Formerly City College Brighton and Hove and Northbrook College

Costume for Performance & Film - BA (Hons) Degree

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Course Type: Degree and university-level Campus: West Durrington Campus Start Date: September 2020 Duration: 3 Years

This specialist course focuses on costume design and construction for the entertainment industry. It develops skills in design through character exploration and illustration techniques. Making techniques taught include period pattern cutting on the flat and on the stand (underpinned by history of costume sessions), design for dance (stretch), tailoring and millinery.

Key features

  • Course includes design, construction and supervision skills 
  • Opportunities to work on live and filmed performance 
  • Excellent industry links and high-profile work placement opportunities
  • Outstanding workshop facilities and equipment, with most materials supplied
  • High contact time with staff
  • Cross-course collaboration with actors, directors, make-up artists, set designers

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Validated by University of Brighton until the end of 2019-20. Validation by University of the Arts London (UAL) from September 2020: Please note that BA (Hons) Costume for Performance & Film is ‘subject to validation’. ‘Validation’ is the process by which UAL and the College develops courses. It is developmental in nature and makes sure students get a high quality academic experience. During validation there may be some changes to the course content displayed on this page. Please contact us if you have any questions about this course.

Course requirements

Portfolio and interview.

Individual offer conditions will vary. Normally a relevant A Level or Level 3 Extended Diploma.   

Industry experience may be taken into account.

Your portfolio should include examples of design artwork as well as finished garments or samples of needlework.

Cross-college entry guide

(including English requirements for international students) -

Click here to read the cross-college entry guide

This is a full-time course that supplies high contact time with staff, most materials, and outstanding workshop facilities and equipment, to enable you to hone your skills to an industry standard. All staff members teaching on the course have current industry experience.

We are equally interested in developing both your design and practical skills. We run workshops in a wide and diverse range of specialisms from pattern cutting through to tailoring, millinery and costume prop-making. Fabric manipulation, printing, dying and breaking down, as well as costume supervision, are all areas we teach and encourage students to develop skills in. 

History of Costume sessions provide a solid foundation from which to experiment and innovate.  

We are highly collaborative in our approach and work closely with other departments, including hair and make-up, props, set design, performers and technical departments. There are opportunities to do live projects, a balance of shows in our fully equipped theatre space and outside commissions. The range of performers we work with is diverse, from dance through musical theatre to highly experimental devised work. We believe strongly in industry links, work experience and ensuring future employability.  



Stretch costume for dance

Year 1 (Level 4)

At Level 4 you will design for a Shakespeare play (with collaboration opportunities with hair and make-up and set) and in addition attend a series of history of costume and style classes supported by historic pattern cutting classes on the stand.

You will cut and construct an Elizabethan costume from one of your designs with fabric choices and fabric manipulation techniques being key. This is an opportunity to use our excellent print room facilities and learn relevant textile techniques, such as screen printing, laser cutting, and dye and breaking down for character.

Managing and multi-tasking on live projects will allow you to explore inter-discipline practice and applying existing skills within a wider context. You will initially assist Level 5 students to learn all about production and backstage processes and etiquette and then move on to design and lead in smaller scale productions.

There will be filmed opportunities as part of this in addition to site specific ventures that will include related prop-making skills such as mask making. null

Year 2 (Level 5)

At Level 5, you will be developing your pattern cutting, making and design skills further, starting with accurately cutting and constructing a Victorian ladies' corset, bustle/crinoline, petticoat, skirt and bodice out of calico. Precision will be key.

In design sessions, you will be exploring how your calico costume can be added to afterwards through inventive and textural approaches to embroidery and patchwork/applied fabric manipulation. There will be specialist skills training in millinery, tailoring and working in stretch, which will then be applied to project work.

Specialist job roles on a major musical will be allocated depending on your own individual career aspirations. You will be supported in finding and securing work placement and developing your CV and portfolio accordingly.

There is the opportunity in negotiation with tutors to undertake a unit of study within a related discipline such as hair and make-up.


Year 3 (Level 6)

At Level 6, in addition to completing a dissertation, you will undertake project work that further extends skills in relation to future career aspirations. We will focus on building your portfolio accordingly and towards your final degree show.

There will be opportunities to apply this to live and collaborative performance where appropriate.

Video tour of our campus

See students from different courses using the facilities at our creative arts specialist campus

(5-minute video)

Potential careers

  • Costume designer for film, theatre, events
  • Costume maker, milliner, tailor
  • Costume supervisor
  • Dyeing, printing and breaking down specialist

Our alumni work on high-profile shows and films.

Tuition fees, student loans and bursaries

Additional costs for this course

Most materials are supplied.

New students will receive a kit list of personal tools and materials costing a maximum of £200.

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