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 to specify and produce a range of lighting, power and video systems
  • Manage a crew and the procurement and installation of equipment from fit-up to de-rig
  • Work in role on productions and through industry placements
  • Position yourself at the forefront of the industry, by exploring the latest automated lighting, green technology, programming protocols, digital networking and communication, video projection and LED technology.

The course trains students in the practical and managerial skills of realising performance lighting systems, video and projection. You will benefit from Central’s industry-focused research culture, which ensures your developing skills and experience are at the cutting-edge of knowledge and industry practice in theatre, live events and concert touring.

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.

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.

Interested in studying this course in 2018?

Although the January UCAS application deadline has passed, we are still able to accept applications to the course through UCAS. If you are interested in finding out more about the course before applying, please email us. We may also be able to provide a personal tour of the campus and talk to you in person about the course.

Course Detail

YEAR 1: Introduction to professional lighting practice

  • Through skills sessions and workshops in Central’s studio and theatre spaces, you will gain a solid foundation in health and safety management, safe working with electricity and working at height.
  • Collaborative exercises and longer 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 role 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 the industry sectors that interest you, and build on your experience through projects based at Central and / or 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 this and students benefit from Central’s relationship with the industry, including numerous alumni and lighting practitioners working in the theatre, live event and concert touring / festival sectors.

Download BA (Hons) Theatre Practice Programme Specification 2017-2018 (1.29 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, HSL and PRG UK.

Central also has strong links with smaller companies, several of which were started by graduates, including Liteup Events, Cassius Creative and DBSL.

In addition, members of the Mesmer Collective (behind many large-scale video designs for theatre and opera productions) are regular visitors and placement hosts, as are 59 Productions and other high-profile video design companies.

A regular panel of industry experts helps final year students launch their professional careers. Many opportunities for lighting students come through the network of graduates already well-placed in theatre, concert touring and event industries.

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.

2017 Graduates

Find out more about our 2017 Production Lighting graduates.

Our Current Students

View profiles of Production Lighting students graduating in 2018.

Class of 2019

View profiles of Production Lighting students graduating in 2019.

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