Production Lighting, BA

Duration: 3 years full-time, October start

UCAS code: Institution code: C35; Course code: W451

Award: Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Theatre Practice

Production Lighting students flash through the lighting rig during fit up for a Central production

This course trains students to realise performance lighting, video and projection. Working with peers and professionals, students gain an understanding of how to specify lighting, power and video systems, manage the procurement and installation of all the necessary equipment, fault find and run a crew from fit up through to de-rig.

About the course

Students are guided and encouraged to explore the latest automated lighting, green technology, programming protocols, video projection and LED technology, helping them position themselves at the forefront of the industry. The course benefits from our industry-focused research culture, which ensures practice is at the cutting-edge of knowledge and industry practice.

As the course progresses students have the opportunity to develop specialist skills in the areas of interest to them, giving them the best possible preparation for employment upon graduation. Tuition is structured around practical projects in our well-equipped studio and proscenium performance spaces, supported by taught sessions on computer-aided drafting in our dedicated computer-aided suite. Students also study video and projection systems, on productions and in our experimental studio.

Course Detail

Year 1

An introduction to professional lighting practice, through skills sessions and workshops in Central’s studio and proscenium theatre spaces. Students gain a solid foundation of health and safety management, safe working with electricity and working at height. Collaborative exercises further develop technical and management skills, in preparation for work in the role of Production Electrician and/or Lighting Programmer in the summer term.

Year 2

Students continue to build practical and management skills through taught sessions and production experiences, including many opportunities to work in role on Central’s public productions. Students will rig and troubleshoot lighting and video systems, programme them, and manage fellow students through the production process. They will also research areas of practice beyond conventional theatre including events and festivals. Students are mentored by tutors, technical support staff and visiting professionals, and have the opportunity to develop their own projects with fellow students.

Year 3

Throughout the final year students continue to research the industry sectors in which they are interested. Projects based at Central and individually negotiated placements build on the experience gained so far. Tutors and industry mentors help each student to develop a strategy for their entry into the world of work. In this, personal networks are of great importance and students benefit from Central’s excellent relationship with the industry, including numerous alumni and influential lighting practitioners.

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


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.

Students are able to become accomplished practitioners, in whatever areas of the arts and entertainment business they choose.

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. These include Liteup Events and DBSL. Mesmer, the media and video collective behind many large-scale theatre and opera productions, are regular visitors and placement hosts, as are 59 Productions and Walk the Plank (an event company specialising in largescale public firework spectacles).

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

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

Professional Focus

Recent Visiting Staff

Leading Production Lighting specialists: Mark Mumford, Craig Bennett, Martin Chisnall, Stuart Crane.

Lighting Designers: James Farncombe, David W. Kidd, Clare O’Donohue, Chloe Kenward, Lucy Carter, Rick Fisher.

Visiting graduates include: Adam Povey (Production Electrician for Regent’s Park Theatre, and several large-scale theatre tours and West End productions), Jo Richardson (Co-Director of Full Production Services Ltd), Squib Swain (Lighting Designer for Bombay Bicycle Club, The Streets, Delphic), Jamie Thompson (award-winning Lighting Designer for The Script and others).

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. This is particularly true for candidates who do not come straight from school or college.

Admission with Academic Credit

For information on alternative entry requirements see

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.


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.



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.


Theatre: National Theatre London, National Theatre Scotland, Glyndebourne, English National Opera, Sadler’s Wells, Rambert Dance, The Place, Hampstead Theatre, Young Vic, Royal Court Theatre and Tricycle Theatre.

Events and Production Graduate Traineeships: PRG UK, White Light, Royal Albert Hall,

Freelance Events Technicians, Programmers and Engineers at: Roundhouse, Chelsea Football Club, Royal Courts of Justice, O2 Greenwich and other venues throughout the UK and Europe.

Concert Touring and Festivals including: Glastonbury Festival, Latitude Festival, Lee-Fest, The Big Chill and other festivals, touring with companies such as Cyan Lighting, Neg Earth, GLS Lighting and HSL, throughout the world.

Video and Projection including: Working as Designers, Programmers and Technicians in Theatre, Opera and Concert World tours with leading concert artists, including work on productions with award winning video design for theatre and concert touring.


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

Nick Moran, BSc, FHEA, MA

Senior Lecturer, Course Leader Production Lighting and Theatre Lighting Design

Current Students

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

Related Courses


Christopher Purnell

Graduated 2012, Chief Electrician for Rambert Dance Company and freelance electrics for NTW, Sadler’s Wells and TheSpaceUK.

Coming from a Production Arts BTEC, I really wanted to specialise in lighting. Central was able to give me a strong London base and stable contacts in the lighting world. During my time at Central, I worked on Scenofest 2011 in Prague and as a freelancer in various venues round London. Central offers plenty of hands on experience and in-house productions work to a high industry standard level. This made the transition from university to professional work smooth and hardly noticeable.

Register for email updates