Scenography, MA/MFA


MA, one year, full-time, October start. MFA, two years, full-time, October start. On-site attendance between July and October is not mandatory.


Master of Arts in Scenography (180 credits); Master of Fine Art in Scenography (240 credits).

About the course

Some of the major innovations in performance practices over the past hundred years have been drawn from scenographic developments. The MA/MFA Scenography courses approach scenography from multiple practical and theoretical perspectives to create new opportunities for experimentation and authorship.

  • Develop authorship through performance design, working with a dynamic interplay of practice and theory, informed by a variety of disciplines including film, sculpture, sound, digital media, puppetry, choreography and architecture
  • A balance of independent and collaborative work
  • A professional focus through mentors, tutors and industry partners

Our approach

Through past and present approaches to performance design, the Scenography courses aim to explore dynamic and innovative interplays between the body, space and time, further informed by a variety of disciplines including film, sculpture, sound, digital media, puppetry, choreography and architecture. Your existing skills and practices are challenged, extended and refined as you investigate design processes and tools for creative developments.

With a balanced mix of collaborative and independent work, and a particular attention to the interplay of practice and theory, the courses include:

  • workshops and mentoring to explore speculative and operative uses/misuses of processes and tools, ranging from dramaturgy, model making and technical drawing to audio-visual media, casting, interactive sensor technologies and 3D printing;
  • studies in relevant historical and theoretical frameworks and contexts for understanding and developing practice.

Our students explore a variety of methods and creative approaches. Students are encouraged to constructively challenge ideas of hierarchy and authority in creative structures. The course values co-authorship and sensitive critical dialogues that acknowledge and allow for difference. We are interested in traditional texts and practices as opportunities to expose, critique, destabilize, subvert and move beyond the problematic values they may carry. We strive to act as a hub for re-imagining and implementing better and more diverse standards in scenography. 

Course Detail

In the first year, students of the MA and MFA combine for terms one to three of their course.

The MFA second year extends the final project initiated at the end of the first year, with support from seminars and tutorials with the course team and with the possibility of undertaking one or two workplace/ professional attachments.

An MFA top-up year for those with an existing MA in this subject is also available.


Assessment is by practical conceptions and realisations, written assignments and verbal presentations (individual and collaborative). You will collaborate with your class peers, as well as with other courses within Central to create and design new work, including the MA/MFA Advanced Theatre Practice, MA Acting for Screen, MA/MFA Performance Practice as Research and MA/MFA Creative Producing.

Archives of past students’ work on the course can be seen at

Download MA/MFA Scenography Programme Specification 2019-2020.pdf (1.38 MB)

Entry Requirements and Admissions

You should normally have an undergraduate degree in the broad field of performance, drama studies or a design subject, although applications from students of other disciplines (e.g. visual arts, architecture, sonic arts) will be considered. Applications from those with at least two years' relevant experience will also be considered. An offer will normally only be made after interview.

An MFA top-up year for those with an existing MA in this subject is also available.

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.

English Language Requirements

Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to prove their English language proficiency by gaining an overall score of 7.0 in an IELTS test. We do accept equivalent English language qualifications. Applicants are advised to gain this certification as early as possible and more information can be found through the English Language Requirements page. 

Application Details

If you are selected for an interview for a place on the Scenography, MA or MFA courses, we will require you to bring with you some relevant examples of your practical work.

This portfolio will contribute to further discussion about your qualifications, experience, interest in the subject and your plans for the future. Please be careful to edit and prepare your portfolio so that you can present and discuss the work with ease. This portfolio may be a physical artefact or a digital document, and should include some evidence of your technical experience where appropriate to the nature of your chosen media.

Applicants may be seen individually or as part of a group, undertaking a number of activities as part of the interview process.

During the interview process you will have a chance to learn more about the courses and the School.

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.

Distance Interviews

Central does allow applicants to undertake a distance interview for these courses. If you live abroad and are unable to attend an interview in person you may, at the discretion of the Admissions Tutor, be offered the opportunity of a distance interview. If you are selected for interview in this manner you will be contacted (normally by email) in order to arrange a suitable time for an interview. This will be conducted on Skype, telephone or by ‘live’ email exchange and will normally be based upon material you will have been asked to submit in advance. The interview will be conducted by the Course Leader or a member of the course team.

International Students

Visit the International Students section to view details of English language requirements for Central's courses.

Industry Links

Collaborative work with fellow MA/MFA students and industry professionals is a key part of both courses.

Professional hosts and industry partners include:

  • Annemarie Woods
  • Antony McDonald
  • Dick Bird
  • Yoon Bae
  • Nic Sandiland
  • Darren Johnston
  • Whitechapel Gallery
  • Victoria and Albert Museum
  • London Biennale
  • Clerkenwell Design Week
  • English Touring Opera
  • National Theatre Studio.

Recent Graduate Employment

Graduate employment and career pathways include:


National Theatre of Scotland, Royal Court Theatre, Sadler’s Wells, Prague Quadrennial 2015 (representing Spain, Canada and the UK), Young Vic Theatre, Opera North, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Eldarin Yeong Studio, Ljubljana City Theatre, National Theatre of Iceland, Nulty, London Fashion Week, King’s Head Theatre, Musée des civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée, Martins Camisuli Architects.

Design Assistant

Barbican Centre, Almeida Theatre, Glyndebourne, Royal Opera House, Opera North, Opéra de Marseille, Angers-Nantes Opéra, Gate Theatre, StoreyStudio.

Artistic Director

Kill the Beast, Techture, Collective Textiles, Edible Opera, SWARM collective.

Interdisciplinary Artist

Roundhouse, Station House Opera, Victoria and Albert Museum, Rio Occupation London, Glimmerglass Festival.

Linbury Prize for Stage Design 2013, overall winner.

Some graduates have transferred to study PhDs.

Staff on the Course

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

Dr. Simon Donger, BA, MA, PHD

Lecturer, Course Leader MA/MFA Scenography

Joanna Parker

Senior Lecturer, Scenography

Recent Visiting Professionals

  • Lizzie Clachan
  • Sophie Jump (Seven Sisters Group)
  • Dan Scott (Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice)
  • Pete Gomes (mutantfilm)
  • Helen Pynor (GV Art)
  • Mauricio Elorriaga (ETO/Opera North)
  • Phoebe von Held
  • Laura Doehler
  • Scarlett Perdereau
  • Dani Ploeger
  • Giulia Pecorari
  • Tobias Hoheisel
  • Hauke Berheide
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