Theatre Sound, BA | The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Theatre Sound, BA

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3 years full-time, October start


Institution code: C35; Course code: WW34


Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Theatre Practice

About the course

This course explores the possibilities of one of the most rapidly evolving of the specialist theatre disciplines. 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.

Studying on the Theatre Sound specialism of the BA (Hons) Theatre Practice degree course, you will:


  • Learn the art of creating sonic worlds for drama and performance
  • Gain technical ability to control the sonic environment of live performance, underpinned by an understanding of relevant acoustic and electrical theory
  • Explore the possibilities of one of the most rapidly evolving of specialist theatre disciplines, working with tutors who are active professionals, and state-of-the-art equipment

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.

Read more from Course Leader Donato Wharton on what's involved in becoming a Sound Designer or Foley Artist.

Course Detail

Year 1: Developing and extending your skill base

  • Examine 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

  • Engage with principle areas of practice, working ‘in role’ across a variety of productions, under the guidance of tutors, support staff and outside professionals
  • 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

  • Undertake 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
  • Begin integration with the professional industry outside Central through placements and/or offsite projects.

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 please 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.


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.

Industry Links & Partnerships

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 Professionals

  • 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, 2009 for Black Watch and 2017 for Harry Potter and The Cursed Child)
  • 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).

Graduate Employment

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

West End and professional touring productions

  • 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
  • Thriller.

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 also won an Olivier Award in 2017 for Best Sound Design for J.K Rowling’s 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).

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.

Donato Wharton, BA, MSc

Lecturer, Sound for Theatre and Performance

2018 Graduates

Class of 2019

View profiles of Theatre Sound students graduating in 2019

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