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This course is aimed at both costume-making and costume supervising.


We teach costume-making from first principles: from basic sewing skills, pattern-cutting and grading, through to the finished product. The basic sewing skills are organised in five levels:

  • Hand sewing, seams, hems, fastening
  • Pattern matching, tucks, cording, pleats and gathering, buttonholes, eyelets, false lacing
  • Openings, bias rouleaux and piping, facings and using bias
  • Fastenings (zips and fly opening)
  • Pockets

Although some time is given to completing all levels, you will be expected to work on them outside teaching hours.

All these skills, as well as other maintenance and alterations, are practised throughout the course by working on all the RADA public productions as assistants. This improves work speed and gives experience in working with different fabrics and vintage costumes from our store, as well as working with professional designers and directors.

The forms of pattern-cutting we teach are flat (block), cutting on the stand, and draping – although investigation into further forms is also encouraged, such as going straight to fabric, sizing up from a grid, and taking a pattern from an existing garment. You will also learn pattern manipulation and grading throughout the course.

Some garments are taken through to completion as class projects, including corsetry, ruffs, period shirt tailoring and millinery. Others form personal projects in the second year, which are supervised, although you will be expected to work semi-independently in preparation for professional work.

Costume supervising

Costume supervising is taught in the classroom with script analysis, budget skills and communication and management skills. It is also practised with the second year BA (Hons) Acting students as part of a short Shakespeare project, which is toured around schools in the London area. You will then have the opportunity to supervise two or three RADA professional performances, or a film project.

We also provide experience of other elements of a wardrobe department. There are introductory classes in hair and make-up, wig knotting, history of costume and costume props, fabric treatments and props skills.

The costume course at RADA is the only one in the whole country that I feel is tailored to anyone with any background. It's really exciting. You get to be involved in everything; from supervising to making, you learn everything.
Sophie Reshad, Postgraduate Diploma in Theatre Costume, 2022

Term one

The term starts with basic sewing before going on to block pattern cutting. You will also spend three days in the props department before working as an assistant with two students dressing on the first set of RADA productions.

You will then look at cutting on the stand and manipulating patterns, before assisting with two students dressing on the second set of RADA productions. Ruff-making and an introduction to corset-making follows. There is also linear teaching in history of costume props, history of costume and professional development, with some more instruction in pattern-cutting to finish the term.

Term two

The second term continues with a full corset project. You will spend a couple of days with professional dyers to learn about fabric treatments, before assisting on the next set of RADA productions. Projects follow including a shirt project, hair, make-up and wig-knotting.

The last set of productions is followed by some time to further investigate pattern-cutting and an introduction to millinery with a Sinamay/fascinator project. The term is completed by supervising work on the second year BA (Hons) Acting combat performances, the Prize Fights.

Term three

The final term of the year spends more time on millinery, including felt blocking and working with Buckram. There is further alteration and costume-making work on productions, as well as costume supervising teaching. You will also work with a professional tailor for a week to learn the skills to make a jacket.

The second half of term includes a detailed supervising project where students are taught all the skills required to supervise a show and put them into practice with a given design. The project includes the following:

  • what is required in the creation of a set number of costumes for a production, through the varying methods of hiring, making and buying costumes and accessories
  • the potential costing of a production through the making, buying or hiring of costumes
  • working within budgets and producing detailed budget sheets
  • the number and variety of costume hire companies and retail outlets
  • to start building a directory of contacts, suppliers, hire companies, sources and notes for future supervision work
  • communication and organisational skills
  • scheduling and time management skills
  • working to a designer’s vision and brief
  • analysing scripts and costume designs

This project will also include research into the fashions and/or fabric from a chosen area of the world.

The second year is focused on projects and productions.

You will choose to make two or three personal projects – which involve producing a costume from scratch, using a design of your choice – or to supervise two or three RADA productions (a RADA film is also an option).

The work created is presented at an exhibition for industry and the public at the end of the year.


During the course, each student undertakes a secondment of between 4 and 6 weeks. This period can be split between more than one placement and its length can be changed depending on individual students’ training requirements.

My own career began with my training at RADA and I’ve been privileged enough to use the skills I learned there in a range of projects that have taken me from the hallowed stage of the RSC to Hollywood.
Lindy Hemming, Academy Award-winning costume designer

Timetable and workload

Year 1

Class times are 10am-5pm. The workroom is available in the evenings for extra work if required.

When working on the productions, hours can be long. In the lead-up, staff will work alongside you throughout the necessary working hours. Evening and Saturday work on-site is common, but we try not to work beyond 10pm.

When working a show role, for example dresser or costume supervisor, there may be long hours during the tech week (usually 9am-10pm). Once the shows are open, you will have linear teaching during the day and show work in the evening, which lasts as long as the performance and will often include Saturdays. Productions usually run for approximately 10-12 days including two Saturdays, after which working hours return to normal.

Year 2

When working on the shows, the hours described above apply. When making a costume project, you will be expected to attend from 10am-5pm as a minimum, but can (and most students usually do) work some extra hours in the evenings in order to complete your projects.

RADA ensures regular breaks and we align these with industry union regulations following BECTU and Equity.

You can find our term dates up to summer 2025 here.

Modules and assessments

Class and personal project work takes place alongside roles on RADA public productions, all of which determine your progression through the course. Assessment takes place twice per term through a combination of finished garments and presentation folders, individual portfolios, research and self-assessments.

Year 1 (45 credits)

  • Foundation technical theatre skills – 15 credits
  • Foundation theatre costume skills – 15 credits
  • Skills development – 15 credits

Six assessment points (two per term) which must all be passed to progress to Year 2

Year 2 (105 credits)

  • Costume head of department supervisor (1) – 15 credits
  • Costume head of department supervisor (2) – 30 credits
  • Costume-making project (1) – 15 credits
  • Costume-making project (2) – 30 credits
  • Professional secondment and professional development exhibition – 15 credits

Five assessment points (two per term), and passing the professional placement. The accumulated marks from the second year of the course determine the final grade.

Teaching staff

Visit our theatre production staff list to read about our faculty.

Recent visiting professionals include:

  • Winston Rose (tailoring)
  • Vesna Pesic (millinery)
  • Pinewood Studios dye room

We encourage the opportunity for training regardless of age, gender, disability, ethnicity, marital status, nationality, sexual orientation, parental status, socio economic status, religion or belief. We are committed to promoting equality and diversity, to pursuing non-discriminatory policies and practice and eliminating unfair discrimination.

How to apply

Apply by submitting our online application form, which will be followed by an interview.

We do not charge an application fee for this course.

A guide to our online application form

  • Applications are online – you can fill out the form on a desktop, mobile or any other device.
  • If you find that the form doesn't work, try using a different browser. We recommend Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari.
  • We ask questions about you including your address, school address, qualifications and household income.
  • We ask for a passport-style photo of you. This can be a selfie or any other photo that clearly shows you from the shoulders up in portrait orientation up to 2MB in size and should be in JPG or PNG format. This is for our records only.
  • The information we collect is confidential. Some of it is shared with our interview panel, but we mark this clearly on the form.
  • The application will automatically save as you progress, if you want to take a break or come back to the form at a later date, you can simply close the browser and log back in later
  • To ensure you don't accidentally delete your own responses, avoid going back and changing answers.
  • Once you have pressed 'Submit' on the application form you can no longer edit, so please make sure you have filled out everything correctly.
  • You will receive a confirmation email to say your form has been submitted.

Interview process

You will be asked to demonstrate your suitability for the course based on your previous qualifications and/or experience; we are particularly looking for enthusiasm for theatre and film work, and for all the various disciplines within a wardrobe department.

You will be asked to show any work that could support your interview, for example a garment or project that you have completed as part of a course or self-taught. We encourage you to share photos, notes etc. to help you speak about the processes you used, not just the finished item.

Read more details in our Admissions Procedure document.

Entry requirements

Applicants must:

  • be 18 years old or above by the start of the academic term
  • have complete fluency in written and spoken English
  • hold a minimum of a foundation degree in a related subject
  • have significant practical experience (gained through education or professional practice)

We will consider applicants without a relevant first degree, provided that they can evidence prior learning in this area or a related area for study at level 7.

Please note: due to the creative nature of the course, we require a balance of practical skills and independent learning ability to progress within this course.

English is not my first language. How is fluency in English assessed?

Applicants should have excellent conversational English and be able to understand a variety of texts. As with all applicants, during the workshops, the panel will consider how you are able to interact and converse with them. .

If English is not your first language, you may need to provide proof of your English language ability. For more information see our English Language Requirements guide or contact

For non-UK applicants, we recommend that you read the guidelines published by UK Visas and Immigration. RADA can choose how to assess a student’s knowledge of English.

They must still be at:

  • CEFR level B2 if you’re studying at a degree level or higher

Information for disabled applicants

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 admissions process.

Find out more about the ways RADA support disabled applicants in our Student Life pages.

If you are a disabled applicant and would like further advice or guidance, please contact the admissions team directly on

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

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.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for the academic year 2022-23

Home (UK) students

International students

Your course is two years in length so the total tuition fees for UK students will not be less than £15,980 and for international students not less than £29,252.Please note that we are likely to increase your fees year-on-year; see the RADA Fees Policy for more information about how we calculate tuition fee increases.

See below for information about whether you are classed as a Home (UK) or International student.

UK or International student?

There are strict regulations regarding residency, which must be met in order to qualify for Home (UK) student status. Any EU student (except Irish nationals, which qualify for Home (UK) student status) starting a course from September 2021 onwards will have International student status, unless you have pre-settled status or settled status.

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 was not to receive full-time education.

International student
If you do not fall under the Home (UK) fee definition, 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 Student visa before coming to the UK to start your course. Without the visa you will not be allowed to enter the UK. Please visit the UK Visas & Immigration website for further details.

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.

Other costs

Almost all materials you require for your course, including travel for any trips, will be included in your course costs.

Other materials costs: £300

The things not covered include footwear, clothes, play texts and stationery. International students will also have costs associated with the Student visa. Please visit the UK Visas & Immigration website for further details.

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.

Student loans

This course does not qualify for a Postgraduate Loan through the Student Loans Company, but UK students are eligible for RADA scholarship support (see below for more information).


As the PgDip in Theatre Costume is not an eligible course of study for a Masters Loan, you will be expected to fund your course privately. RADA has limited funding available for postgraduate students but will consider applications for scholarships in the second (final) year of training. You should be from a family with an income of less than £45,000 per year and must be a UK/IRE (home) student to be considered.

It is unlikely that RADA will support all of your costs, so you should be able to fund the majority of your fee and living costs from other sources. Please note these are discretionary awards, subject to availability. Students should not rely on scholarship provision to be able to take up a place.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Theatre Costume gave me the chance to explore costume in a really hands-on way, from altering patterns for historical dress to working with professional designers.
Florence Dempster, Postgraduate Diploma in Theatre Costume, 2017

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, or if you have queries about fees or accommodation.

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.

Student wellbeing

The Student Wellbeing Service is 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 local GP surgeries, which are 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 (DSAs) 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 DSAs 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), and direct students to this service.

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.

I enjoy the vocational aspect of the course; I learn new skills directly applicable to shows.
Reny Morsch, Postgraduate Diploma in Theatre Costume

The course aims to prepare you for a career in costume supervising and costume-making, across theatre, TV and film. The training has also led students into other career paths connected to the specialism, for example:

  • Dresser
  • Running wardrobe
  • Touring supervisor
  • Buyer
  • Dyeing and breaking down
  • Fabric printing
  • Costume hire

With further training, the course can lead to a profession in the following areas

  • Make-up
  • Tailoring
  • Wig making and styling
  • Costume designing

Recent graduate destinations

Graduates have recently worked in costume-making, supervising and other costume and wardrobe related roles at:

London theatres

  • Almeida Theatre
  • Bridge Theatre
  • Lyric Hammersmith
  • Royal Albert Hall
  • Southwark Playhouse
  • Theatre Royal Stratford East

West End productions

  • Aladdin the Musical
  • Dreamgirls
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  • Heathers the Musical
  • Wicked

Regional and international tours

  • The Crucible
  • Flashdance
  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
  • Madagascar: the Musical

Film and television

  • BBC's Strictly Come Dancing,
  • ITV's Dancing on Ice
  • Netflix's The Crown
  • Netflix's Bridgerton
  • Leavesden Studios


  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
  • Maleficent
  • Mission: ImpossibleFallout
  • Peterloo
  • Suffragette
    I am under 18, can I apply to RADA?

    You must be at least 18 when the Postgraduate Diploma in Theatre Costume begins.

    Where can I get a prospectus?

    We no longer produce a physical prospectus. All the information you need about our full-time courses can be found on our website, including course content, costs and funding, graduate destinations, the application process, welfare support and where to live.

    Do I apply through UCAS?

    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.

    After I’ve sent in my application, how long will it take to hear back from you?

    You will receive an automated email confirming receipt of your application when you have submitted it. 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 so we can confirm whether we have received your application, or update you on when we anticipate having an interview date for you.

    What if I am ill on the day of my interview?

    If you are ill on the day, please email in advance of your interview time. Whenever possible, we will try to provide an alternative date, but this may not be possible as it is dependent on where we are in the admissions process.

    Can I defer entry?

    No. You should apply for a place in the year before the September you wish to begin your training.

    Can I get a student loan or financial support to cover my fees?

    The PgDip in Theatre Costume is not eligible for any government funding, so students on this course will need to be able to finance their training themselves.

    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. However, we will consider applications for scholarships for students on this course.

    Please read our ‘Costs and funding’ section above for more information.

    I am from outside the UK. How does this affect my fees and my funding options?

    There are different fees for UK and international students. You must have lived in the UK for three consecutive years prior to starting the course in order to qualify for UK 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 or international student.

    I am an EU student. How does Brexit affect my application or my fees/funding?

    The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020. In June 2020, the UK government announced that EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for home fee status or financial support from Student Finance England for courses starting from the 2020-21 academic year onwards. This does not apply to Irish nationals, or anyone who benefits from Citizens’ Rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement.

    You can read the full government announcement here. Please see for more details.

    How many students are there on the course?

    There is an intake of up to four students in September each year.

    Will I have the time to undertake employment while studying at RADA?

    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.

    Is it possible to transfer course, to or within RADA?

    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.

    Will you extend the deadline for acceptance of offer?

    Only in exceptional circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

    Can I visit RADA in person before accepting my offer?

    We are planning to hold an online open day for the PGDip Theatre Costume once applications are open. Please check the 'What's On' section of the website for dates.

Read our regulations and policies relating to admissions and current students here.