the traditional theatre roles for production lighting practitioners. Past projects have included programming for music, conference and event lighting, site-specific work and architectural projection. As well as our longestablished and deep connections to theatre, we have strong links with well-established practitioners in concert touring and events.

Course Detail

YEAR 1: Introduction to professional lighting practice

  • Through sessions and workshops in Central’s studio and theatre spaces, you will build your confidence and ability to plan, rig, focus and programme lighting.
  • Develop a solid foundation in health and safety management, safe working with electricity and working at height.
  • Collaborative exercises and individual projects further develop technical and management skills, in preparation for work in the role of Lighting Crew and/or Lighting Programmer in the summer term.

YEAR 2: Continuing to build practical and management skills

  • Through taught sessions and production experiences, including opportunities to work in key roles on Central’s public productions, you will rig and troubleshoot lighting and video systems, programme them, and manage fellow students through the production process.
  • You will also research areas of practice beyond conventional theatre, including events and festivals.
  • You will be mentored by tutors, technical support staff and visiting professionals, and have the opportunity to develop projects with fellow students.

YEAR 3: Focus on professional development

  • You will continue to research specfic industry sectors that interest you, and build on your experience through taking on senior roles in larger projects at Central, and/or through individually negotiated placements.
  • Tutors and industry mentors help each student to develop a strategy for their entry into the world of work.
  • Personal networks are of great importance for thisand you will benefit from Central’s unrivaled relationships with the lighting industry, including numerous alumni and other practitioners working in the theatre, live event and concert touring/festival sectors.

Download BA Theatre Practice Programme Specification 2019-2020.pdf (1.4 MB)

Entry Requirements and Admissions

Minimum Entry Requirements

Our standard academic entry requirements range between 120 and 64 UCAS tariff points. You can see how many tariff points your qualifications would gain on the UCAS Tariff Calculator. International qualifications and others not covered within the UCAS tariff can also be accepted. Please email us if you need further clarification.

Please note that we make lower offers (including unconditional) to exceptional candidates and those who have alternative or prior experience to offer. All candidates invited to interview are asked to bring a portfolio. Interview and portfolio are key factors in determining which applicants are accepted on to the course.

Admission with Academic Credit

For information on alternative entry requirements see

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.


All candidates invited to interview are asked to bring a portfolio, which should demonstrate their experience of stage lighting (no matter how small that might be) and their understanding of, and passion for, the industry they wish to train for. For more on preparing a portfolio for a lighting course, see the Association of Lighting Designers website - Training section, where the Course Leader Nick Moran has written some guidance.

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.

Industry Links & Placements

There are opportunities – within the course and on placement in industry – to broaden students’ experience outside the traditional theatre roles for production lighting practitioners.

Past projects have included:

  • Programming for music, conference and event lighting
  • Site-specific work
  • Architectural lighting.

Central’s lighting courses are generously supported by major industry partners, including White Light, SLX, PRG UK and PRG XL Video.

Central also has strong links with a range of smaller companies, several started by graduates, including Liteup Events, Cassius Creative and Fray Studios (Finn Ross/Adam Young video design).

From the video industry, regular visitors and placement hosts include d3 Technologies, Really Creative Media and 59 Productions.

Each year, a panel of industry experts helps final year students launch their professional careers. Many opportunities for lighting students come from these panels and from the ever-expanding network of Central graduates.

The course has strong links with the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD) and local theatres, which helps students to network in the industry, and to find placements and job opportunities.

Recent Visiting Professionals

Leading Production Lighting Specialists

  • Mark Mumford
  • Craig Bennett
  • Martin Chisnall
  • Stuart Crane

Lighting Designers:

  • David W. Kidd
  • Ingi Bekk
  • Marc Callaghan
  • Nick Richings
  • Matt Daw
  • Simon Corder
  • Andy Purves.

Lighting Programmers

  • Lawrence Stromoski
  • Jim Beagley

Visiting graduates

  • Adam Povey (Production Electrician for Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, large-scale theatre tours and West End productions)
  • Jo Richardson (Co- Director of Full Production Services Ltd)
  • Chris Purnell (Touring Chief Lx of Rambert Dance Co)
  • Squib Swain (Lighting Designer for Bombay Bicycle Club, The Streets, Delphic)
  • Jamie Thompson (award-winning Lighting Designer for The Script and others)

Graduate Employment

Graduate employment and career pathways include:


National Theatre London, Rambert Dance Company, Northern Ballet, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, English National Opera, Sadler’s Wells, The Place, Hampstead Theatre, Young Vic, Royal Court Theatre, Tricycle Theatre.

Events and Production Graduate Traineeships

PRG UK, White Light, working on events at the Royal Albert Hall, Roundhouse, Chelsea Football Club, The O2 Arena and venues throughout the UK and Europe.

Concert Touring and Festivals

Including Glastonbury Festival, Latitude Festival, V Festival, The Big Chill and touring with companies such as Cyan Lighting, Neg Earth, GLS Lighting and HSL worldwide.

Video and Projection

Including world tours with leading concert artists, as media server specialists on d3 and Hippotizer, and nominations for awards for concert lighting and video design.

Notable Graduates

Adam Bassett (2000) Partner, Company Director and Lighting Designer for Woodruffe Bassett Design. Was the Associate Lighting Designer for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics.

Marc Callaghan (2005) Joint Managing Director of Lite-Up Events and regular crew chief for concert tours and festival stages.

Cameron Banister (2008) Project Manager for PRG Europe working on large scale lighting and video rigs for concert touring and events worldwide.

Jo Richardson (2006) Director of Full Production Limited, a successful creative and technical services provider to the entertainment industry -

Chris Purnell (2012) Touring chief for Rambert Dance.

Staff on the Course

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

Nick Moran, BSc, FHEA, MA

Senior Lecturer, Course Leader Production Lighting and Theatre Lighting Design

2018 Graduates

Find out more about our 2018 Production Lighting graduates.


Class of 2019

View profiles of Production Lighting students graduating in 2019.

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