General information about applying for our undergraduate courses and the interview process.
Central helped me understand how my specialism can enhance the process of theatre making. Being part of such an eclectic community of theatre makers, enablers and facilitators fostered a safe space for creative risk taking. Overwhelmingly, the course has helped me find my voice and encouraged me to be bold in my approach.
Graduated 2015, freelance lighting designer. Recent credits include new plays for Hampstead Theatre, Finborough Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre.
Central was invaluable in providing me with the support to discover and hone my practice. I was able to build vital, risk-free experience in all aspects of the profession, with opportunities to work alongside industry professionals, graduates and other students who became part of my network. The course provided a fantastic springboard into the industry.
Graduated 2016, was associate on Les Misérables in Tokyo and recently received three nominations in the Best Lighting Design category of the Off West End Awards.
Discover Central's Lighting, Design, Study and Social spaces on our VR tour.
3 years full-time, October start
Institution code: C35; Course code: W450
Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Theatre Practice
Studying on the Lighting Design specialism of the BA (Hons) Theatre Practice degree course, you will:
Lighting Design Course Leader Nick Moran discusses the roles, responsibilities and career opportunities of a Lighting Designer.
Our joint emphasis on practical as well as aesthetic development gives you the opportunity to create highly innovative lighting design. The training includes practical projects in Central’s well-equipped studio and performance spaces, alongside a rigorous investigation of the design process and visual communication.
As you progress through the course, you will be encouraged to develop your own design style, supported by tutors, mentors and visiting professionals.
You will benefit from Central’s industry focused teaching and research culture, which ensures that what we do and what we teach is at the forefront of knowledge and industry practice in theatre, events and concert touring.
You will be encouraged to experiment with a variety of both new and older technologies, including automated lighting, video, projection, LEDs and other emerging technologies, as well as more traditional theatre fixtures and even candles!
Throughout the course, you will be introduced to professional practitioners, including many successful graduates of the course, who will often be working alongside you in role, as mentors, and as project leaders.
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.
Short production projects offer opportunities to practice the roles, so that by the summer term, you will be ready to take on a lead role on a smaller show, or assistant on a larger production.
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.
or information on alternative entry requirements see www.ucas.com.
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.
All candidates invited to interview are asked to bring a portfolio, which should demonstrate their experience of stage lighting (no matter how small that might be) and their understanding of, and passion for, the industry they wish to train for. For more on preparing a portfolio for a lighting course, see the Association of Lighting Designers website - Training section, where the Course Leader Nick Moran has written some guidance.
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.
Central’s lighting courses are supported by major industry partners, including White Light and PRG UK, Mesmer and 59 Productions (the video companies behind many large-scale theatre and opera productions). We also have strong links with smaller companies that were started by graduates, such as DBSL, Liteup Events and Cassius Creative.
A panel of industry experts helps final year students launch their professional careers. Many opportunities for lighting students come through the network of graduates already well-placed in theatre, concert touring and event industries. The course has excellent links with the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD), and local theatres and other venues which helps you to network in the industry, and to find placements and job opportunities.
Graduate employment and career pathways include:
Including as Programmer and Assistant Lighting Designer:
Graduate traineeships with White Light and Imagination
Working on events at The Royal Albert Hall, the Roundhouse, Chelsea Football Club, The O2 Arena, Geneva Motor Show and venues throughout the UK and Europe.
Team members at:
Including Glastonbury Festival, Latitude Festival and V Festival.
Worldwide with bands such as Bombay Bicycle Club, The Streets, The Script and Sweedish House Mafia.
Bethany Gupwell (2018) has quickly established a promising career in lighting design, she won The Association of Lighting Designers Francis Reid Award in 2018 and was nominated for Best Lighting Design in the 2019 Offies for her work on Queen of The Mist.
David Howe (1993) is an award-winning international lighting designer for UK and International theatre, opera, dance and concert productions. He is also a long-term associate of Paul Pyant on award-winning shows such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Jack Knowles (2008) was awarded the ADB Award for Plays at the 2018 Knight of Illumination Awards for his work designing the lighting for Barber Shop Chronicles (National Theatre). His most recent credits as a lighting designer include; Top Girls (National Theatre); Three Sisters (Almeida Theatre); The Producers (Royal Exchange Theatre), and Caroline or Change (Hampstead Theatre), for which he is currently working on the Broadway transfer.
Richard Pilbrow (1955) is Founder of Theatre Projects, and is one of the world's leading theatre design consultants, a theatre, film and television producer, and an internationally known author and stage lighting designer. Over the course of his illustrious career, he has received many accolades and awards, including the 4th Knights of Illumination Lifetime Recognition Award in 2011. Richard is also a joint founder of the Association of British Theatre Technicians, Society of Theatre Consultants, The Society of British Theatre Designers, and The Association of Lighting Designers.
Zoe Spurr (2012) is an award-winning lighting designer; in 2019 alone she won a Theatre and Technology Lighting Design award for her work on Frantic Assembly's UK Tour of The Unreturning, the Lightmongers ALD Award for New Talent in Entertainment Lighting, and an Offie Award for Best Lighting Design for Tiny Dynamite (Old Red Lion Theatre). Some of her other theatre credits include; Toast (UK Tour); Emilia (Vaudeville Theatre); An Edinburgh Christmas Carol (Edinburgh Lyceum Theatre), and The Seven Ages of Patience (Kiln Theatre).
Jamie Thompson (2003) is an award-winning lighting designer who co-founded MIRRAD, a visual arts design collective using the latest innovations in live music production. They've worked on the tours for artists such as Yungblud, Rita Ora, KANO, Tinie Tempah, and Emeli Sandé.
Sam Waddington (2016) has recent credits as Associate/Assistant Lighting Designer for productions including; A Christmas Carol (Lyceum Theatre, Broadway/The Old Vic); The Caretaker, and The Master Builder (The Old Vic); Mary Poppins (Prince Edward Theatre); Life of Pi (Sheffield Crucible); Back to the Future (Manchester Opera House), and Present Laughter (The Old Vic).
Anna Watson (2000) has provided lighting for a great many productions, including; Poet in da Corner (Royal Court); Henry VI and Richard III (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse); Appropriate (Donmar Warehouse); A Christmas Carol (Bristol Old Vic), and Leave to Remain (Lyric Hammersmith).
Adam Young (2010) is a Tony Award-nominated video designer. He co-runs FRAY, with fellow alumnus Finn Ross, a multi award-winning video design studio, and has worked on the tours for global music acts such as Years & Years, Jess Glynne, Bombay Bicycle and Pendulum. He has also provides lighting design for theatre, including the 2018 production, Mean Girls.