Theatre Arts Degrees
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BA (Hons) Makeup & Hair for Theatre & Media

This innovative course has been devised in response to the industry's demand for practical training in makeup and hairdressing techniques.

UCAS code: W452
Duration: 3 years full-time

Entry requirements: 2 A-Levels and 3 GCSEs in other subjects grade 9-4 or A-C (or equivalent) plus a portfolio of work or audition to demonstrate ability in the specialist area.
1 A-Level, a Foundation course (or equivalent) and 3 GCSEs in other subjects grade 9-4 or A-C (or equivalent) plus a portfolio of work or audition to demonstrate ability in the specialist area.
English requirements: Applicants who have English as a second language and do not have a GCSE in English will be asked to present an IELTS UKVI certificate or equivalent as part of their offer conditions. They will need to achieve an overall score of 6.0, with 6.0 in the writing element and 5.5 in all other sub-elements.
Tuition Fee: £16,500

The assessment of your application will include a review of your grades, interview, portfolio/audition and any experience.

Theatre Makeup degreeCourse Information

Course Content

Course Content

You will explore hair and makeup artistry for many different contexts, whether you are creating classic elegance for the theatre, an edgy fashion editorial, or a striking special-effects masterpiece for the film industry.

The course offers unique collaborative opportunities across our Creative Industries department, enabling you to practice and showcase your artistry in many live settings, and provides access to a range of resources, such as photography studios and live theatre.

This specialist course carefully balances academic study with skill and craft development. You will be taught by industry professionals and gain practical experience through workshops, productions and opportunities to work in industry.

Students have gained work experience on a variety of high-profile theatre, film and TV sets, including BBC and major West End productions.

Teaching Method

Teaching Method

We use a variety of teaching methods, including: 

  • practical and creative studio-based workshops
  • discussions
  • lectures/seminars
  • tutorials
  • small group study
  • self-directed study
  • study trips

Key Features

Key Features

  • Experienced specialists with expertise, skill and insider knowledge run this course.
  • Unique collaborative opportunities with the Creative Industries department.
  • Develop varied skills in hair, makeup, postiche making, wig making, and special-effects makeup, building a rich portfolio that sets you up for a dynamic career or postgraduate study.
  • Regular workshops and showcase productions enable students to develop their skills to professional standards.

Course Structure

Year One

Unit 1

Unit 1: Introduction to Makeup and Hair

The unit aims to explore and reinforce safe and appropriate working practices for Makeup and Hair, to question and frame its discipline and how that is shaped by expectations, ambitions and a changing creative industries landscape. It will address wider cultural and care issues and expectations, covering relevant legislation, professional conduct, safe and appropriate practice and the role of research and investigation in creative discipline development. Practically, this will include safe methods of working and routines, appropriate language to use in makeup rooms, discipline protocols and professional etiquette.
Contextual introduction of how Makeup and Hair practices are framed by current debates in the creative and media industries, including debates on gender, equality, ethical concerns, regulations, culture, sustainability, interculturalism and globalisation.

Unit 2

 Unit 2: Ideas in Context: Performance and Everyday Life

  • Situating your thinking: Your practice in the world. Investigative methods using textual and visual analysis, discourse analysis, rehearsal-observation, participant observations, archived and published sources.
  • Critical/creative thinking.
  • Critical theory.
  • Writing and presentation methods and techniques: patchwork writing, foundations in academic writing practices, Pecha Kucha presentation and PowerPoint presentations.

Unit 3

Unit 3: Development of Hair & Makeup Techniques

This unit will expand Unit 1 further, developing your skills within Makeup and Hair, acknowledging and exploring the differences and similarities between,
Theatre, TV, Fashion, Editorial and Social Media. You will learn a wide variety of hair skills, application of wigs, hairpieces, hair knotting and postiche making. Makeup techniques to include a variety of different looks.
You will research and evaluate examples of the subjects covered.

Unit 4

Unit 4: Makeup and Hair, within History and Cultures

Practical, historical unit to include Makeup and Hair techniques through various periods, creating looks from ancient classical civilisations through to the 19th century, realistic and/or modern interpretations. The unit introduces FX makeup techniques and products, including the application of bald caps and eyebrow blockers.
Development of a research portfolio to support the learning and understanding of the periods covered.

Unit 5

Unit 5: Live Project 1

This unit provides you with the opportunity to mirror industry processes, working with peers from other disciplines and levels on a range of live events and projects. The focus is to develop skills, proficiency, professionalism and collaborative practice. You will explore, identify and refine your own practice working within the context of a wider creative team. You will reflect on and evaluate these skills, methods and disciplines in relation to industry standards and expectations.

Unit 6

Unit 6: Character Creation and Development

As a development of Makeup and Hair, within the History and Cultures Unit, you will explore and practice the Makeup and Hair Techniques reflecting worldwide culture and fashions from the 19th & 20th centuries.
You will undertake an individual project where you will design a final image in response to a set theme or subject. This will introduce skills needed for Makeup and Hair when working with photographers. You will design and realise an image by undertaking visual and contextual research using a sketchbook as your primary tool to develop your vision, present your final image and document your design process.

Year Two

Unit 7

Unit 7: Body Painting, & Avant-Garde Hair

The unit will introduce and practically investigate current discipline-related industry and practitioner practice in Body Painting styles and techniques. Introduce new methods for Avant-Garde hairstyling.
You will investigate discipline-related practitioners, genres and media applications. You will participate and contribute to workshops in these specialised discipline-based techniques, and practice reproducing the effects. The module ends with a photo shoot and a sketchbook record of design and investigation

Unit 8

Unit 8: 20th Century Hair and Makeup

This unit aims to deepen your understanding of the 20th-century looks, focusing on the 1940s to the 1980s.

Workshops in 20th-century hair and makeup.
Research to inform period choices and directions.
Collaborative working.
Briefing photographers.
Review of period products vs modern.
Identification of periods through strong signifiers of Hair & Makeup.

Unit 9

Unit 9: Live Project 2

This unit builds on the skills acquired in Live Project 1, providing you with the opportunity to work with students and peers from other disciplines & levels in collaboration on live events for a second time. The focus is to demonstrate proficiency, professionalism, and collaborative skills, evidencing autonomous and independent learning. You will further explore, identify and refine your practice working within the context of a wider team. Additionally, through supporting your Level 4 peers, you will work to embed your own learning and practice. You will reflect on and evaluate your professional development in relation to industry standards.

Unit 10

Unit 10: Ideas in Context: Theatre and Performance Ideologies

  • Situating your thinking: What you bring to your practice.
  • Investigative methods using textual analysis, discourse analysis, archived and published sources.
  • Critical/creative thinking.
  • Critical theory.
  • Presentation skills, methods and techniques; essay writing conventions, Pecha Kucha and mooting a particular subject/perspective on an argument.

Unit 11

Unit 11: Fantasy Character Design and Special Makeup FX

This will be a negotiated project – which could be a realisation of the project presented during the optionality unit or based on a theme. You can work individually or in groups to develop your own creative practice in an external setting. You will receive guidance and support throughout the unit, with a focus on taking responsibility for your own skills development. Workshops on FX makeup will also be provided. Projects may take the form of performance material, shows, and media. This unit will further extend your FX makeup skills You will then challenge your skills and take your practice in a direction of your choosing, leading you into your third year and potential specialism.

Year Three

Unit 12

Unit 12: Hair, Wig and Postiche

This unit allows you to investigate and acquire the skills required within the wig and postiche industry, building on the skills from the previous two years.
Wigs are an expensive item and specialist skills are required to ensure their longevity, adaptability and cleanliness.
You will maintain/ repair a wig as if working in the industry and dress to fit in with a design of your choice or to fit in with a collaboration, (Re-fronting, filling in etc.).
You will gain an understanding of specialist techniques to prepare you for opportunities as a Hair and Makeup Artist within the Theatre, Film, and Media industries, as well as your final project.

You will produce work of professional quality and consistency, considering space, time, and budget limitations.
This unit aims to further develop your processes, skills, and understanding of a professional quality product.

Unit 13

Unit 13: Professional Development

Your professional development is linked to your specialist area. Common to all areas are Industry focused workshops in:

  • Online presence and marketing techniques
  • Developing and writing CVs
  • Presentation of self as an industry-ready practitioner
  • Exploration of funding applications systems, pitching to clients and producers.
  • Entrepreneurial skills development within self-employment and employment.
  • Cultivate competency and self-efficacy through self-motivation

Unit 14

Unit 14: Dissertation

The dissertation is an investigation and critical discourse on the student’s negotiated choice of a topic relevant to the student’s course of study.

  • Investigative methods using practice, surveys, interviews, participant-observations, archived and published sources.
  • Critical/creative thinking.
  • Critical theory.
  • Writing and presentation methods and techniques

Unit 15

Unit 15: MakeUp and Hair Practitioner

This final project will be a culmination of your journey across the three years. This will define your practice and give you the opportunity to present yourself and your work in your chosen format. The project will give you the platform on which to fully explore your skills and identify strengths within Hair and Makeup and Professional Practice, preparing you for the final steps into the industry. This unit links to the Professional Practice unit and will support the development of your professional portfolio as a statement of your creative and professional practice. This project will be proposed, negotiated and actioned resulting in a final product for assessment.
This unit allows you to independently make work of your choosing. You will negotiate the context, theme/design and audience for your work, ensuring that your decisions are focused on developing your opportunities as a Hair and Makeup Artist within the Theatre, Film, and Media industries. You will produce work of professional quality and consistency, considering space, time and budget limitations.
The goal of this unit is for you to showcase your expert research, processes, and skills in creating a professional-grade product.

Unit 16

Unit 16: Collaborative Practices

During this unit, you will propose and choose ideas for collaborative projects. The focus is on choice, collaboration and sustainability. This unit is about exploring where your collaborative and collective work can live in the world. How do you come up with ideas for projects and make sure they happen from a starting source?
At level 6 the impetus will come from you.
Working collaboratively will support, challenge and stretch your ideas towards innovation, currency and sustainability. Workshops, seminars and supervision will support you in designing, situating and pitching your ideas.