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The programme

You will be prepared fully for a career in wardrobe-making and supervision, and will gain experience and confidence supervising costume on RADA’s public productions, where you will work with professional directors and designers. This will also improve your organisational and management skills and give you budget control and ordering experience.

The programme enables students to gain an intelligent understanding of the creative and collaborative process of the wardrobe department and the ability to transfer that understanding to other entertainment fields. You will graduate with the skills to be employed within, or in support of, a costume department.

Attendance at RADA productions and development of the individual’s own breadth of creative knowledge is actively encouraged as part of the programme, which also requires an understanding of the best possible experience of the theatre and the creative industries as a whole.

In your final term you will exhibit your work in an annual exhibition held at RADA, giving you the opportunity to talk about your work with an invited group of industry contacts.

You will learn:

  • Role of costume supervisor on RADA productions
  • History of costume and costume props
  • Pattern cutting – flat and stand
  • Corset making
  • Ruff making
  • Costume construction
  • Wig and hair maintenance and make-up
  • Fabric and costume dyeing
  • Tailoring
  • Millinery
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

Entry requirements

  • Candidates must have complete fluency in the English language
  • Candidates whose first language is not English must have IELTs level 5.5 or above in all four components
  • The minimum age for admission is 18
  • A minimum of a foundation degree in a related subject is required
  • Significant practical experience (gained through education or professional practice) is required

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.

Due to the creative nature of the programme, the required balance of practical skills and independent learning ability are considered mandatory to progress within the programme.

Assessment

Assessment takes place twice per term through a combination of finished garments and presentation folders, individual portfolios, research and self-assessments.

Secondments

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

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.

Resources and support

Our theatres

Our three theatres give you the opportunity to work in industry-standard spaces: the Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre, a fully flexible theatre with 190 seats; the GBS Theatre, a studio theatre seating up to 80; and the Gielgud Theatre, an intimate studio space seating up to 50.

Library

An important resource for students, with a large collection of rare and out-of-print plays in the English language. Membership also gives access to the following digital resources: Drama Online, Cambridge Journals, Theatre in Video, Digital Theatre Plus and RADA Accents Archive.

Wellbeing and counselling

We have a drop-in and appointment-based service for advice, a chat or a more formal assessment. Counselling support is available throughout the training and for any personal problems. There are also talks on sexual health, nutrition, drugs and alcohol.

Healthcare, injury prevention and response

We have a relationship with a GP practice, access to specialist medical support and osteopathy.

Disabled students’ support

We ensure Learning Agreements are in place and provide access to dyslexia, dyspraxia and other learning support needs; access to specific support for students with other impairments; and support in applying for Disabled Students' Allowance.

Fees and funding

UK/EU students

Tuition fees for UK/EU students applying for the Postgraduate Diploma in Theatre Costume have not yet been set for 2018-19 but will be no less than £6,350.

Information about the fees for UK/EU students and the financial support available through the Conservatoire's Scholarship Scheme and through government grants and loans can be found on the Conservatoire's website.

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

Non-EU students

Non-EU international students are required to pay the full cost of their fee and living costs and made an offer of the basis of paying privately. However, all funding issues are discussed individually with each student once an offer has been made. Fees for 2018-19 have yet to be set, but will not be less than £18,100. Further information about fee rates for non-EU international students will be available from RADA and on the Conservatoire website, once agreed. Please check our website regularly for updates.

Scholarships

All RADA undergraduate students who are new to higher education are immediately eligible for financial support through the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama’s scholarship scheme. RADA aims to 'top up' these scholarships, which are based on income assessments for people with a family income of under £42,875. Amounts may vary, as RADA raises funds for these scholarships, but for the last two years, the amount offered to each eligible student has been a minimum of £3,000 per year (inclusive of the CDD support).

We have a small number of scholarships available for UK/EU students who have a prior degree qualification. These can cover fees and, in some cases, living costs. Our priority is supporting students on undergraduate degrees (BA Acting, FdA/BA Technical Theatre and Stage Management), although we will consider applications from students on the MA Theatre Lab and the PgDip Theatre Costume in exceptional circumstances. Please note, we do not usually offer scholarships to students from outside the UK or EU.

Students will be invited to apply for scholarship support once the offer of a place is made. Please keep an eye on the website for more information about our Scholarship Scheme.

Fees policy

Please read our fees policy.

At the open day I loved what I saw, in particular the enthusiasm and talent of students and tutors for their chosen field of work. I enjoy the vocational aspect of the course; I learn new skills directly applicable to shows.

How to apply

Interview process

Candidates will need to demonstrate their suitability for conservatoire vocational training. Candidates will be asked to complete a brief questionnaire prior to interview, in order to ascertain:

  • general level of understanding of costume making
  • level of understanding of costume making terminology and practices
  • an appreciation of theatre history and knowledge of texts
  • openness to learning and ability to receive and retain information

The questionnaire forms part of the panel’s assessment of the candidate as well as providing a basis for conversation in the interview. You should come to the interview prepared to talk enthusiastically about your passions and your experience. You will also be asked to bring a portfolio or samples of previous work. Please note the panel are always interested in evidence of your process as well as the final result of any project or work.

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. There is more information for disabled applicants on the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama website.

Admissions procedure: more detail

Find more details about our admissions in our admissions procedure document.

FAQs

    I am under 18, can I apply to RADA?

    Candidates must be at least 18 when the Postgraduate Diploma in Theatre Costume begins. We do offer opportunities for young people under 18; you can find more information here.

    What qualifications do I need?

    This is a vocational course and candidates must be able to demonstrate Applied Prior Learning (APL). Please see the entry requirements above.

    Does RADA hold open days for Postgraduate Diploma in Theatre Costume programme?

    Yes, we hold open days for our theatre production programmes. Dates and details on how to book a place will be published on our website. If you would like to be added to the mailing list, please email opendays@rada.ac.uk. The open days are primarily aimed at the Foundation Degree in Technical Theatre and Stage Management programme, but this will give you the opportunity to meet the tutors, have a tour of the building and ask questions about the Theatre Costume programme.

    Do I apply through UCAS?

    RADA does not use the UCAS service for applications and we have an independent admissions process. You can download our application form from our website.

    What are the interview requirements?

    You will be invited to interview if you hold the relevant prior qualifications or experience. 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.

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

    If you have not heard from us within two weeks of sending your application, please contact admissions@rada.ac.uk

    If I do not attend my interview will my application fee be refunded?

    The application fee is not refundable under any circumstances.

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

    If you are ill on the day, please email admissions@rada.ac.uk. While we will try to provide an alternative date, this may not be possible and is dependent on where we are in the interview process

    Can I defer entry?

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

    How do I pay for the tuition fees?

    This programme does not qualify for any government funding – this includes the postgraduate loans through the Student Loans Company. Students gaining a place on this course will need to pay the fee themselves.

    Do I have to pay the UK/EU level tuition fees, or the international rate?

    You should have lived in the UK/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.

    Is there any accommodation/housing provided?

    RADA does not currently have its own student housing. We include advice on finding accommodation in the information pack we send students offered a place on our full-time courses.

    How many students are there on the course?

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