Theatre Sound, BA

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3 years full-time, October start


Institution code: C35; Course code: WW34


Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Theatre Practice

About the course

This course explores the possibilities of one of the most rapidly evolving of the specialist theatre disciplines. Working with tutors who are active professionals and with state-of-the-art equipment, you'll learn the art of creating sonic worlds integral to dramatic narrative, and develop the technical ability to control the sonic environment of live performance.

Studying on the Theatre Sound specialism of the BA (Hons) Theatre Practice degree course, you will:


  • Learn the art of creating sonic worlds for drama and performance
  • Gain technical ability to control the sonic environment of live performance, underpinned by an understanding of relevant acoustic and electrical theory
  • Explore the possibilities of one of the most rapidly evolving of specialist theatre disciplines, working with tutors who are active professionals, and state-of-the-art equipment

The newest professional performance technologies, including computer-based show control, audio recording, waveform editing, digital mixing, audio and computer networking, MIDI, scripting and OSC are made available to you and can become an integral part of your practice. Relevant acoustic and electronic theory helps you use this equipment effectively in practice and allows you to adapt to emerging technologies in the future.

If you are interested in composition for performance, the relationship between the fields of sound design and music composition may be explored.

Read more from Course Tutor Donato Wharton on what's involved in becoming a Sound Designer or Foley Artist.

Interested in applying for 2020?

You can still apply for this course and be considered through UCAS despite them classing your application as 'late'. You can also register your interest in 2020 entry here and our Admissions Team will then contact you about interview options and further details. 

Course Detail

Year 1: Developing and extending your skill base

  • Examine core aesthetic and technical understandings to inform practice in theatre sound, including content design and production sound
  • You are encouraged to understand current professional practice and to develop your own design aesthetic
  • You engage in practical exercises, including speculative projects, looking at the link between theory and practice while expanding your understanding of working collaboratively in cross-disciplinary groups.

Year 2: Identifying an individualised career path

  • Engage with principle areas of practice, working ‘in role’ across a variety of productions, under the guidance of tutors, support staff and outside professionals
  • Take responsibility for sound design and production elements of public productions, working collaboratively
  • You will enhance your design and technical skill set, and your ability to work as a valuable team member.

Year 3: Focus on professional development

  • Undertake key sound design and production roles across a variety of public productions at Central, including the management of sound teams and budgets
  • You continue to research industry practitioners and practice
  • Begin integration with the professional industry outside Central through placements and/or offsite projects.

Download BA Theatre Practice Programme Specification 2019-2020.pdf (1.19 MB)

Entry Requirements and Admissions

Minimum Entry Requirements

Our standard academic entry requirements range between 120 and 64 UCAS tariff points. You can see how many tariff points your qualifications would gain on the UCAS Tariff Calculator. International qualifications and others not covered within the UCAS tariff can also be accepted. Please email us if you need further clarification.

Please note that we make lower offers (including unconditional) to exceptional candidates and those who have alternative or prior experience to offer. All candidates invited to interview are asked to bring a portfolio. Interview and portfolio are key factors in determining which applicants are accepted on to the course.

Admission with Academic Credit

For information on alternative entry requirements please see

Application Details

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.


Find out more about the interview process for this course.

International Interviews

Each year Central hosts a number of interviews outside of the UK, with a team of tutors from Central travelling 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.

Industry Links & Partnerships

Theatre Sound was one of the first courses to incorporate the concept of industry partnerships at Central, looking at ways in which collaboration between audio and theatre industries could be mutually beneficial.

The programme is generously supported by major industry partners, including:

  • d&b audiotechnik
  • Autograph Sound
  • DiGiCo
  • HAVEsound
  • Show Works
  • Out Board Electronics
  • Stage Sight
  • and a variety of other companies and individuals.

Central played a major role in the establishment of the Association of Sound Designers (ASD), which provides a platform for continuing professional development and community support.

Many opportunities for sound students come through the network of graduates already well placed in the industry.

Recent Visiting Professionals

  • Dominic Bilkey (Head of Sound & Video, National Theatre)
  • Gareth Fry (freelance Sound Designer, Olivier Award Winner – Best Sound 2007 for Waves, 2009 for Black Watch and 2017 for Harry Potter and The Cursed Child)
  • Tim Lynn (Owner, Showsound)
  • Zoe Milton, (NT Live)
  • Ruth Sullivan (Foley Artist)
  • Rich Walsh (freelance Sound Designer, All That You Hear).
  • Claire Windsor (RSC)
  • Roisine Mamdani (West End Sound #1)
  • Emma Laxton (Freelance Sound Designer, Olivier Award Nominee – Emilia)
  • Mathew Smethurst-Evans (Theatreplan)
  • Avgoustos Psillas – (Autograph Sound)
  • Luke Swaffield – (Secret Cinema)
  • Theo Holloway – (War of the World – Immersive Experience)

Notable Graduates

Tom Gibbons (2008) provides sound design and composition for theatre, musical theatre, film and live installation. He won the Olivier Award in 2016 for Best Sound Design for his work on Duncan Macmillan’s People, Places and Things, and his other credits include; West Side Story (Broadway); Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Broadway); 1984 (West End and Broadway), for which he was nominated for a Tony Award; All About Eve (Harold Pinter); Hello, I’m Darling (Duke of York’s); The Doctor (Almeida Theatre), and A View from the Bridge (Young Vic).

Gareth Fry (1996) is an Olivier and Tony award-winning sound designer. His credits include Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (West End) and Complicité's The Encounter. He has years of experience designing plays, musicals, dance and opera productions worldwide, including over 20 productions at the National Theatre and has also created work for exhibitions and events, from the V&A's David Bowie Is exhibition, to the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Carolyn Downing (2002) is an Olivier Award-winning Sound Designer working in a variety of fields both nationally and internationally. She has amassed a large number of theatre credits to her name, most recently; Death of a Salesman (Young Vic); All My Sons (Old Vic); Downstate (Steppenwolf Chicago and The National theatre): Fiddler On The Roof (Chichester Festival Theatre); Mother Courage (Royal Exchange Theatre); A Woman of No Importance (Vaudeville); and Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, Antony And Cleopatra, King John (RSC).

David McSeveney (2002) iHead of Sound at Royal Court and productions he's worked on there include; Cyprus Avenue (& Abbey, Dublin/Public, NYC); The Cane, Girls & Boys (& Minetta Lane, NYC); Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3); Open Court 2016Lela & Co.; Constellations (& West End/Broadway/UK tour). He also regularly works for other theatre companies, and credits elsewhere include; The Skriker (Manchester International Festival/Royal Exchange, Manchester); A Doll’s House (& West End/BAM, NYC) and Macbeth, The Changeling (Young Vic).

Laura Gingell (2016) worked on RSC’s Matilda The Musical for a number of years after graduating from Central. Since then she has worked in the sound department for a number of productions including Julius Caesar, Nightfall (Bridge Theatre), and The Lieutenant of Inishmore (Michael Grandage Company).

Pete Malkin (2012) won a Tony Award for his work as a sound designer on Complicité's The Encounter, and his other credits include; Death of England (National Theatre); The Cherry Orchard (Simon McBurney, Toneelgroep Amsterdam)'; Death of a Salesman (Manchester Royal Exchange); The Tempest (Donmar Warehouse/St Ann's Warehouse), and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (West End).

Graduate Employment

Graduate employment and career pathways include:

Sound Designer

  • West Side Story (Ivo van Hove - Broadway)
  • Hamlet (Robert Ike - Almeida, West End & Park Avenue Armoury/New York)
  • Scene’s with Girls (Lucy Morrison - Royal Court Theatre)
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Jon Tiffany - West End, Broadway, Worldwide)
  • Life of Pi (Max Webber – Sheffield Theatre & West End)
  • All My Sons (Marianne Elliot & Miranda Cromwell, Young Vic & West End)
  • Death of England (Clint Dyer - National Theatre)
  • King John (Eleanor Rhode - Royal Shakespeare Company)

Production Sound

  • National Theatre
  • Royal Court Theatre
  • Young Vic
  • West End
  • Autograph Sound
  • Show Works
  • Have Sound

Teaching and freelance Staff as professional practitioners:

  • Peter Rice / Course Leader / Sound Designer / Jesus Hopped the A-Train / Young Vic
  • Peter Rice / Course Leader / Sound Designer / Avalanche : A Love Story / Barbican
  • Peter Rice / Course Leader / Sound Designer / The Tragedy of Richard II / Almeida
  • Peter Rice / Course Leader / Associate Sound Designer / Yerma (Simon Stone – Young Vic, Park Avenue Armoury/New York)
  • Donato Wharton / Course Tutor / Sound Designer / Three Sisters (Nadia Fall - National Theatre)
  • Donato Wharton / Course Tutor / Sound Designer / Norma Jean Baker of Troy (Katie Mitchell - The Shed/New York)
  • Helen Skiera / Course Tutor / Sound Designer / The Effect / (Anthony Neilson, Boulevard Theatre – West End)
  • Dom Bilkey / Visiting Lecturer / Head of National Theatre Sound & Video / Sound Designer / The Lehman Trilogy (Sam Mendes – National Theatre / Park Avenue Armoury/New York)
  • Claire Windsor / Visiting Lecturer / Royal Shakespeare Company / Sound Designer / Imperium (Gregory Doran – RSC, West End)
  • Roisine Mamdani / Visiting Lecturer / #1 Sound / Company; The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
  • Emma Laxton / Visiting Lecturer / Sound Designer / Emilia (Nicole Charles – The Globe / West End)

Staff on the Course

View profiles of the academic staff who teach on this course. Click on each staff member to find out more about them.

Donato Wharton, BA, MSc

Lecturer, Sound for Theatre and Performance
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