FdA in Technical Theatre & Stage Management
This two year course offers broad, practical training in all the areas that contribute to a theatre production, with the opportunity to specialise in your second year.
Graduates pursue successful careers in stage management, and in the varied and fascinating technical career options: lighting, sound, props, scenic art, construction, video, costume, technical and production management.
Our students learn by doing. Your training will be vocational and practical, focusing on preparing you for work in the industry. Career guidance and professional development sessions are given throughout the course.
After a broad-based first year of training, your second year allows you the opportunity to specialise in the vocational area that interests you, choosing from stage management, lighting, construction, technical management, sound, property making, production management, video, scenic art or costume.
From the outset, you will work on RADA public productions – we stage around 15 shows a year – as crew and/or operator. These productions are directed by professionals and usually involve professional designers. In your second year you will work in more senior roles, for example: stage manager, deputy stage manager, assistant stage manager, production electrician, head of construction, wardrobe supervisor, scenic artist, production manager or property maker.
You will also undertake a professional placement in your second year for up to six weeks with a theatre company, organisation or practitioner. Recent student placements have taken place on shows including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Secret Cinema, and at venues such as the Young Vic, Glyndebourne Opera, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Royal Court and English National Opera.
Rich and diverse in its scope and facilities, the course combines in-depth technical instruction with insight into the organisational, management and collaborative skills that form the core of successful work in theatre and other areas of the entertainment industry, for example film, radio, television, conferences, events and other commercial ventures.
We encourage personal development, considered reflective practice and strong individual growth because these are the skills that will support you through a complex, high-pressured and rewarding career.
RADA also regularly hosts guest speakers, comprising leading figures from a wide range of industries and walks of life – from politics and arts, to photography, neuroscience and religion.
Although the Foundation degree is intended as a complete vocational training in itself, students who successfully complete the FdA will now automatically be considered for the BA (Hons) progression year from September 2021 - enabling students to deepen their specialist knowledge further in one or two areas of technical theatre or stage management.
The degree covers the following areas:
- Stage management
- Stage electrics and lighting design
- Sound design and production sound engineering
- Scenic art
- Scenic construction
- Property making and procurement
- Set design
- Alternative theatre production
- Video projection and the manipulation of digital imagery
- Technical management
- Production management
- Technical and creative film roles e.g. script supervisor, first assistant director, location manager
- First aid certification
- Health and safety in the workplace
- Technical drawing
- Music score reading
- History of theatre
- Company management
Timetable and workload
This is a full-time course of two academic years, each running from September to July and divided into three terms.
Students will be working for a minimum of 35 hours per week. During production periods, this will be extended into weekends and evenings.
Each year there is an intake of up to 30 students, typically taught in groups of six.
You can find our term dates up to summer 2021 here.
The FdA in Technical Theatre and Stage Management is a vocational course. Students are assessed entirely on their practical work. Assessment follows six ‘rotations’ or blocks of performance throughout the year, where students are assessed on production roles, project work or placements. Students across the course complete a self-assessment which is an opportunity to reflect on their learning.
The final award is based on completing the necessary credits across the course and the average of marks in the final year for all assessments. The Foundation Degree is classified into Pass, Merit or Distinction. TTSM students receive both written feedback and their provisional marks throughout the course.
Year 1 (120 credits)
Year 2 (120 credits)
You must complete both years to be awarded the credits. You are unable to take credits earned if you leave the course early.
- Foundation Technical Skills: scenic construction (15 credits)
- Foundation Technical Skills: stage management/props (15 credits)
- Foundation Technical Skills: lighting/video (15 credits)
- Foundation Technical Skills: sound/stagecraft (15 credits)
- Foundation Technical Skills: scenic art/wardrobe (15 credits)
- Foundation Technical Skills: repeat rotation (students have the opportunity to revisit a rotation in a department they are considering specialising in) (15 credits)
- Foundation Skills: stage management (15 credits)
- Design Project & Professional Skills Development 1 (15 credits)
- Practical Production 1 (15 credits)
- Practical Production 2 (15 credits)
- Practical Production 3 (15 credits)
- Practical Production 4 (15 credits)
- Practical Production 5 (15 credits)
- Professional Development 2 (15 credits)
- Professional Placement (30 credits)
All course elements are compulsory. Students must pass all elements of their first year to progress through into their second year (first year marks do not count towards the final award). The final award is determined through an average of all marks in the second year.
The work placement module is assessed on a pass/fail basis, and is required to earn sufficient credits to complete the course, but does not count towards the final award.
During the first year, initial information and instruction swiftly folds into physical action and practical skill building, culminating in work on our public productions. You cycle through the technical production areas over each half term, alongside which you will also receive ongoing training throughout the year in a number of areas, notably:
- stage management
- theatre history
- stage, light and sound design
In the second year, you will specialise in a chosen area and work exclusively through productions in key roles in your chosen field, such as:
- stage manager
- production electrician
- wardrobe supervisor
- deputy stage manager
- prop maker
- technical or production manager
- assistant stage manager
- scenic artist
- lighting programmer
- sound crew
- construction HoD
You will also undertake an industry placement.
You will also have the opportunity to develop your skills either by undertaking project work in your chosen skill areas, such as property making, costume making, scenic art and scenic construction; by taking part in projects based on alternative theatre styles and digital production processes; or by working on one of the six short films or radio recordings we make during the year.
How to apply
Apply by submitting our online application form, which will be followed by an interview.
Interviews are held in London, Bristol, Glasgow and Manchester. Please select on the application form where you would like to be interviewed.
It is free to apply for this course.
We require you to have achieved a standard of education which means you can study for a foundation degree, but we do not require specific A levels or other qualifications. All eligible applicants are interviewed.
- be 18 years old on 1 September 2020
- have IELTS (academic) level 5.5 or above in all four components (reading, writing, listening and speaking) if English is not your first language
- have some practical experience of theatre production disciplines or related activity
- demonstrate an intellectual, creative and practical ability to undertake foundation degree training
- be able to talk enthusiastically about your passion and experience at interview
- be able to show an understanding of the nature of the work
Once you have submitted your application online, we will get in touch with you to arrange an interview date. Interviews will begin in January 2020 and we hope to have completed the process by April, although this is dependent on the volume of applications. In exceptional circumstances a candidate may be asked to return for a second interview.
You should come prepared to talk enthusiastically about your passions and your theatre experience. If you have a portfolio of work, please bring it with you. A good portfolio should display your process as well as your finished result.
We may, in exceptional circumstances, offer an interview via Skype to candidates who are not based in the UK. We may also invite some candidates to visit the Academy for a tour and/or second interview if their first interview was not at RADA.
Find more details about what to prepare for each stage of the interview process in our Admissions Procedure guide.
For entry in 2020-21, RADA does not charge an application fee for the FdA or BA (Hons) in Technical Theatre and Stage Management.
Interviews Jan-May 2020 (applications close 22 Feb)
Interviews Monday 3 February (applications close 13 Jan)
Interviews Friday 28 February (applications close 13 Jan)
Interviews Friday 13 March (applications close 13 Jan)
All UK/EU students new to higher education who meet one of the following criteria will be considered for a travel bursary for their interview:
You attended a state school, and one or more of the following:
- your family income is below £25,000
- your family income is less than £43,000 and your home address is in a neighbourhood with low participation (in accordance with the POLAR4 Postcode Check). You must be in a POLAR4 Quintile 1 or 2 neighbourhood for this to apply
- you will be considered a care leaver when you begin your training
Please make sure that you have indicated your family income on the application form to be considered. You will need to provide evidence of income to be eligible for a travel bursary. We do not set a specific amount paid for travel bursaries as it will depend on the distance travelled and mode of transport. We will only pay travel bursaries for travel within the UK.
Information for disabled applicants
We consider diversity to be enriching and a vital part of what makes us one of the world leaders in providing vocational training. We encourage the opportunity for self-development regardless of age, gender, disability, ethnicity, marital status, nationality, sexual orientation, parental status, religion or belief.
We welcome applications from disabled applicants and encourage them to disclose relevant information regarding any disability when completing their application form, to enable us to provide additional support during the interview process. If you are a disabled student and would like further advice or guidance, please contact the admissions team directly.
Read more in our Admissions Procedure guide.
Admissions, appeals and complaints
For information about RADA’s admissions, appeals and complaints procedures for higher education courses, please download and read our Admissions, Appeals and Complaints document. Please note that this process covers the following courses:
- BA (Hons) in Acting
- FdA in Technical Theatre and Stage Management
- BA (Hons) in Technical Theatre and Stage Management (progression year)
- Postgraduate Diploma in Theatre Costume
- MA Theatre Lab
- Foundation Course in Acting
Policies, terms and conditions
If you would like to know more about RADA’s admissions policies for higher education courses, please download and read our Admissions Policy
Please download the RADA Fees Policy for more information about fee levels and increases, deposits and payment.
Please see our Student Protection Plan for information about how we protect your rights.
You can read our terms and conditions for students here.
Costs and funding
Undergraduate fees for the academic year 2020-21
Home students (UK and EU)
See below for information on whether you are classed as a Home (UK), Home (EU) or International student. This affects the fees and also the financial support available. For Home UK/EU students, please note that our fees are regulated by the Office for Students.
The course is two years in length, so for Home students the total tuition will be not less than £18,000. For international students, the total tuition will be not less than £40,900. For international students, please note that we are likely to increase your fees year on year by a cost of living amount.
Please note that fees for Home UK/EU students starting in 2020-21 are regulated by the Office for Students. The fees are unlikely to be less than £9,000 unless government policy changes and new levels are set. RADA may seek to apply a higher fee of £9,250 subject to us receiving an independent teaching excellence rating. We will update this information as soon as possible.
Please see the fees policy for more information about how RADA calculates tuition fee increases for each year of a course.
*The UK government has guaranteed that all EU undergraduates starting in 2020-21 will have the same tuition fee levels and status as Home (UK) students. Visit www.gov.uk for more details.
UK, EU or international student?
There are strict regulations regarding residency which must be met in order to qualify for Home Student status. All EU students who are offered a place at RADA are required to verify their EU status prior to the offer of the place being confirmed.
Home (UK) student
In order to be classed as a Home (UK) student you normally need to meet all of the following criteria on the first day of the first academic year of the course:
- You are settled in the UK (this means there is no immigration restriction on the length of your stay)
- You are ordinarily resident in the UK, and have been for the full three years before the first day of the academic year (ordinarily resident means that your main home is in the UK, and you are choosing to live in the UK)
- The main reason for you being in the UK is not to receive full-time education
You will be classed as a Home (EU) student if, on the first day of the first academic year of your course:
- You are an EU national, or the relevant family member of a non-UK EU national, who is in the UK as a self-sufficient person or as a student, or the relevant family member of a UK national
- You must have been ordinarily resident in the European Economic Area and/or Switzerland and/or the overseas territories for the three years before the first day of the first academic year of the course
- You must not have been resident wholly or mainly for the purpose of receiving full-time education
Please look at our FAQs for information about the implications of Brexit for EU students. We will update this regularly as information is shared with us.
All EU students offered a provisional place at RADA are required to verify their EU status prior to the offer of the place being confirmed. Please contact the Student Finance Services European Team on EU_Team@slc.co.uk or +44 (0)141 243 3570.
You will need to complete and return an application to the EU team to be assessed for financial support.
If you do not fall under the Home (UK) or Home (EU) definitions, then you will be classed as an international student.
International students coming to RADA on a full-time course of more than six months will require a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa before coming to the UK to start your course. Without the visa you will not be allowed to enter the UK. Please download our guide for more information.
The definitions on this page are only a very brief summary and there are a number of exceptions to the conditions listed. For more detailed information, please refer to the UK Council for International Student Affairs guide.
Almost all materials and resources you require for your courses, including travel for any trips, are included in your tuition fees.
You will undertake a placement of up to six weeks as part of this course. For the majority of students, this will not mean any additional costs. You can apply for additional financial support from RADA if your placement means that you incur additional costs, such as travel.
Other materials costs: £300
The things not covered include protective footwear, practice clothes, play texts and stationery. International students will have costs associated with the Tier 4 visa.
Funding your training
It is important that you understand when you accept a place at RADA that you know how you will pay for it and whether you will need financial assistance. We do not take account of financial need when offering places, but we do reasonably assume that if you are applying to come to RADA, you will be able to pay the fees and support yourself.
Although applications are made directly to RADA, not through UCAS, RADA is a Registered Provider with the Office for Students. This means that our courses are eligible for student financial support.
RADA also offers a number of scholarships, the majority of which are awarded on the basis of income to undergraduate students studying in higher education for the first time.
Applying for a student loan
You can apply for a student loan (or a grant in some EU countries) for your tuition fees and living costs (maintenance) if you:
- are a Home (UK/EU) student
- have not already completed a course at the same level (for example another BA degree)
Tuition fee loans are not means tested and this means that you do not have to pay any fees upfront for your course.
Depending on your home/residency country, you will also be able to take out a maintenance loan to support you in your studies. These loans are means tested and will depend on whether you are living at home or independently. Information about how much you can borrow and a student finance calculator are available on the student finance website.
RADA offers a number of scholarships. The majority of our scholarships will be awarded on the basis of income to undergraduate students studying in higher education for the first time.
We have a limited number of scholarships for second degree students. We do not usually offer scholarships to international students from outside the UK or EU.
For UK/EU student, new to higher education, starting an undergraduate course in September 2020, we offer the following awards:
Income under £25,000
Minimum award of £2,000 for each year of study
Income £25,001 - £43,000
Award between £500 and £1,999 for each year of study.
In accordance with our 2020 – 2025 Access and Participation Plan, RADA offers an additional scholarship to care leavers (for living costs) of £3,000 per year for each year of study. This is for UK/EU students on undergraduate courses.
Students are invited to apply for scholarship support once they have been offered a place.
Support for UK/EU undergraduates taking a second degree
Second-degree students are not eligible for government-sponsored loans for a degree at the same or lower level.
RADA welcomes applications from UK/EU students who already hold a degree from another institution or in a different subject, and we hold a small number of places at the UK/EU fee rate for such students.
You will need to finance yourself for both fees and living expenses. We have a very limited number of scholarships, which include full-fee and/or full-maintenance scholarships, for students who are not eligible for student finance. Please read our scholarship section below for more information.
It is in your interest to provide us with information about how you intend to pay for your fees and support yourself through training, if you are not eligible for government-sponsored student finance. We will prioritise students from low-income backgrounds and from groups under-represented in the profession in allocating financial support.
International students are required to pay the full cost of their fees and living costs and are made an offer on the basis of paying privately. However, all funding issues are discussed individually with each student once an offer has been made.
Support for international students
If you are defined as an ‘international’ student (neither a UK nor EU student - see above for more details), you are required to pay the full cost of your fees and living expenses. Your offer is made on the basis that you can meet these expenses from your own funds. There are also financial requirements associated with the allocation of a Tier 4 visa.
RADA is not, at present, eligible for US Federal Loans.
Life at RADA
We are a close-knit, welcoming arts community where our students are individually supported throughout their training and beyond. Our students and staff come from many different backgrounds and from all over the world; we are united by our shared passion and commitment to theatre-making and storytelling.
We are based in Bloomsbury in Central London, near to University College London, Birkbeck, SOAS, the British Library, British Museum and a short walk to Covent Garden, the Southbank (National Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe) and West End theatres. We are well-served by transport links, with mainline railway stations (King’s Cross, Euston, St Pancras) and a number of underground lines and buses within easy reach. Our location means we remain easily accessible for members of industry and the profession.
Classes and rehearsals are based in our buildings on Gower Street and Chenies Street. Gower Street, with its familiar façade, has been RADA’s home since 1905 and combines our history and heritage with contemporary theatre facilities that replicate today’s industry standards.
Our three theatres give you the opportunity to work in industry-standard spaces: the Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre, a fully flexible theatre with 194 seats; the GBS Theatre, a studio theatre seating up to 70; and the Gielgud Theatre, an intimate studio space seating up to 50. All our acting and theatre production students will work in at least one of these theatres during their time at RADA.
Studios and workshops
We have a range of studios and workshop spaces across our buildings on Gower Street and Chenies Street. These include teaching and rehearsal studios for actors; dedicated metalwork, carpentry, scenic art, video and props workshops; extensive props and costume stores; a costume-making workroom; a CAD suite; state-of-the-art sound studios; and equipment for filming on and off-site.
Our library houses a large collection of rare and out-of-print plays in the English language, as well as a good stock of books on many other aspects of theatre. You will also have access to a number of digital resources.
Refectory and RADA Bar
The Refectory offers subsidised meals for students (for example a salad bowl is £1.50) with hot and cold food daily. You may also heat up your own food to eat in the Refectory. The RADA Bar and café is open to staff, students and the public during the day (and in the evening during public productions), and offers a discount for RADA students.
Student services and support
We have a dedicated Student and Academic Services (SAS) department who are here to support you during your time at RADA from before you arrive until after you leave. You can drop in and see us if you need letters confirming student status, if you have queries about fees, or need assistance in applying for student finance. We aim to get to know all students at RADA so we can help with your particular needs. You can find out who we are on the staff page.
The Student Wellbeing Service is located in our Chenies Street building and includes pastoral care and access to counselling at a time that suits our students’ busy schedules. Students can drop in or make an appointment to see someone, free of charge.
RADA has a relationship with a local GP (Ridgmount Practice), which is open to students living in designated postcodes. We can advise you on areas which will give access to this practice, especially if you have ongoing health needs.
RADA offers students free access to physiotherapy on referral.
Chaplaincy and faith services
We have students from all faiths at RADA and our Student and Academic Services team can put you in touch with someone from a particular faith to support you at RADA. We do not have prayer rooms on-site at RADA.
Support for disabled students
We support students as individuals at RADA, and we will work with you to make appropriate adjustments and ensure that you can obtain additional support. We encourage potential students to disclose any disabilities early in the application process so we can make reasonable adjustments for you.
You can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA) to cover some of the extra costs that you might have because of a mental health problem, long-term illness or other disability. These allowances are additional to your other student finance and you won’t need to repay them. Find out more information about DSA here.
Once you have a place at RADA, we can assist in identifying whether you are eligible for support. You will likely require a ‘needs assessment’ to determine what adjustments and financial assistance is necessary. We have a relationship with the North London Regional Access Centre (run by Middlesex University).
In keeping with our personalised training, you may be able to receive additional support for any condition or impairment directly from RADA. We will determine this with you as you progress through your course.
Where to live
RADA does not currently have its own student accommodation. This means that our students live in one of the following:
- local halls of residence, including those run privately
- with other students in private houses and flats
- lodging with another person.
Find out more
Once you have accepted your place at RADA, we will provide information about local accommodation contacts. We aim to connect incoming students with one another, which can help you to look for accommodation together. Our current students will also be looking for people to share with, and we also help you to make those connections.
For low-income students (i.e. those from a background of under £25,000), please talk to us once you have your place if you might struggle with a deposit for a flat or house.
Some students will carrying on living at home whilst at RADA and others live across London. We advise that you balance out both the time and cost of a commute with spaces that might seem more expensive, but are closer to the Academy – you will spend a lot of time here.
Our students pay an average of around £650 per month (based on a 12-month contract) for a room in a shared house. Some private halls can be considerably more expensive. If you have specific access needs, please speak to someone in our Student and Academic Services team for assistance in finding an appropriate place to live.
Graduates from RADA’s FdA in Technical Theatre and Stage Management can be found practising their professional skills across the industry. Approximately half of the current year group may go on to a progression year at RADA to obtain a BA (Hons) in Technical Theatre and Stage Management. Other graduates go directly into the profession.
Theatre production training also gives a grounding in skills that transfer well to other careers, including managing other people, budgeting and time management.
Right: Pericles designed by RADA graduate Fly Davis at the National Theatre.
Recent graduate destinations
Here is just a selection of recent destinations of our theatre production graduates.
Theatre and opera
- Almeida Theatre
- Bush Theatre
- Buxton Opera House
- Cambridge Theatre
- Chichester Festival Theatre
- Dominion Theatre
- Donmar Warehouse
- Everyman Theatre, Liverpool
- Finborough Theatre
- Garsington Opera
- Glyndebourne Opera
- London Coliseum
- Lyric Hammersmith
- Menier Chocolate Factory
- National Theatre
- New Wimbledon Theatre
- Orange Tree Theatre
- Oxford Playhouse
- Park Theatre
- Regents Park Open Air Theatre
- Royal Court
- Royal Opera House
- Royal Shakespeare Company
- Southwark Playhouse
- St Martin's Theatre
- Theatr Clwyd
- Theatre Royal Drury Lane
- Trafalgar Studios
Film and television
Events and special effects
- INCA Productions
- Lewes Light Festival
- Quantum Special Effects Ltd.
- Viking Line Cruises
- Youth Winter Olympics
There is no upper age limit and all candidates who apply will be offered an interview.
RADA does not use the UCAS service for applications and we have an independent admissions process. Apply via the online application form at the top of this page.
Both routes are acceptable but we also look for practical experience – this could be part of the BTEC or a suitable A level, or as a hobby.
All our information on full-time courses can be found on the RADA website, including course content, costs and funding, graduate destinations, the application process, welfare support and where to live.
If you are working with young people and would like printed information, we also produce a leaflet with key information about our Theatre Production training. These are available to pick up at RADA, or can be obtained by emailing email@example.com. You can also download a RADA careers poster to display in your school, theatre or organisation here.
Yes, we hold open days for the Technical Theatre and Stage Management courses, currently scheduled for 27 and 28 November 2019. Keep an eye on the What's On section of the website for further details and booking, coming soon.
You will receive an automated email confirming receipt of your application as soon as it has been processed. We will then contact you with a date for your interview.
Please note the admissions office can get incredibly busy at peak times while we process applications and schedule interviews and auditions. We’ll try to get back to you as promptly as possible. If you haven’t heard from us after one month of sending your application, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org so we can confirm whether we have received your application, or update you on when we anticipate having an interview date for you.
No. You should apply for a place in the year before the September you wish to begin your training.
There are different fees for UK, EU and international students. You must have lived in the UK or EU for three consecutive years prior to starting the course in order to qualify for UK/EU level tuition fees.
If, for example, you were born in the UK but then moved to Australia for twenty years, you would be liable to pay the international rate.
Please read the information under 'Tuition fees' to know if you are an UK, EU or international student.
If you are a UK/EU student new to higher education, you can apply for a student loan (or a grant in some EU countries) for your tuition fees and living costs. If you are an international student, you are required to pay the full cost of your fees and living expenses. Your offer is made on the basis that you can meet these expenses from your own funds. RADA is not, at present, eligible for US Federal Loans.
We do not usually offer scholarships to international students from outside the UK or EU.
Read full details in our ‘Costs and funding’ section.
We accept applications from students from all over the world.
The UK government has guaranteed that all EU undergraduates starting in 2020-21 will have the same tuition fee levels and status as Home (UK) students. Visit www.gov.uk for more details.
If you are coming in 2020-21 to take RADA’s FdA in Technical Theatre and Stage Management, please note that you will be able to complete the two-year foundation degree. However, if you intend to continue on to the BA (Hons) in Technical Theatre and Stage Management, this will be treated as starting a new course, so we do not yet know the arrangements for government-regulated fees and financial support for that third year (i.e. in 2022-23).
We are yet to receive information about arrangements in England for academic years after 2020-21 where students are starting a new course, but will update our guidance as we have it.
If you are at all concerned, please contact email@example.com.
Due to the academic timetable including evening and weekend classes or productions, there would be little opportunity to work during term time.
It is important that students have a balance of study and rest throughout their time at RADA to enable them to complete their training satisfactorily.
There is an intake of up to 30 students each year, typically taught in groups of 6.
Generally, we do not accept student transfers into our higher education courses. For our higher education Theatre Production courses (FdA Technical Theatre and Stage Management, one-year BA (Hons) Technical Theatre and Stage Management top up award and PgD Theatre Costume), we are unlikely to accept students part-way through the course. We take students from other institutions into the BA (Hons) TTSM top-up award, but not part-way through the year and they must apply and be interviewed as with all applicants.
We are not able to support students transferring between courses at RADA, particularly between acting and theatre production degrees as these are very different and vocational pathways. A student wishing to change direction would need to be interviewed or auditioned to join one of the other courses.
You can download our policy statement on transferring courses here.