• triple j Unearthed music video scene designed by BFA Design student
  • Model box created by BFA Design for Performance student
  • BFA Design student models the costume she has made and designed out of paper
  • Actors on set and in costumes designed by BFA Design students

Design for Performance

NIDA’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (Design for Performance) is an immersive, practice based course that equips students with the knowledge and skills to respond to design briefs as set, costume and lighting designers.

The course develops students in a comprehensive range of skills and knowledge through research and practical exercises in model-making, rendering, digital visualisation and fabrication, manual and computer-aided drafting and life drawing, as well as screen design, storyboarding, pre-visualisation and art direction for film and television.

Students also investigate the social, historical and cultural contexts informing contemporary art, architecture and design, the history of costume and clothing, colour and lighting theory.

They learn in a collaborative environment through workshops, conceptual and realised projects such as major designs for productions, exhibitions and installations.

In their first year, students also develop their practical skills as crew on NIDA’s major play productions.

By their second year, students are developing their screen design and art direction skills through collaborations with directors on projects in theatre and opera design, and work as the art department for a short film project. In their final year, students work as a team to design, manage and curate the EXPONIDA exhibition, design a music video for triple j, produce, direct and design a short film and collaborate with MFA (Directing) students to design the Directors’ and Designers’ Productions. Each student also undertakes an industry placement with a stage and/or screen production organisation, throughout which they develop their skills under mentorship by industry professionals.

The course equips students with specific knowledge and skills in preparation for the MFA (Design for Performance) or to pursue careers designing sets, costumes, properties and lighting in the arts and entertainment industries, including theatre, opera, dance, film, television and events.

NIDA also offers a Master of Fine Arts (Design for Performance) course.


Want to know more about this course? Michael Scott-Mitchell, Head of Design for Performance explains.

 

Contact NIDA

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Design for Performance) CRICOS CODE 083699F

Interviews and how to apply

Applications will be open July–September 2017, to study at NIDA in 2018.

Entry to the course is by interview. All applications received by 30 September will receive an interview place. Interviews will be held across Australia between late October and early December 2017. Late applications may be considered if interview places are still available.

Course requirements

Entry requirements

We select students who:

  • demonstrate commitment, motivation and passion in relation to the arts, entertainment and related industries, to their chosen discipline, and to the course of study
  • provide evidence of their capacity to work creatively and imaginatively
  • demonstrate an aptitude to collaborate with peers as part of a creative process
  • demonstrate a range of knowledge, skills, technical abilities and/or problem-solving techniques relevant to their discipline
  • demonstrate cultural and contextual awareness
  • articulate and communicate ideas clearly

NIDA encourages applications from students from diverse backgrounds, with different levels of experience in theatre, film, television or other areas.

  • All applicants applying for any undergraduate course at NIDA must have completed their Higher School Certificate or equivalent qualification prior to the start of their chosen course.
  • Applicants must also be 18 years of age by 31 March in their first year of enrolment. Only in exceptional circumstances can this condition be waived.
  • Students must be proficient in written and spoken English.
  • International students must have an English language proficiency equivalent to an overall band score of 8.0 IELTS for the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting), or 7.0 IELTS for other Bachelor courses. Information on IELTS and testing centres in your country is available at www.ielts.org. This requirement may be waived for applicants that have completed their high school studies in English.

Additional information

  • The Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees are 3 years, full-time
  • Timetabled hours are 9am-6pm, Monday-Friday. During production terms students may also be required for rehearsals after hours and on weekends.`
  • Additional time also needs to be allocated to library work, research, preparation for classes and private study. For this reason it is difficult for NIDA students to maintain regular part-time jobs. Studying at NIDA is a big commitment so students need to manage their time and resources carefully.
  • Due to the highly competitive nature of NIDA’s admissions process, you must enrol for the year for which you have been offered a place.  You cannot defer acceptance of a place.

Application Process

How to prepare

Prepare your Design Project

  • Download and read the project information, which will be available from July 2017. 
  • Read the project instructions carefully and prepare your project well ahead of time. Do not leave it until the last minute.
  • The project must be prepared in advance and brought with you to interview

Prepare your Portfolio

  • You should bring to the interview examples of past work (both images as well as some actual examples if portable) that you feel will support your application and demonstrate your suitability for a career in design and the arts and entertainment industry. (if not submitted digitally with your application)

Demonstrate at interview why you want to work in the arts and entertainment industry.

Project Information

Project options

Project options will be available from July 2017. 

Project requirements

1. Choose one of the titles from the production options and prepare a model of how you would like to see the production staged (please download the plan and section of the theatre below).

  • Make your model from any suitable materials that effectively show how you would stage the stage – common examples are balsa, cardboard or foamcore, but you can choose anything.
  • Only use a scale of 1:25 (use a scale rule for accuracy).
  • Build the model on a strong base – plywood or thin particleboard.
  • Your model should indicate the colour and finishes of the set.
  • Your model should include at least one human figure (at 1:25 scale) to give a sense of scale.

2. Prepare costume drawings for the central characters in your production.

  • Drawings should be on A3 paper.

3. Consider the following questions for discussion at interview:

  • Why have you chosen this play/opera/musical? Why is it important to you? Why will audiences want to see it?
  • Text: What ideas is the playwright/librettist trying to express? What relevance does the play/opera/musical have for contemporary Australian audiences?
  • Characters and actors: What kind of people are the characters in the play/opera/musical? In what kind of world do they exist? If you had complete freedom of choice, which actors would you cast in the production?
  • Design: How would you describe the imaginative world of the play/opera/musical? Where is it located? In what period is the production based?
  • Costume, sets and props: What is required in each of these areas?

Theatre plans

Download the theatre design documents you will need for your project here.

Theatre Plan (PDF 1.6MB)

Theatre Section (PDF 1.3MB)

The Interview

What to expect on the day

Interviews are conducted in two parts.

  1. There will be a brief talk about NIDA, the course and the interview process. There will also be an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have. If interviewing in Sydney, a current Design student will welcome you and give you a brief tour of the NIDA facilities.
  2. You will then be interviewed individually for around 45 minutes.  During the interview we will discuss your project and choice of production; your ideas about theatre, film and television; and why you want to be a Design for Performance student and study at NIDA.

You should expect to spend half the day at your interview if interviewing in Sydney. Interstate interviews are scheduled on the hour.

The interview process is informal and open. Should you have any queries about the interview process or about what is said to you during the course of the interview, please convey your thoughts to a member of the interview panel before you leave.

Interview tips

Preparation! The more time and effort you put into the project and interview preparation in advance, the more confident you’ll be and the more you will benefit from the interview and discussion.

Come with a clear idea of why you want to study Design for Performance at NIDA.

Plan your journey to the interview. Give yourself plenty of travel time to allow for delays.

We know that interviews can be stressful, but every effort will be made to ensure your experience will be as interesting and enjoyable as possible. The interview is designed to give you the very best opportunity to show your potential and readiness to study at NIDA.

Selection Process

Selection of students

We select students who:

  • demonstrate commitment, motivation and passion in relation to the arts, entertainment and related industries, to their chosen discipline, and to the course of study
  • provide evidence of their capacity to work creatively and imaginatively
  • demonstrate an aptitude to collaborate with peers as part of a creative process 
  • demonstrate a range of knowledge, skills, technical abilities and/or problem-solving techniques relevant to their discipline
  • demonstrate cultural and contextual awareness
  • articulate and communicate ideas clearly

NIDA encourages applications from students from diverse backgrounds, with different levels of experience in theatre, film, television or other areas.

Due to the volume of interviews carried out, we are unable to provide you with individual feedback. The decision of the selection panel is final.

It is not possible to defer an offer of a place at NIDA.

Age and education requirements

  • All applicants applying for any undergraduate course at NIDA must have completed their Higher School Certificate or equivalent qualification at the end of high school.
  • Applicants must also be 18 years of age by 31 March in their first year of enrolment. Only in exceptional circumstances can this condition be waived.
  • Students must be proficient in written and spoken English.

International students

We require all international applicants to:

  • attend an interview in Australia, although an initial interview can be conducted through Skype or equivalent.
  • be aware of the visa conditions and financial obligations you are required to meet as an overseas student.
  • accept full responsibility for all arrangements concerning entry into, and residence in, Australia (including visas and health insurance).
  • have an English language proficiency equivalent to an overall band score of 7.0 IELTS and bring evidence of your English language capability to your interview. Information on IELTS and testing centres in your country is available at www.ielts.org. This requirement may be waived for applicants that have completed their high school studies in English.

International students (all courses other than acting) should select the option ‘International- Offshore Applicant’ a representative from NIDA will then be in touch via email to organise an interview over Skype which will suit both you and our staff.

For more information on applying as an international student, see international students.

Contact

If you have any further questions about the application process, please contact:

Email: applications@nida.edu.au

Phone: +61 (02) 9697 7614

Mail:

Applications
NIDA
215 Anzac Parade
Kensington NSW 2033

 

Course structure

Course Dates and Times 

Course duration and contact hours

Students are at NIDA from 9am to 6pm from Monday to Friday. During production terms students may also be required for rehearsals after hours and on weekends.

Additional time also needs to be allocated to library work, research, preparation for classes and private study. For this reason it is difficult for NIDA students to maintain regular part-time jobs. Studying at NIDA is a big commitment so students need to manage their time and resources carefully. 

All NIDA Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees are three-year full-time courses. All NIDA Master of Fine Arts courses, except for Cultural Leadership, are 15-month full-time courses. 

2017 course dates

SEMESTER 1

Term 1: 23 January–7 April

Mid-Semester Break: 8–23 April

Term 2: 24 April–23 June

MID-YEAR BREAK: 24 June–16 July

SEMESTER 2

Term 3: 17 July–1 September

Mid-Semester Break: 2–10 September

Term 4: 11 September–10 November

The semester continues until early December for those involved in the Directors’ productions.

Course requirements

Entry requirements

We select students who:

  • demonstrate commitment, motivation and passion in relation to the arts, entertainment and related industries, to their chosen discipline, and to the course of study
  • provide evidence of their capacity to work creatively and imaginatively
  • demonstrate an aptitude to collaborate with peers as part of a creative process
  • demonstrate a range of knowledge, skills, technical abilities and/or problem-solving techniques relevant to their discipline
  • demonstrate cultural and contextual awareness
  • articulate and communicate ideas clearly

NIDA encourages applications from students from diverse backgrounds, with different levels of experience in theatre, film, television or other areas.

  • All applicants applying for any undergraduate course at NIDA must have completed their Higher School Certificate or equivalent qualification prior to the start of their chosen course.
  • Applicants must also be 18 years of age by 31 March in their first year of enrolment. Only in exceptional circumstances can this condition be waived.
  • Students must be proficient in written and spoken English.
  • International students must have an English language proficiency equivalent to an overall band score of 8.0 IELTS for the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting), or 7.0 IELTS for other Bachelor courses. Information on IELTS and testing centres in your country is available at www.ielts.org. This requirement may be waived for applicants that have completed their high school studies in English.

Additional information

  • The Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees are 3 years, full-time
  • Timetabled hours are 9am-6pm, Monday-Friday. During production terms students may also be required for rehearsals after hours and on weekends.`
  • Additional time also needs to be allocated to library work, research, preparation for classes and private study. For this reason it is difficult for NIDA students to maintain regular part-time jobs. Studying at NIDA is a big commitment so students need to manage their time and resources carefully.
  • Due to the highly competitive nature of NIDA’s admissions process, you must enrol for the year for which you have been offered a place.  You cannot defer acceptance of a place.

Subjects 

First year

First year at a glance

In brief
  • Studio (design)
  • Model making
  • Manual drafting
  • Computer-aided drafting (CAD)
  • Rendering
  • Life drawing
  • History of Architecture
  • History of Costume
  • Dramaturgy
  • Performance History
  • Arts and Ideas
Delivery mode
  • Classes
  • Studio work
  • Participation in NIDA productions

Design for Performance Studio

SEMESTER ONE

DFP7101A DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE STUDIO (30 credit points)

Students are introduced to the fundamental skills and knowledge that Designers for Performance require to interrogate design problems, determine creative solutions and communicate outcomes with clarity. Students study the use of a variety of technical skills in visual communication through classes in life drawing, rendering techniques, model making and technical drawing and also investigate the social, historical and cultural contexts informing contemporary art, architecture and design.

Through basic design exercises, students analyse a series of given design briefs and apply basic creative problem solving in order to arrive at design solutions. Dramaturgical enquiry is a major component of these exercises and involves dramaturgical analysis of the text, and identification of structure and meaning in the work.

Designing within a studio environment encourages a continuum of peer review. Completed design projects are presented to the group and subject to a formative critique by peers and tutors.

SEMESTER TWO

DFP7101B DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE STUDIO (30 credit points)

Students are introduced to new skills and tools, including the digital communication tools Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Photoshop.

Students undertake the conceptual design of a naturalistic play, building upon and extending the design exercises undertaken in the previous semester. Part of the design process is to apply discrete analytical lenses to any given work, which students engage with through further application of research and dramaturgical inquiry.

Students present conceptual set, prop and costume solutions to their peers and tutors in a formative critique. They support their design solutions by demonstrating clear research capabilities.

Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration

SEMESTER ONE

DFP7102A DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION (15 credit points)

In this subject, students are introduced to a range of fundamental tools and knowledge that Designers for performance require in the interrogation of design problems and in working collaboratively as part of a team. They initially fabricate a design and then crew a live performance. Each design student is assigned to work as set/props or costume design assistant, working alongside a more senior student designer to help realise the design of a production.

Through this engagement with productions, students are able to reflect on the nature of their contribution to a collaborative art form and the specific focus each of the disciplines bring to this collaboration.

In addition to their roles on productions, mixed cohorts of students from Technical Theatre and Stage Management and Design for Performance apply the knowledge gained from co-taught classes in Technical Drawing to their specific discipline. Introduction to Lighting Theory is also co-taught.

SEMESTER TWO

DFP7102B DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION (15 credit points)

Continuing to contribute as part of a production team, each design student is allocated to a different designer (as mentor) and production. Following the fabrication phase, design students take on a new crew role in the presentation of the work. This ensures that by the end of this subject, students will have experience within all of the workshops that contribute to a production and performed the corresponding crew role.

Design students, co-taught with Technical Theatre and Stage Management students, explore more extensive Lighting Theory and Design through a series of practically based exercises. They also utilise the knowledge they have gained in Technical Drawing and apply this to a preliminary investigation of CAD techniques and principles.

Within the studio environment, students also interrogate the nature of working collaboratively as part of a design team undertaking a major model making exercise. 

Performance and Ideas

SEMESTER ONE

COM7101A PERFORMANCE AND IDEAS (10 credit points)

This subject investigates six different play texts to create a trans-historical understanding of the tragic form and the ideas that have influenced tragedy across the centuries.

Students interrogate three main questions:

  • What is tragedy?
  • In what way has innovation in the tragic forms sprung out of a tradition of practices?
  • In what way does this tradition influence our meaning making and practice today?

Students investigate these questions within the broader context of the ‘world views’ through which we can examine tragedy critically, the responses that these ‘world views’ have provoked to tragedy, the way we have responded to them artistically, and what tragedy can teach us about ourselves and about society.

SEMESTER TWO

COM7101B PERFORMANCE AND IDEAS (10 credit points)

This subject’s focus is on comic forms and intercultural analysis. It investigates five different play texts to create a framework of understanding of the comic form and the ideas that have influenced comedy across the centuries, in particular interculturalism.

Students consider three main questions:

  • What is comedy?
  • In what way has innovation in the comic forms sprung out of a tradition of practices?
  • In what way does this tradition influence our meaning making and our practice today?

The subject sets these questions within a broad sociological and historical context and provokes students to reflect on the impact of comedy in the theatre and in wider society.

Introduction to Collaboration

SEMESTER ONE

COM7102A INTRODUCTION TO COLLABORATION (5 credit points)

The focus of Introduction to Collaboration is the theory and practice of collaboration.

This subject introduces students to the principles of collaboration, which includes defining collaboration and creativity and examining how ethics, values and behaviours of collaboration are generated. Students investigate notions of ownership, agreement, creative conflict and how to generate ideas and create innovative practice.

This subject provides a theoretical, conceptual and practical scaffold for other BFA subjects including Student-led Projects and Interdisciplinary Collaboration.

SEMESTER TWO

COM7102B INTRODUCTION TO COLLABORATION (5 credit points)

This subject builds upon the principles of collaboration, skills and conceptual tasks featured in the previous semester. The concepts previously explored are now realised through practice in a group collaborative project. These small cross cohort collaborations are supervised and mentored. They have strategies and articulated milestones for the collaboration built into the conceptual plan so that students remain accountable to the learning outcomes of the subject.

Second year

Second year at a glance

In brief

You will:

  • work collaboratively with students from the directing course
  • continue working on designs for costumes and sets for theatre
  • be introduced to film and events design
  • participate in designing NIDA’s annual end-of-year exhibition of work.
Delivery mode
  • Classes and workshops
  • Practical work

Design for Performance Studio

SEMESTER ONE

DFP7201A DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE STUDIO (30 credit points)

Students focus on an abstract conceptual design brief followed by a fully realised, albeit small scale, design. These projects utilise the same source material/text and encourage experimentation. Problem solving is at the forefront of these design investigations. The hypothesis generated in the conceptual investigation is tested through the realised project. Students develop a plan to realise their designs within a specific time frame and on a limited budget. By making paper clothing, which they wear and in which they perform, students are encouraged to evaluate the construction methodologies, ergonomics and visual and performative impact of the designs they have conceived.

The accumulated knowledge the students have gained by contextualising the role of the designer in live performance is applied to film through an introduction to art direction and through a film-based design project led by screen professionals.

SEMESTER TWO

DFP7201B DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE STUDIO (30 credit points)

In this subject students continue to hone a number of key design skills and are introduced to 3D drafting software. Dramaturgy is given greater focus through a series of classes providing students with the analytical tools to identify emotional triggers in any given work and to clarify structure with confidence.

By this stage, students are conversant with a number of digital forms of communication and expression, and are hence equipped to investigate the creation of digital content and projection design as an adjunct to set design.

This subject is closely linked to its Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration counterpart subject. Design students work with Directing students on a major conceptual design project. The skills enhancement and synthesising of knowledge that occurs within Design Studio supports the experiential learning within Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration as students engage in collaborative design projects.

Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration

SEMESTER ONE

DFP7202A DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION (15 credit points)

This subject synthesises the skills and knowledge gained in first year as students engage with more complex conceptual design briefs working with the post-graduate student directors for the first time.

The primary relationship between director and designer is explored through a number of conceptual design exercises that increase in complexity. Collaborative problem solving is at the forefront of these design investigations. A hypothesis is generated through discussion and mutual agreement. The resulting concept is then tested through the use of scale models and renderings.

The creative teams of director, set and costume designer, and lighting designer present the results of their investigation of a given production to their peers and tutors in a formal presentation.

SEMESTER TWO

DFP7202B DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION (15 credit points)

Students continue engaging with student directors on a collaborative conceptual design exercise of increased complexity.

The creative teams draw upon their knowledge from the body of prior learning to conceive the design for an opera. This exercise allows students to demonstrate the ability to devise a concept through collaborative discussion, aided by thorough research and robust dramaturgical enquiry, along with the skills to present their ideas through a raft of visual communication tools including scale models, renderings and digital representations. Finally, they present formally to an invited audience of experts from the profession.

This presentation occurs at the conclusion of the semester, and marks the end of the design students’ formal theoretical explorations.

Performance and Ideas

SEMESTER ONE

COM7201A PERFORMANCE AND IDEAS (10 credit points)

This subject draws together some of the earlier learning about tragedy and comedy and brings into focus twelve

different play texts through which students form an understanding of the tragi-comedic form and the ideas that have influenced it across the centuries.

SEMESTER TWO

COM7201B PERFORMANCE AND IDEAS (10 credit points)

This subject builds upon the knowledge and analytical skills built in the earlier semesters of Performance and Ideas, and culminates in a study of nine different works to develop an understanding of non-Aristotelian experiments as they have impacted on the development of contemporary performance. The subject addresses the questions:

  • What can performance be?
  • What are the ethics of performance?
  • In what way has innovation in performance ruptured, adapted and affirmed a tradition of practice?

Student-led Projects

SEMESTER ONE

COM7203A STUDENT-LED PROJECTS (5 credit points)

Student-led Projects derive from the theoretical and methodological frameworks explored in introduction to Collaboration. Students self-select their collaborative teams with cross cohort representation. Together each team shapes an idea for presentation drawing on the individual knowledge and ability of each member to problem-solve in the development and realisation of the collaborative endeavour. Collaborative groups request input from staff or external mentors when it is required. In this subject, students apply their acquired knowledge of behaviours, innovation in practice, leadership, followership, emotional intelligence and negotiation skills to devise a collaborative performative work.

Each group draws on the collective knowledge of different performance forms and processes to decide on the particular shape of their work and has strategies and articulated stages for the collaboration built into a written conceptual plan. A peer-review framework for assessment makes each student individually and collectively behaviourally accountable to the vision of the work.

SEMESTER TWO

COM7203B STUDENT-LED PROJECTS (5 credit points)

In this subject students build on the collaborative practice project established in the preceding semester by bringing their project to realisation and, if they wish, presenting it in a public or semi-public setting.

Students complete their documentation of the whole project in this semester, refine and finalise their framework for peer review, and document the outcome of the peer review process after final presentations of the work.

Third year

Third year at a glance

In brief
  • Work collaboratively with students from the directing course
  • Train with industry professionals in designing for Shakespeare
  • Design for film in industry music videos and short film projects
  • Design for graduate director play productions and the NIDA graduate exhibition
Delivery mode
  • Classes
  • Liaising with industry professionals
  • Participation in the NIDA Events and Production Program

Design for Performance Studio

SEMESTER ONE

DFP7301A DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE STUDIO (20 credit points)

This subject consolidates skills and knowledge development, applying these within decision-making and problem-solving processes, and complementing the progressive shift of emphasis onto collaborative development and realisation of work.

The students continue classes in digital media with a focus on pre-visualisation for film, and Illustrator as an aid to storyboarding and image editing.

Students continue classes in the history of clothing and costume, and materials and technology with a particular focus on costume.

SEMESTER TWO

DFP7301B DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE STUDIO (15 credit points)

Students work as a team to curate, manage and design an exhibition presenting selected works representing all of the ‘non-acting’ graduating students. The students plan all aspects of an exhibition, requiring them to negotiate Workplace, Health and Safety considerations within a public space, marketing collateral, exhibition graphics as well tendering their design for costing, supervision of the build, and installation of the exhibits.

The final project within the subject is to document their design work on a major production. Here they will synthesis and apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired in technical documentation. The drawing package that is developed will inform the build of the major production.

Design for Interdisciplinary Collaboration

SEMESTER ONE

DFP7302A DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION (30 credit points)

In the third year, all design exercises in Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration have a practical outcome.

Students commence the year working as a class group on a collaboratively designed and devised project. The project requires the students to plan the formulation of a design concept through group negotiation, and then utilise the collective skills of the team to realise the concept. This calls for a disciplined approach to creative problem solving and communication, fabrication and the allocation of roles in a public performance.

Students then design a short film, which is shot by a professional crew. Working alongside students from various disciplines, designers observe the disparate elements that come together in film production. They collaborate with students from the Acting course, conceive a design, and plan an approach to achieving a successful outcome within a limited budget.

SEMESTER TWO

DFP7302B DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION (30 credit points)

This subject comprises three complex and demanding exercises with diverse outcomes.

Firstly, the design students re-unite with the student directors to produce a number of music videos. The creative teams each collaborate with a band to conceive and produce a music video, which has a public web and televisual release.

Next, the students work as a team to curate, manage and design an exhibition presenting selected works representing all of the ‘non-acting’ graduating students.

The final project involves working as part of a creative team to design and realise a production with a student director. Each creative team has to collaborate with two other teams to present the production as part of trilogy of short plays in a season. 

Design for Performance Professional Practice

SEMESTER ONE

DFP7303A DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE (10 credit points)

In this subject, students will explore a raft of tools to enable them to embark upon a successful career as arts professionals and negotiate the demands of establishing themselves as a small business. This will include a basic knowledge of financial and risk management, business and project planning frameworks, marketing, and copyright. Students will learn how to identify sources of funding to apply for grants and sponsorship, to apply for jobs, and to protect their rights within the Industrial Relations landscape. Students will also undertake focused training on Workplace Health and Safety.

Finally, students will undertake a self-directed analysis of the body of work by a professional designer of their choice, reflecting on the design vocabulary the designer has used to express different ideas and how this language has shifted and evolved over the course of their careers.

SEMESTER TWO

DFP7303B DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE (15 credit points)

In this capstone subject, students are assigned to a professional designer as mentor to observe their process of working with a major performing arts organisation. Here they will engage with the process by which a design is realised through rehearsal and onto the stage/into the studio.

While attached to the professional designer, students will have opportunities to assist on the fabrication of the work through placement within the various workshops responsible for build of the design. They will also observe the rehearsal process and follow the various problem-solving discussions that happen amongst the creative team.

Once the build and the first phase of the rehearsal process are complete, the students will follow the process of taking the production into the theatre/studio. In this way, students synthesise the cycle of design, development and the final presentation of a production.

Careers

As a graduate of the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Design for Performance) you will have the necessary skills and knowledge required to succeed across the multidisciplinary field of design.

Potential careers
  • Set designer
  • Costume designer
  • Events designer
  • Production designer in film
  • Production designer in TV

Fees

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for domestic students, see international students for costs for international students.

The tuition fees are reviewed each year and if you enrol you are liable for the additional tuition costs if the tuition fees rise during the course of your enrolments.

Tuition fees overview

Degree Course duration 2017 Annual tuition fee $AUD* Estimated total course tuition fee*
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Design for Performance) Three years $13,998 $41,994

 

Tuition fee details 

Year 1, 2017
Subject code Subject Credit points EFTSL** Tuition fee*
Semester 1, 2017



DFP7101A Design for Performance Studio 30 0.25 $3,499.50
DFP7102A Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration 15 0.125 $1,749.75
COM7101A Performance and Ideas 10 0.083 $1,166.50
COM7102A Introduction to Collaboration 5 0.042 $583.25
Total for Semester 1, 2017
60 0.5 $6,999
Semester 2, 2017



DFP7101B Design for Performance Studio 30 0.25 $3,499.50
DFP7102B Design for Performance Studio Collaboration 15 0.125 $1,749.75
COM7101B Performance and Ideas 10 0.083 $1,166.50
COM7102B Introduction to Collaboration 5 0.042 $583.25
Total for Semester 2, 2017
60 0.5 $6,999
Total for Year 1
120 1.0 $13,998
 
Year 2, 2017
Subject code Subject Credit points EFTSL** Tuition fee*
Semester 1, 2017



DFP7201A Design for Performance Studio 30 0.25 $3,499.50
DFP7202A Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration 15 0.125 $1,749.75
COM7201A Performance and Ideas 10 0.083 $1,166.50
COM7203A Student-led Projects 5 0.042 $583.25
Total for Semester 1, 2017
60 0.5 $6,999
Semester 2, 2017



DFP7201B Design for Performance Studio 30 0.25 $3,499.50
DFP7202B Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration 15 0.125 $1,749.75
COM7201B Performance and Ideas 10 0.083 $1,166.50
COM7203B Student-led Projects 5 0.042 $583.25
Total for Semester 2, 2017
60 0.5 $6,999
Total for Year 2
120 1.0 $13,998
 
Year 3, 2017
Subject code Subject Credit points EFTSL** Tuition fee*
Semester 1, 2017



DFP7301A Design for Performance Studio 20 0.167 $2,333.00
DFP7302A Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration 30 0.25 $3,499.50
DES7303A Design for Performance Professional Practice 10 0.83 $1,166.50
Total for Semester 1, 2017
60 0.5 $6,999
Semester 2, 2017



DFP7301B Design for Performance Studio 15 0.125 $1,749.75
DFP7302B Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration 30 0.25 $3,499.50
DES7303B Design for Performance Professional Practice 15 0.125 $1,749.75
Total for Semester 2, 2017
60 0.5 $6,999
Total for Year 3
120 1.0 $13,998
 * The tuition fees are reviewed each year and you are liable for the additional tuition costs if the tuition fees rise during the course of your enrolment. 

** EFTSL - Effective Fulltime Study Load: indicates the relative study load of a subject against a full time study load of 1.0 for an academic year.    

Additional costs

Equipment List

All items marked with * are to be purchased and labelled with your name prior to arrival at NIDA.

This equipment will be checked by your tutors by 8 February 2017. You should consider your purchases as life-long investments.  You may consider buying a toolbox.

Please Note: Design for Performance students are also expected to purchase their own art equipment, drawing paper, cardboard and other material for models and should allow around $1000 for this each year.

Compulsory Tools *

NB: Brand names are recommendations only. Stanley and Sidchrome are considered reliable brands.

  • 1 pair of protective goggles
  • 8 metre metric steel tape (eg Stanley)
  • 1 all purpose scissors
  • 1 pair combination pliers (eg Sidchrome)
  • 1 pair heavy duty rubber gloves
  • 1 glue gun (decent quality)
  • Respirator mask + filter, e.g. Protector single filter + RC 56R cartridge

Essential rendering equipment *

  • Selection of paints (inks, acrylics, watercolours and gouache)
  • Selection of brushes, sketching pencils and rubbers
  • 1 A2 Bond paper pad
  • 1 A3 watercolour paper pad
  • Charcoal sticks
  • Selection of chalk pastels

Compulsory Clothing *

Safe working clothing is COMPULSORY when in the workshop area. Closed shoes must be worn at ALL times in the workshop studios and theatres.  Protective footwear such as rubber-soled Blundstones are compulsory for use in all workshop areas and theatre spaces so you must have these at the beginning of your course.

Shortly after arriving at NIDA you will be required to have a set of black clothes (ie. long sleeved black top and long black trousers) for production work.  

Technical drawing equipment

  • Scale rule: 300mm scale rule with 1:25 scale (this is not a common scale), e.g. Kent 63M
  • Scale rule (the cheapest), Staedtler Mars 561 70-3 AU, AS 1212-3/300 metric (the red one) or similar
  • Pencils: two mechanical pencils (0.5 mm), OR two clutch pencils and a clutch pencil
  • Sharpener
  • Assortment of suitable leads: H, F, HB and blue
  • Plastic pencil eraser: Staedtler Mars Plastic 526 50 (for pencil) or similar
  • Compass Set: Kent Speed Bow Compass Set 8004 or similar
  • Masking tape: 25mm wide 3M General Purpose Masking Tape or similar
You can buy these drafting items yourself or take advantage of a NIDA package deal with Draftex to supply these items as a drafting kit at a very reasonable price. If you are interested in this deal, speak to your Theatre Drafting tutors early in the first semester.

Recommended Reading

While students are provided with the script of any plays they are involved in as part of the NIDA Production Program, students are encouraged to purchase other scripts and textbooks for subjects such as Performance and Ideas. 

Information Technology Recommendations

To access NIDA wireless (iWIRE) network, students are required to have access to a Laptop (Windows 7 and later), Macbook (Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or later) or a Tablet (less than three years old with wireless facility). All the devices should comply with 802.11a/b/g/n WPA-Enterprise security. All notebooks should be secured with a Kensington lock to help prevent theft.

For file transfers and data backup, a 500GB hard drive or higher and an 8GB USB stick are also recommended, as is a DVD burner, for optimum visual graphics on your computer(Laptop/MacBook/Desktop etc.) a 1GB dedicated graphics card is recommended but not required. 

Download the NIDA Domestic Undergraduate Student Fess Schedule 2017 (PDF 757KB).

Domestic and international students are required to pay tuition fees by the due date each semester. Domestic students are Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and New Zealand citizens.

International Students 

Fees and financial assistance vary for International students see International Students for full details. 

Further financial information

Australian citizens and holders of permanent humanitarian visas are eligible for an Australian Government FEE-HELP loan for all or part of their tuition fees. For more information about FEE-HELP please read the information below and visit Study Assist.

FEE-HELP

WHAT IS FEE-HELP?

FEE-HELP is the Australian Government loan scheme that assists eligible students to pay their tuition fees, so that students do not have to pay tuition fees up-front. FEE-HELP can cover all or part of a student's tuition fees. In 2015 the FEE-HELP lifetime limit is $97,728.

A loan fee of 25% applies to FEE-HELP loans for undergraduate courses of study. The FEE-HELP limit does not include the loan fee.

The Government pays the amount of the loan directly to NIDA. Students repay their loan through the tax system once their income rises above the minimum threshold for compulsory repayment.

For more information go to www.studyassist.gov.au

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR FEE-HELP?

You are eligible for a FEE-HELP loan if you are either:

  • an Australian Citizen; or
  • hold a permanent humanitarian visa.

The following students are NOT eligible for FEE-HELP:

  • New Zealand citizens - refer to the Study Assist website
  • Australian permanent residents
  • Overseas students.

Financial assistance

Eligible students, who are Australian residents, can apply to Centrelink for financial assistance through Youth Allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY. Visit Centrelink or call 132 490 for more information. 

While at NIDA, students can also apply for consideration for a NIDA student bursary.

Statement of Tuition Assurance Exemption

Under the Higher Education Support Act 2003, (the HESA) and the Higher Education Provider Guidelines, approved Higher Education Providers must have arrangements in place to protect students if the Provider is unable to continue to offer a course for any reason, unless the Provider has been exempted from this requirement.

As required under 2.5.1.5 of the Higher Education Provider Guidelines of 23 November 2006, NIDA advises that, under section 16-30 (2) of the HESA, NIDA has been granted an exemption from the tuition assurance requirements of HESA. The reason for the exemption is that NIDA is in receipt of funding from the Australian Government. As NIDA is principally funded by the Australian Government, appropriate transition arrangements would be put in place should it be decided to discontinue a course.

FAQs

Entry requirements FAQs

What ATAR score do I need to get into NIDA?

Entry into NIDA courses is by audition or interview only. We do not ask for exam scores or ATAR rankings. However, all applicants applying for any higher education course at NIDA must have completed their Higher School Certificate or equivalent qualification at the end of high school. In exceptional circumstances this requirement can be waived. 

What subjects should I study at school?

NIDA does not require students to have studied any particular subjects at school. However, it is beneficial during their period of study at NIDA for students to have a high level of literacy and to have read widely. A strong working knowledge of subjects such as English and History is helpful to provide an understanding of historical context and literary references in theatre and literature. It is helpful to have an understanding of drama and, if possible, to have attended a range of theatre and films. Applicants for some courses often study Design and Technology, Textiles and Design, or similar subjects such as Art. Knowledge of a language other than English and understanding of other cultures is also beneficial. 

For courses such as Properties and Objects, Staging, Design for Performance, and Technical Theatre and Stage Management there is a need to have some numeracy and basic computing skills. For the Staging and Properties and Objects courses there is a need to be comfortable with basic applied algebra, geometry and physical concepts but memorisation is not required and use of these concepts is very practically focused. 

Is there a minimum age restriction?

The minimum age for entry into NIDA’s full-time courses is 18 years. Students are expected to be at least 18 years of age at the commencement of their first year, or within a few months of commencement. In exceptional circumstances this condition may be waived. Applicants must be at least 17 years of age at the time of their audition or interview.

Applications from those 16 years and younger will not be accepted.

Is there a maximum age restriction?

There is no maximum age restriction. As a guide to the age distribution at NIDA, the ages of students in undergraduate courses at the start of 2016 ranged from 17 years to early 30s, with the average age being 21.

The average age in the Master of Fine Arts courses is 32, with an age range from early 20s to mid-40s.

Application FAQs

How do I apply for a full-time course at NIDA?

The first step is to fill in an application form, available online from 1 July to 30 September. You must then prepare for your audition or interview, the details of which can be found on the course pages.

My application form isn’t working/loading!

Online applications are open from 1 July to 30 September annually.

If you are having difficulty using the online application form, check your internet browser: Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari are the recommended browsers. You should also turn off any security that blocks pop-ups, as this may prevent the application screen from opening.

Can I apply for more than one course?

Yes, however a separate online application form and payment of application fee $150.00 will be required for each course you would like to apply for.

What do I do if the audition/ interview dates are not suitable?

NIDA aims to accommodate all Australian states during the audition/ interview period. If the dates provided are not suitable to individuals we will try to work with you to create a suitable alternative.

If you cannot attend any of the available dates during the application process, please select the option ‘Other- Dates provided not suitable’ and email applications@nida.edu.au to discuss further options

International students (all courses other than acting) should select the option ‘International- Offshore Applicant’ a representative from NIDA will then be in touch via email to organise an interview over Skype which will suit both you and our staff.

What do I do if I haven’t received details of my interview?

Once you have submitted your application and paid your application fee you will be emailed a receipt as well as further details regarding preparation for your audition/ interview. If you do not receive any emails from NIDA please check your junk/ spam filter or promotions filter (Gmail). If you are still experiencing difficulties please contact us at: applications@nida.edu.au

Audition and interview FAQs

What do I need to prepare for my audition/interview?

All the details for audition and interview requirements can be found on the individual course pages under the ‘How to Apply’ tab.

Does NIDA give audition/interview feedback?

Due to the large number of people being auditioned or interviewed, it is not possible for NIDA to provide individual feedback, either orally or in writing. However, the auditions and interviews are learning experiences, particularly through the opportunity in the auditions to observe the presentation of audition pieces by other applicants and any redirection suggestions provided to you or other applicants by members of the audition panel. 

What are my chances of getting into NIDA’s Acting course straight from high school?

There are around 1700 applicants for the 24 places in the Acting course. Most school leavers who apply for the Acting course are not accepted the first time they apply. There are advantages to having some life experience and maturity to be able to cope with a very rigorous course. However, the audition process is a valuable one and provides useful experience for future applications. There were two school-leavers among the 24 applicants selected for entry in 2016.

Where will my interview take place?

During your online application you will have the opportunity to select the date and location of your audition/ interview. The specific location details will be sent to you with your receipt once you have submitted a complete application form. You will also be sent further information for how you can change the location/ date of your audition/ interview if necessary. Please note that NIDA reserves the right to amend your audition/ interview date/ location at any time depending on availability.

What happens after my interview?

Final selections are made for each course by mid- December when study offers will be distributed to successful applicants via email.

Please note applicants who do not make it through to the recall stage for Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) and Master of Fine Arts (Directing) courses have not been successful for the 2017 intake.

Studying at NIDA FAQs

What are the contact hours for BFA courses?

Students are at NIDA from 9am to 6pm from Monday to Friday. During production terms students may also be required for rehearsals after hours and on weekends.

Additional time also needs to be allocated to library work, research, preparation for classes and private study. For this reason it is difficult for NIDA students to maintain regular part-time jobs. Studying at NIDA is a big commitment so students need to manage their time and resources carefully.

How are NIDA’s courses structured?

NIDA offers a conservatoire based method of education and training based around intensive practice-based learning.

There is formal class work, practical instruction, lectures and, for some courses, periods of placements in the arts industry. Each course has dedicated time to discipline-specific immersion, as well as common subjects undertaken by students of all disciplines.

NIDA Play Productions and screen work provides practical learning experiences, giving students the opportunity to apply learnt technical skills. Play productions are an important part of NIDA’s higher education courses with usually five productions being produced each semester.

More detailed information about course structure can be found on the individual course pages. 

What facilities does NIDA offer?

NIDA’s award winning campus includes a range of facilities available to students:

  • the Parade Theatre, seating over 700 people, is equipped with advanced technology in sound, lighting and scenery
  • performance spaces of varying sizes. The Parade Studio, Parade Playhouse, Parade Space and Atrium are also utilised for productions
  • the state-of-the-art Reg Grundy Studio is used for film and television recording
  • the Rodney Seaborn Library, specialising in the performing arts
  • computer-aided design (CAD) and multimedia studios
  • rehearsal rooms, teaching spaces and music practice rooms
  • and workshops for the manufacture of scenery, properties and costumes.

What student services does NIDA offer?

Because of NIDA’s close relationship with UNSW, in addition to the NIDA library, NIDA students have access to the UNSW Library, The Learning Centre, health services and the UNSW Fitness and Aquatic Centre, all located close to NIDA.

NIDA students have access to student counselling services provided through UNSW.

Indigenous students can also use the services of the Nura Gili Indigenous Programs Centre at UNSW.

Does NIDA offer credit transfer for study undertaken elsewhere?

Yes, NIDA grants credit for formal study undertaken in recognised higher institutions in Australia, including universities, colleges, TAFE and other post-secondary education institutions and for study at recognised overseas institutions, where the applicant has met the learning outcomes, attained the knowledge and/or developed the skills relevant to a specific subject. An application for credit must be submitted and approved prior to commencement of the course. For further information see NIDA’s credit transfer policy.

NIDA Student policies FAQs

Can I defer my studies at NIDA?

Due to the highly competitive nature of NIDA’s admissions process, you must enrol for the year for which you have been offered a place. You cannot defer acceptance of a place. If you want to enrol in a subsequent year, you will need to apply again the following year and go through the audition/interview process again. There is no guarantee that you will be offered a place next time.

A first year student who discontinues a course of study during the year and wishes to return the following year, must re-apply for admission to NIDA in the normal manner. There is no guarantee of re-admission.

Application for leave of absence by continuing students must be made in writing with reasons to the Head of Course for consideration and recommendation to the Director. Approval for leave of absence can only be granted by the Director/CEO. It should be noted that approval for leave of absence will only be granted under exceptional circumstances.

Can students be suspended from NIDA?

In addition to cancellation of enrolment for non-payment of tuition fees, a student’s enrolment at NIDA can be suspended or cancelled on the grounds of misconduct. Refer to the Student Misconduct Procedures below.

Where can I find more information about NIDA Student Policies?

See NIDA Student Policies for more information. 

Fees FAQs

What are the tuition fees for accredited courses?

Full information about tuition fees and FEE-HELP is available under the ‘Fees’ tab on individual course pages. 

Are there any other costs to study at NIDA apart from tuition fees?

There is an optional annual fee of $40 to join the Student Council of NIDA (SCON).While students are provided with the script of any plays they are involved in as part of the NIDA Production Program, students are encouraged to purchase other scripts and textbooks for subjects such as Performance and Ideas. 

Acting students must wear “blacks” to class everyday i.e. leotards, jogging pants, sweat pants, simple black tops or T-shirts, so students need to make sure they have at least a couple of sets of blacks to get themselves through the week. Acting students must also supply their own make-up and soft black shoes. 

Staging, Design for Performance, Costume, Properties and Objects, Technical Theatre and Stage Management students are required to purchase specific tools and equipment, which should be considered as lifelong investments. Students using workshop spaces are also required to have closed-toe protective footwear. Technical Theatre and Stage Management students should also have a few sets of “blacks” for working on productions. 

Design for Performance students are also expected to purchase their own art equipment, drawing paper, cardboard and other material for models and should allow around $1000 for this each year.

To access NIDA wireless (iWIRE) network, students are required to have access to a Laptop (Windows 7 and later), Macbook (Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or later) or a Tablet (less than three years old with wireless facility). All the devices should comply with 802.11a/b/g/n WPA-Enterprise security. 

For file transfers and data backup, a 500GB hard drive or higher and an 8GB USB stick are also recommended, as is a DVD burner, for optimum visual graphics on your computer(Laptop/MacBook/Desktop etc..) a 1GB dedicated graphics card is recommended but not compulsory.

Financial assistance FAQs

Are there scholarships available for studying at NIDA?

NIDA does not offer scholarships that cover the cost of tuition fees. NIDA students, who are Australian citizens, are able to access FEE-HELP loans for assistance with their tuition fees. For more information on FEE-HELP loans see www.studyassist.gov.au.

NIDA offers students the opportunity to apply for financial assistance (bursaries) at the beginning of each year to assist with living costs. The bursaries are made available through the generosity of donors to NIDA and from bequests. Bursaries are paid on a fortnightly basis during the NIDA year, with the value of individual bursaries in 2014 ranging from $1500 annually to $4000 annually, depending on need and the year and course of study. These funds are allocated to students on the basis of financial need, course of study and year of study. Bursaries are only available to students currently enrolled at NIDA.

What other financial assistance is available to undergraduate students?

Eligible students enrolled in NIDA’s undergraduate courses can apply to Centrelink for Austudy, Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY. Visit Centrelink or call 132 490 for more information. 

Is financial assistance available for students in the Master of Fine Arts?

The Master of Fine Arts courses are not approved courses for students to receive Austudy, Youth Allowance (student) and Pensioner Education Supplement through Centrelink. Master of Fine Arts students are eligible to apply for a NIDA bursary

NZ and international students FAQs

Is there a limit on the number of international students accepted each year?

NIDA welcomes applications from international students. While there is no quota for international students, there are limited numbers of students in each course.

What are the English language requirements for international students?

Students must be proficient in written and spoken English, with international applicants required to have an English language proficiency equivalent to an overall band score of IELTS 8.0 for Acting, Directing and Writing for Performance, or IELTS 7.0 for other higher education courses. Information on IELTS and testing centres in your country is available at www.ielts.org.

International applicants who are short-listed for the Acting course after the recall audition must provide evidence of their English language capability by the end of the first week in December in order to be considered in the final selection process. International applications for other courses should bring evidence of their English language capability to their interview.

Where can I find more information about international students at NIDA?

More information about studying as an international student at NIDA can be found at International students

Student work

Read more about NIDA's Head of Design for Performance Michael Scott-Mitchell


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