Stage Management, Lighting & Electrics, Sound & Scenic Crafts.
The FdA course is an intensive two-year programme for students who already have some knowledge of Stage Management/technical theatre or students that have already gained a degree.
The course provides students with advanced level skills and knowledge in Stage Management and technical theatre so that they can be employed directly on completion of the course in professional theatre companies and other related industries.
Teaching is integrated with the BA (Hons) Production Arts course, and students on the two programmes are usually taught together.
During this first year they learn theoretical and practical aspects of stage management, lighting, sound, prop-making and scenic construction.
They also learn a range of common skills: communication, problem solving, time management and leadership.
In the following four terms, the students are treated as professionals, with support and mentoring from tutors.
They work in Stage Management, prop-making, construction and technical teams on public productions and work closely with other production departments.
Operating on three specialist teaching sites (Downside Road, Christchurch Studios and Sheene Road all located in Bristol) and performing in the major producing theatre venues in Bristol: Bristol Old Vic, Circomedia, Tobacco Factory, Wardrobe Theatre and Redgrave Theatre.
Bristol Old Vic Theatre School is an associate school of the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), a Higher Education Provider registered with the Office for Students. On successful completion of this course, you will receive an award from UWE Bristol. Because of their vocational nature, BOVTS does not award degree classifications – all assessment is completed on a pass or fail basis.
Applicants would normally be expected to meet UWE’s minimum entry requirements. However, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School welcomes interest from applicants who may not have the standard entry requirements. We will consider evidence of personal, professional and educational experience which show an ability to meet the demands of the course.
If English is not your first language, you will need to demonstrate English language proficiency through a relevant qualification, such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), which can also be used to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requirements. For FdA Production Arts, an overall score of 7.0 is normally required, with a minimum of 7.0 in each component of reading, writing, listening and speaking.
There are no interview fees.
All applicants must be aged 18 or over at the start of the course
This module map provides a list of the modules that make up your course.
Each module is worth a specified number of credits: All modules are compulsory in year one, but there are optional modules in year two enabling you to cover key subject knowledge while developing your own interests.
Optional Modules: There are no optional modules for this stage of this award.
Interim Award: CertHE Production Arts (Stage)
Credit requirements: 120 from the above specific level 1 modules.
Award: Foundation Degree (FdA) PRODUCTION ARTS (STAGE)
Credit requirements 240 from the above specific Level 1 and Level 2 modules.
Scheduled learning includes lectures, small group seminars, tutorials, project supervision, demonstration, practical classes and workshops; fieldwork; external visits; work based learning; supervised time in studio/workshop. There is an average of 25 hours scheduled learning and 10 hours independent study each week.
Independent learning includes hours engaged with essential reading, case study preparation, assignment preparation and completion etc. Scheduled sessions may vary slightly depending on the module.
Average class size: The annual cohort size is usually 22-24 students across the FdA and BA (Hons) programmes. Classes are normally mainly taught in groups of 5 or 6, with occasional group sessions of up to 12 students. FdA and BA students are usually taught together for the majority of classes.
Placement learning: The programme includes a placement element. Students will normally spend a total minimum of three weeks on placement with a professional production company or organisation. The placement is arranged by negotiation between the student, the course tutor and the placement organisation with due regard to the student’s profile, and other course commitments.
Placements can be anywhere in the UK and previous placements have been offered at: Almeida, Birmingham Rep, Bristol Old Vic, Hampstead Theatre, Lyceum Edinburgh, Manchester Royal Exchange, National Theatre, RSC, Theatr Clwyd, The Watermill
Accommodation and travel expenses incurred whilst on placement will be reimbursed by the School.
The learning is immersive and singular in its focus on high level specialist professional employability as a main learning outcome.
When not on placement students would normally be in class Monday – Friday, 0930 -1730. During Production weeks these hours might extend to include evenings up to 10.00 pm and a few hours during some weekends between 9.00 am and 10.00 pm
Academic and Student Support
The School is committed to selecting, training and supporting students, regardless of ethnicity, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation or religion. Applicants are chosen solely on the basis of their talent and potential to develop the skills required for their chosen profession. The School does, however, judge applicants on their suitability for a course and their potential to successfully complete the training, as the work is rigorous and requires high levels of energy and commitment.
Student Support on the programmes at the School covers a variety of areas such as support for disabled students, academic support, student finance and health and welfare. Julia Heeley, Student Support Manager, is able to answer queries about support available for disabled applicants/students. Her email address is [email protected] and she can also be reached by telephone on 0117 980 9247.
Our Academic and Student Support services team provides help in the following areas:
Support for students with disabilities including specific learning difficulties
In our admissions process, we are committed to supporting students with disabilities. Disabled students are encouraged to disclose their support requirements so that we can endeavour to meet them during the audition or interview process and subsequent training. The School welcomes all students regardless of disability. It is our aim to provide appropriate support so that all students are able to achieve their full potential.
Students with a disability will be provided with advice and support from the Student Support Manager. If you have a disability or specific learning difficulty we recommend you contact her either prior to starting your course or during your first few weeks at the School to discuss any support requirements you may have. This may include support resulting from disabilities such as sensory impairment, learning difficulties such as dyslexia or dyspraxia or mental health difficulties.
We recognise that everyone is an individual and we will work with students to identify potential barriers to training and do what we can to remove those barriers. We will also make any necessary reasonable adjustments, to ensure that disabled students can train at the School.
We are aware that nationally there is a very high proportion of students with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs) e.g. dyslexia or dyspraxia, in institutions which specialise in art, design or the performing arts. During your first week, the School encourages all students to take a short questionnaire known as QuickScan. It takes the form of an on-line, easy to navigate, questionnaire which will help to identify your learning style and specific areas of learning strengths and weaknesses. It is used in conjunction with other indicators, including student disclosure (as part of the interview and registration process), tutor feedback on practical and written work, and students expressing their concerns and any support requirements which may become apparent during their studies.
Disabled Student Allowance (DSA)
UK students with disabilities (including Specific Learning Difficulties and long-term Mental Health conditions) can apply for the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA). DSA usually provides support for students with the specialist equipment and tools necessary to support you with your studies, including software, hardware and study skills support. Unlike a student loan, DSA does not have to be repaid. However, it is rarely awarded in the form of financial support.
Applications are made through Student Finance England (SFE), Student Finance Wales (SFW), or Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). In order to apply for DSA, Student Finance will require evidence of any impairment or disability. This may take the form of a doctor’s or specialist’s letter or, more often, a report from an Educational Psychologist (Diagnostic Assessment Report).
If you require a Diagnostic Assessment from an Educational Psychologist, the Student Support Manager can arrange this for you and can guide you through the process.
Personal Academic Support
Various staff members at the School can help in different ways if you need academic support. If you need help with the content of classes or assessment work, you can ask the relevant head of course, tutor or your pastoral care tutor for an appointment or you can ask the Student Support Manager to arrange a tutorial with the relevant member of staff on your behalf. If you make an appointment, you can prepare for the meeting and discuss your concerns away from class. Heads of courses, modules leaders and individual tutors can all help you with understanding aspects of your training and can offer overall guidance or advice about your programme of study.
Study skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills)
Study skills support is usually arranged for students who have been awarded support through Disabled Student Allowance (DSA). However, the Student Support Manager will be happy to arrange one to one study skills support for you if deemed appropriate and necessary.
Mental Health, wellbeing and counselling
BOVTS recognises the challenges faced by students entering higher education and that training in a conservatoire institution can place great demands on a student both physically and emotionally.
The School has a student therapy and counselling service, which is organised and staffed by accredited, registered psychotherapists and counsellors and is there to help with any more deep-seated personal problems on which pastoral tutors are not qualified to advise. If students wish to have an initial assessment with a therapist or counsellor, they should contact the School’s Student Support Manager. A strict professional code of confidentiality is always maintained.
Student welfare and pastoral care
We actively encourage students to develop a pro-active and positive approach to their own ‘wellness’. We are preparing professionals to enter physically and mentally challenging professions and we work to enable students to sustain a physically and mentally healthy lifestyle.
Every student is assigned a pastoral tutor who monitors their progress throughout the year in addition to having access to the Student Support Manager. All students have tutorials with their head of course, head of year or allocated pastoral care tutor in which non-teaching issues can be discussed. A confidential tutorial can be requested of any member of the full-time teaching staff on your course.
In addition, BOVTS students have access to UWE’s Student Wellbeing Service, details of which can be found on UWE Bristol’s website.
For further information on support which the School offers, please see the Guide to Student Support.
You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course.
The team includes Head of Course, Stage Management, Lighting, Sound, Construction, Props, Employment Preparation and Recorded Media Tutors, plus visiting specialist professionals.
You can learn more about our staff by visiting our staff profiles.
Students are assessed on their professional practice on a pass or fail basis.
Judgements about students’ performance are made against the relevant industry standards.
UWE qualifications are awarded as nonclassified/non-differentiated.
Each module has one element of assessment and students are assessed on basic competencies in each module and ability to work to the project brief.
FdA PRODUCTION ARTS (STAGE)
Duration: 2 years (full-time)
Tuition fees for 2023 entry
New UK undergraduate students £9,250*
UK second degree undergraduate students £9,250*
Isle of Man and Channel Island students £9,250*
*Subject to further increase in subsequent years in line with Government policy.
International Applicants (Non UK) – Full-time £22,050
(Full-time route only)
Please note that permanent Irish residents applying for 2022 entry will be classed as ‘home’ student status as a result of the Common Travel Area agreement and are not liable for international fees.
It is not possible to confirm fees for future academic years, as these are dependent on Teaching Excellence Framework outcomes, but the maximum increase in each year will not exceed the rate of inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Essential Equipment see list here.
Accommodation and living costs not included in the fees.
Increasingly much of the information and some of the content of the course is available via the School’s Virtual Learning Environment and so you will benefit from having access to your own personal computer and the internet to make the most of your course. It is estimated that a suitable personal computer will cost £300.00. See the Course Summary document for more details.
Info and advice regarding potential accommodation and living costs can be found in the General Student Information Handbook
Sources of financial support
If you receive funding from Student Finance you may be eligible to apply for additional benefits.
Details can be obtained from our Student Fees home page.
Bursaries, scholarships and prizes
Please see the BOVTS Fees and Financial Support page for details of Bursaries and Scholarships.
The University also provides a number of scholarships and prizes for undergraduate students, which you may be eligible to apply for. Some of these are available to students on any course (such as the Hardship Fund and bursaries offered by charitable trusts).
How to apply
All applications for degree courses at BOVTS are made directly to the School. Please note that the School no longer uses the UCAS system. Applications for 2023 entry will be open from September 2022.
You should submit your application before 28 February 2023. If you apply after 28 February, we can’t guarantee there will still be places on your course.
Applying as an international student and Visa requirements
The application process for international students is the same as it is for everyone else.
As well as meeting our course entry requirements, you may have to provide proof of your level of English. This is because you need to meet the Home Office required standards to get a Student Route Visa to enter the country for study.
You can find out about Student Route Visa from the UK Government.
Applying after a break in studying
The application process is the same as it is for everyone else. You will have the option within your personal statement to explain why you have chosen to return to study now and how you feel you will benefit.
We accept a variety of qualifications, including the Access to HE Diploma and Open University credits. View our course pages to find out about entry requirements for each course. If you are a mature student and you have any questions about our entry requirements or your qualifications email [email protected]
The School is committed to the promotion of equal opportunities for all. We consider each application on the basis of the applicant’s suitability for the proposed programme of study, at the same time acknowledging the statutory and professional requirements of some programmes. We are keen to encourage applicants from a wide range of academic and social backgrounds to take up the opportunity of studying at the School. We aim to create an environment that respects the diversity of students and enables them to derive maximum benefit and enjoyment from their involvement in the life of the School. To do this we will be proactive about ensuring people are treated fairly regardless of age, disability, race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation.
The Admissions Office deals with enquiries and applications for all degree courses.
Telephone: +44 (0)117 9733535
Email : [email protected]
Post: Admissions Office, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, 1-2 Downside Road, Bristol BS8 2XF, UK
We will only accept one application per applicant, per year. You cannot apply for more than one course. If you need further advice about choosing a course, please contact the Admissions Office.
Your personal statement should demonstrate a passion for live performance and an understanding of what working backstage involves, with its excitement and pressure. You may also have an interest in recorded media and an interest to progress from live theatre to recording studio and location work.
We interview applicants as part of the selection process for this course and offers are made on the basis of interview performance. As part of the interview, you will be asked to show examples of your work. This could be related to a theatre production or a short film, but does not have to necessarily reflect those. You are encouraged to show anything which you feel can help demonstrate your enthusiasm and passion for production arts and which shows your creative or technical ability. This could include props, paperwork for stage management, plans, drawings or photographs.
This is an integral part of this second year enabling students to match their career aspirations to the practical reality of a professional environment.
Students are also offered a series of interviews with professionals from the relevant industry.
Graduates go on to have careers in a wide range of jobs including in stage management, lighting, sound, automation and construction working with companies such as the RSC, The Globe, The Royal National Theatre, Cameron MacIntosh, Welsh National Opera, Birmingham Royal ballet etc and numerous other UK regional rep companies and international theatre and production companies.
A copy of the rules and regulations governing the course is available here.
‘Without a doubt the BOVTS all round tech and SM course set up for my life as a production manager and technical director.’Tom Attenborough (BA SM Course Alumnus) - MD and founder, Imagine Believe Global
‘BOVTS training stood out because it was practical, disciplined and relevant. The skills I learnt and perfected there, from working professionals, enabled me to go directly into employment, secured before I even graduated. The name and the standards proceed themselves, no more needed to be said on my CV. I have since transferred my skills into live events so still to this day my training is in practise daily.’Laura Carus (BA SM Course Alumna) - Event Operations Director
‘My life wouldn’t have been even half as amazing and fulfilling if I hadn’t been accepted on the Stage management degree at BOVTS. I was never out of work and every single interview I attended people were impressed by my BOVTS degree.’Emily Woolley (nee Burt) (BA SM Course Alumna) - Production Manager for TV
‘Your influence on the students will resonate throughout their careers – thank you.’Mike Badley (BA SM Course Alumus) – Owner/Director Luminous Show Technology