Costume design and construction is the process of creating and manufacturing clothing and accessories for performers in theatre, film, television and other associated media sectors. Costume designers and makers research, design, source and construct costumes for real or fictional characters, creating practical, bespoke items relevant to historical period and style.
This vocational and highly practical course examines costume design and construction both conceptually and practically. The course collaborates with our other performing arts courses as well as external productions and projects and you will work on a variety of productions throughout your time on the course.
You will study a range of modules each year which will cover elements of both costume design and costume construction. In Years One and Two, the modules are focused on skills acquisition and embedding knowledge of the processes involved in making costume and the wider perspective of making theatre and performance. Some are classroom-based looking at the process of theatre production, but you will also spend much of your time designing and making costumes for the university productions and other collaborative projects.
In Year Three, you will elect to follow either the design route or the construction route through your last two years of study. This enables the tutors to guide you towards your chosen area of specialism and career path. At this level you will function as team leaders in either design or construction and will be responsible for realising all costumes for University productions and other collaborative projects.
You will also have the opportunity of arranging and experiencing a professional placement with an external organisation or company of your choice, relevant to your chosen career path.
In Year Four, modules are focused firmly on industry entry, whilst remaining predominantly practical in nature. You will have the choice of studying independently on practical projects or to collaborate with students on University projects that suit your developmental needs. You will also complete an Honours dissertation study on a relevant subject to costume design and construction, which is of particular academic, vocational or professional interest to you.
You can opt to study for an Honours degree over four years or an Ordinary degree over three years. You will complete a range of modules, as outlined, each year and a dissertation in Year Four.
This practical, vocational course is unique in Scotland in that it blends the theory with practice.
The course is highly respected within the theatre industry and graduates consistently gain employment on completion of the course.
In Years One and Two, the first three weeks off each semester will require you to attend class around four days per week. You will also work on a four- week live project each semester spend approximately 30 hours per week on that. Your personal workload/tutorials theatre visits etc. will be fitted round class times and live projects. You will also carry out a live project in Year Three. In Year Four, you will be entirely in control of your choice of project and time management.
There is a formal professional placement in Year Three, but you will have opportunities to work with professional companies throughout your four years.
Introduction to Theatre Production/ Drawing and Presentation for Costume Designers/ Research and Design / Introduction to Wardrobe, Garment Cutting and Construction/ Professional Practice
Career Management / Research and Design/ Sewing and Construction/ Professional Practice/ Specialist Costume Skill
Independent Specialist Study/ Professional Placement/ Practical Professional Practice/ Independent Professional Practice
Honours project/ Group project / Independent Practical Project
BBCC or 230 UCAS Tariff points
CCD or 220 UCAS Tariff points
Irish Leaving Certificate:
BBCC or 230 UCAS Tariff points
Eng, Drama or a Theatre related subject AND preferably Art, Design or Textiles at Higher/A level or equivalent/ English and Maths at S/ Int2/ N5/GCSE.
Applications welcomed from mature students with relevant qualifications/ experience.
Year 2 - HND Theatre Costume Interpretation or other relevant HND.
There will be a competitive interview as part of the selection process. Candidates should provide a visual portfolio and at least two finished garments for inspection at the interview.
You will have developed to an industry entry level of competence, understanding and experience in the design and construction of costumes for performance. You will be able to progress in the cultural and creative industries. Job opportunities exist in the following areas: theatre, including opera and ballet; film; television; exhibition; corporate entertainment; advertising; arts and crafts; and online multi-media.
BA (Hons) Costume Design and Construction
Being naturally creative, art was my favourite subject at school and I knew that I wanted an artistic career of some sorts. After leaving school I went on to do a one year foundation art course at my local college which introduced me to costume design. Combining my love of sewing and creativity, I soon realised that this was the career route that I wished to pursue. On completing the course, I took a year out and spent itworking with local amateur dramatics groups to gain more experience in costume , but I wanted to pursue my studies further in this area. I was unsure whether I wanted to be a costume designer or a maker, but the course at QMU was unusual: it allowed me to study both design and construction together and was why I chose it.
I most enjoyed the teamwork aspect of the course. I not only worked with fellow costume students, but I also got to work with students on QMU's other performing arts courses as you work together to put on real shows. This gave me a taste of what I would face in the real world and developed my practical and teamwork skills in ways that a paper-based course would never have done. The lecturers were enthusiastic and very knowledgeable, although I did enjoy the latter years of the course too when learning became more independent.
In Year Three I went on two placements: working as a costume trainee on a film in Ireland and working in the hire department at Angels, a large well known costumier in London. In Year Four, I costumed a musical for the 'Bohemians Lyric Opera Company,' which was performed at the King's Theatre, Edinburgh. I also got myself a part-time job as a dresser at the King's Theatre and the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh, so I managed to gain lots of useful experience.
Since graduating I have done some costume making and dressing work for theatre and worked on two films. The first one as a costume trainee and the second as an assistant maker. The backstage and teamwork skills I developed at QMU gave me the confidence and ability to work in a professional theatre environment and instantly fit in, despite being newly qualified.
During my time at QMU I decided that my ultimate job would be as a costume cutter and maker and focused my studies to help me develop skills in this area. I was exceptionally lucky in getting my dream job so soon after graduating: an assistant maker on a film, costuming principal actors! The construction methods and sewing skills I learnt during my time at QMU were invaluable in enabling me to do this work.
I will soon be moving to London and hope to find some work either in theatre or film. Ideally I would love to do some further work in film and develop skills in this area.