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Course Overview

The Foundation Degree in Scenic Construction has been developed in response to the acute shortage of suitably qualified entry-level technicians to work in the rapidly expanding stage and screen industries.

The course begins in August with a six-week introductory module which provides training in the core craft skills of carpentry, metalwork and welding required for the construction of theatrical sets. Students will be based in the College’s large and superbly-equipped workshops at Llanishen Studios. There will also be opportunities to visit the College’s theatre spaces as well as other professional workshops and venues in Cardiff.

From September, you will become more familiar with the theatre environment, learning basic skills in the use of access equipment, rigging and flying systems. You will gain greater insight into the roles and duties of relevant team members and become involved in the load-in and fit-up of productions at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama.

The bulk of the course consists of a series of six-week work placements – four of which will be at RWCMD and another five externally with the College’s professional partners in the theatre, TV and film industries. You will take on increasingly high levels of responsibility for the creation and installation of stage sets for in-house productions, including opera and musical theatre. For at least one of your placements, you will take on a leadership role, working with the designer to produce the required construction drawings before leading the construction and the final fit-up of the set. For your final industry placement, you will work in a professional capacity, possibly leading to longer term employment opportunities.

Evening classes run alongside placements focussing on industry awareness, professional development, presentation skills, commercial and financial awareness, project management, communication and leadership skills.

At the end of the two-year programme, you will have the option to ‘top-up’ your qualification by completing an additional year of study specialising in scenic construction as part of the BA (Hons) in Design for Performance.

Entry Requirements

Students should normally be working towards their Level 3 or equivalent qualifications although the College will consider applications from people over the age of 18 with relevant skills and/or experience in craft, design and technology. We recommend that you use the personal statement on your application form to demonstrate your interest in theatre/film/TV and any relevant experience. Final selection will be made on the basis of an interview.

Tuition Fees for 2023-2024

* Undergraduate tuition fees for UK students are set by the Welsh Government. They are reviewed annually and may be subject to an increase in future years.

** Undergraduate tuition fees for overseas students are subject to an annual increase.

Other Costs Most parts of the city are easily accessible on foot. The halls of residence, most residential areas and the city centre are a 10-15-minute walk from the main campus.

You will be based at the College’s scenic workshops at Llanishen Studios, which is a short bus ride from the main campus. A weekly ticket is available from Cardiff Bus for £15 and students aged 16-21 can apply for a pass which reduces this to £9.60 (prices correct as of October 2019).

During your training and throughout your career, you will be expected to build up and maintain your own toolkit. The College is able to supply a starter kit during the early stages of the course at a cost of approximately £200.

You will need to purchase your own steel toe safety shoes. Students are not allowed into the workshops without safety shoes.

A mobile phone is an essential tool for anyone working in the entertainment industry. The ability to send and receive emails is of high importance, and a smartphone also allows easy access to the College’s online timetabling system.

You will also find it useful to have your own laptop, which is able to run Microsoft Office and basic CAD programmes such as SketchUp.

You can usually apply for bursaries to help towards costs associated with external placements although these will not cover all costs and you are responsible for remainder.

Students are encouraged to attend as many College performances as possible and are eligible for free tickets to Richard Burton Company shows. For other performances, students are eligible for discounted tickets.

Students who are required to re-sit assessments may be expected to pay a resit fee.

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