Bachelor of Arts in Performing Arts (Theatre Design)

  • NFQ Level 7
  • Points Required 319*
  • Course Code SG235
  • Award Ordinary Bachelor Degree Abinitio
  • Duration 3

Course Summary

With design skills classes, masterclasses from industry professionals, workshops and performances in our Black Box Theatre, this course will equip you to make a start as a designer in theatre, film or television.


Theatre design is also known as stage, set or production design. It involves the creation of theatrical, film or television scenery and costumes. Theatre designers produce scaled models of their design and collaborate with all members of a production design team (from lighting to costume to props) to create sets, costumes and digital scenery that support the overall artistic goals of the production. 


This course prepares graduates for work in the expanding stage and screen industries. Students develop skills in spatial awareness, visual research, text and character analysis, model-making, costume design, technical drawing and performance design. Coursework takes full advantage of the Institute’s close ties with Sligo’s arts community, including the Blue Raincoat Theatre Company, Model Arts Centre and the Hawk’s Well Theatre.

We also have a link with the Academy of Performing Arts Theatre Design School in Bratislava where our students can take up study opportunities through the Erasmus programme. Our unique partnership with the Abbey Theatre introduces core skills in all forms of stagecraft, including directing, lighting design and digital projection. 

You will develop skills in performance design disciplines, including visual research and awareness; text and character analysis; spatial exploration; costume design and model-making; technical drawing and digital imaging for stage and film. The emphasis is on developing imagination, creativity and visual awareness along with interpretive and collaborative skills. Specific disciplines include film, TV, dance, performance art and music video. You will collaborate with professional directors, prepare a portfolio of work and exhibit in the graduation exhibition.

Special Features: Students on this programme can apply for a six month Yeats Design Residency at the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s National Theatre. 

Cultural Studies: Cultural Studies introduces you to a variety of visual, literacy and critical faculties from a range of cultural and historical backgrounds. The exploration of text to modes of performance is examined, including play texts, film, productions and performance art as well as visual and material culture.

Transferable Skills: You will develop generic and transferable skills such as research, critical thinking, analysis, written and verbal communication. Graduates can work both as creative individuals and as part of a team.


Students are introduced to the collaborative disciplines essential to making theatre and performance e.g. acting, theatre design, directing and performance/cultural studies. 


Students engage in set, costume and lighting design as a foundation for all industry design practices for stage, screen and TV. Cultural/performance studies introduce students to a variety of visual, literary and critical faculties from a range of cultural and historical backgrounds. Plays, film, productions and live performance are considered from practical and academic contexts. 


Students focus on a complete design realisation in 3D scale, with costume designs and technical drawings (CAD) in collaboration with industry professionals. Students critically engage in theoretical and practical learning across a range of areas including postmodernism, gender theory, post-dramatic performance and post-colonialism. 


A new creative teaching hub for the North West of Ireland will include state of the art performance facilities including two large black box theatres/studios, production design studios, costume design studios, computer aided design and fabrication studios and dance/rehearsal spaces. The facilities will make studying Performing Arts at the Yeats Academy of Arts, Design and Architecture an especially rewarding experience leading to great employment prospects in the expanding Film, TV and Theatre creative industries.

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements for CAO courses at IT Sligo are available for download below:

Mathematics is not required for this course.

Garda vetting:

Please should note that all entrants to this course will be required to undergo vetting by the Garda Síochána. If you have a criminal conviction in Ireland or elsewhere, this may adversely impact on your ability to undertake a professional placement or to secure employment in the field of Performing Arts.

Career Opportunities

There is a high demand for qualified practitioners in the theatre and film industries. Graduates will be qualified to work either as a designer for theatre, film and TV, or alternatively in a range of areas across the performing arts and creative industries in Ireland and abroad.

Each year a graduate in Theatre Design will receive a bursary from the Institute to take up a six month residency at the Abbey Theatre, called the Yeats Design Residency.

Further Study

Graduates may progress to the final year of the Level 8 BA (Hons) in Performing Arts.

BA (Hons) in Performing Arts

Upon completion of the Level 8 degree, graduates can continue to a Higher Diploma in Education, Master of Arts, Masters of Education, MPhil in Theatre and Performance, or embark on a PhD. Graduates can study the Master of Arts in Creative Practice here at IT Sligo.

Master of Arts in Creative Practice


“My qualification has given me the opportunity to build great connections with many other people working in the Arts. I gained priceless skills which I have used to build and maintain my theatre company.” 

Treasa Nealon, graduate of BA (Hons) in Performing Arts, Theatre Maker/Actor Rabbit’s Riot Theatre Company 

"The course is brilliant! It was everything I expected and more. Class sizes are small so you get to know your classmates and lecturers. The lecturers are amazing and always there to provide support and encouragement. Everyone does a common first year, which is great for people who are a little unsure if they prefer acting or theatre design. You make great connections and get opportunities to work with top professionals from the industry"

Caoimhe Cassidy, BA (Hons) in Performing Arts

“The best thing about this course is you learn so much both academically and personally. The modules in first year are very varied, no two days are the same. It is a different style of learning, something you cannot learn from any textbook. The course is challenging but very rewarding. The lecturers are a huge support. Performing Arts is a course where your confidence will increase without you realising it while learning skills that are transferrable for many work places.”

Stacey Flaherty, BA (Hons) in Performing Arts


Did you know?

Students on this programme can apply for a six-month Yeats Design Residency at the Abbey Theatre. Our unique partnership with the Abbey Theatre introduces core skills in all forms of stagecraft, including directing, lighting design and digital projection.

This programme is also linked with the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava, Slovakia where our students spend one week, intensively studying set, lighting and costume. Guest lecturers, well known in industry, visit and share expertise.

A common first year gives students an overview of all areas of the performing arts. In Year 2 students choose either Acting or Theatre Design to specialise in. This flexibility to change direction allows students to figure out where their passion lies.

Coursework takes full advantage of the Institute’s close ties with Sligo’s arts community, including the Blue Raincoat Theatre Company, Model Arts Centre and the Hawk’s Well Theatre.

Mathematics is not a requirement to study this programme.