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Set Design


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An intensive one-week practical and theoretical course aimed at beginners, who want to learn the principles of set design, and intermediates who want to refresh or develop their skills.

A project-based course, employing traditional design techniques (handmade models rather than computer aided design), and exploring contemporary and experimental approaches to set and costume design for the theatre or opera. The principles of the design process learnt are equally applicable to theatre, opera, dance, film or TV.

Students will develop a project over the course of the week, concluding in a final presentation, by each student, of a set design and costumes. By engaging in the whole design process – encompassing script reading, research, storyboarding, visual concepting, model box building, and, set and costume design –  students will gain an understanding of the whole life-cycle of set design and the methodologies underpinning it, learn a range of techniques, and explore different materials and approaches.

The project will be taught a practising set designer, director and technical model-making specialist, through a mixture of exercises, individual project work, technical demonstrations, talks, and group crits and discussions, in a mutually supportive environment. All classes at Blake College of Art & Design are kept to a small number, allowing space for genuine 1:1 tuition, and a friendly, relaxed environment, in order to ensure that you make the best possible progress on your course andguidance on your progression from industry professionals.

the end of the course each student will have developed their own response to the performance space and script, through the creation of a set design (model), and accompanying costume drawings, and they will have learnt the principles of the following:

  • Set design history and the contemporary context*
  • Deconstructing a script
  • Research and design methodologies
  • Experimental approaches – material as metaphor, machetes, cut ups…
  • Visual concepting
  • Storyboarding
  • Model box construction
  • Designing and building a set (to scale)
  • Character and costume design
  • Presentation techniques

*The course will be punctuated by a few short talks to provide a context for exercises and discussions. Starting with a short history of set design – traditional to the radical, and an overview of contemporary and experimental practice.  Students will be provided with an accompanying bibliography related to each talk to build up a reference that will last them into the future.

Each course runs from 10am until 4pm from Monday to Friday and costs £450.
Students wishing to take three or more courses can do so for £395 per course.
All prices include VAT.

For more information email study@blake.ac.uk