Theatre DesignThe study

Theatre Design

About the study

Bachelor of Theatre in Theatre Design
Mode of study
Bachelor of Arts
4 years

Welcome to Theatre Design

The Theatre Design Bachelor programme teaches you to be a theatre designer: a profession that combines theatre and visual arts. Theatre design is a higher vocational (hbo) education where you learn to design within the theatre world from your personal artistic vision. All theatre design professions – in staging, lighting, sound, costumes, installations and objects – are taught in this interdisciplinary course. The study programme combines personal artistic development with technical skills, in close contact with the theatre practise. You gain a broad basis and lots of practical experience through internships and collaboration projects with other courses.

Theatre Design in brief

  • A broadly-based full-time course in theatre design
  • A blend of the visual arts and theatre
  • Artistic and technical skills
  • From personal artistic vision to design
  • Visual storytelling
  • Designing for all types of theatre
  • The course matches the professional practice
  • You work in your own atelier
  • This is a top-rated programme according to the Dutch 'Keuzegids' 2024

When is Theatre Design the right course for you?

You want to be designing for theatre. You dare to express yourself in the images you create and want to tell stories through images. You will be designing theatrical environment, develop artistic projects with other creators and create interdisciplinary designs.

Do you recognize yourself in the list below?

  • You are visually creative
  • You are daring
  • You develop images and stories
  • You have a passion for theatre
  • You have a feel for shapes, materials and design
  • You have a strong spatial insight
  • You are perseverant
  • You can collaborate and inspire others
  • You like to go your own way
  • You are a good communicator
In that case, you should come and have look at the bachelor Theatre Design.

This programme is in Dutch only!

Please only apply if you are able to read and write Dutch. To see all details, please see the Dutch language version of this page.

Go to Dutch page

Why choose Theatre Design at HKU?

Theatre Design is the only course at HKU that combines theatre with visual art. It combines all the professions that you can have as a theatre designer in an interdisciplinary programme. You discover the various theatre techniques and apply these in collaboration projects. You learn to put your images and ideas to use in the theatre as a visual artist, and thereby develop a personal artistic vision. The course matches the professional practice and lets you gain lots of practical experience. You do this through internships and work assignments outside the school, with theatre producers and directors. You also have lots of freedom to shape a part of your curriculum to your own preferences and decide for yourself what skills you want to develop.

Exited? Apply now!

The course in figures

Want to know how the Bachelor of theatre scores compared to other courses? See the list on this Dutch website!

Go to the course in figures (in Dutch)

Theatre Design teaches you to design for theatre performances as well as all disciplines related to theatre, such as exhibitions, film, television and festivals. For this, you develop your own visual theatre language and required technical skills. You learn how to use spaces, costumes, light, sound and objects in both new and traditional modes of theatre. Your work is tested in practice. You also learn how to collaborate with other artists in an interdisciplinary way.

In the first year, you learn a lot about the visual arts. You develop your personal creative capabilities and artistic methods. You also explore and discover the basic visual elements such as shape, material, technical structure, etc. You are schooled in visual skills such as drawing, digital media and sculpting, along with completing short design assignments with various techniques, including computer design, photography, maquettes, and installations.

In addition, you take various theatre classes in scenography, costume design and dramaturgy. This teaches you how to work with images in theatre. At the end of the first year, you do an exam to determine whether you can proceed to the second year.

The second year is focused on theatre practices and the application of theatre techniques. You learn to develop spatial concepts on the basis of specified themes and how to use theatre techniques as a means of expression. You learn to master the design process as it is done in practice, while designing for various assignments and projects that are presented to a real audience. The designs you learn to create are used for both smaller and larger theatre halls, as well as for films, exhibitions and special locations. Your classes cover, among others, repertoire knowledge, lighting technique, sewing skills, and audio design. You also work together with students from other courses.

The third and fourth year are about developing your personal profile as an artist, with a focus on individuality. This is reflected in both the subjects and work methods that you choose. Societal challenges are a crucial element in your work. You also get familiar with professional environments by doing, among others, an internship in the Netherlands or abroad. In these collaborations, you further enhance your skills and test your designs in the practical field on their aesthetic, technical and economic strengths.

Your internship(s) is/are done at a designer or design agency of your own choice, further expanding your professional experience.
You and your fellow students create an actual theatre production independently, sharing responsibility for all the aspects of this performance, including the acting on stage. Furthermore, you work on a design assignment under supervision of a theatre director.

You also choose between various large theatre projects. For example, in service of a theatre company or art organisation. For this, you work together with students from other courses at HKU Theatre. You conduct research and create performances, installations or theatrical events on the basis of a theme.
Your graduation work is a large complex theatre assignment, for which you choose your own source material (such as an existing theatre text) and the environment in which you present your work. Secondly, you conduct artistic research in a topic of your own choice that is related to theatre, design, visual arts or society. Finally, you organise an exhibition of your work.
Theatre DesignWhat will you learn?
Theatre Design

What will you make in the course?

With the bachelor Theatre Design, you create designs for all forms of theatre. Designs that range from decorum, costumes and stage objects, for creating performances, installations or theatrical events. The elements you use to design include spaces, time, image, bodies, costumes, dramaturgy, architectural structures, drawings, digital media, lighting, software, projections, sounds, objects and puppets.

Off to work!

As theatre designer you can be employed at many different places:
  • Local theatre
  • Dance ensembles
  • Design agencies
  • Theatre collectives
  • Mime
  • Music theatre
  • Speech stages
  • Television
  • Commercial agencies
  • Manifestations
  • Performance groups

You are expected to work independently and need lots of perseverance. It is not always easy to find your way in this field; and therefore you are exposed to the practical sector al lot during your studies. Internships and projects offer you experience in the field and an opportunity to build a network. This increases your chances of getting to work as a freelancer with multiple clients right after your graduation.
Theatre DesignApplication and admission
Theatre Design

Application and admission

Language requirement

The programme is only taught in Dutch. To be enrolled you must meet the Dutch language requirement. Find more information here.

Detailed information about requirements, application and admission, can only be found on the Dutch language version of this page.

Go to Dutch page

The course for you?

This program is currently only available in Dutch.

You adore the theatre. You also love creative activities, using various forms of visual arts. Would you like to combine the two? Then we would love to meet you during the selection day. We will then assess whether you qualify for the course. At the same time, you will get a good idea of the Theatre Design course.

Admission dates

To be announced.

Can you still apply?

To find out which courses you can still apply for, take a look at the Admissions Status page.

Language requirement

The course is only taught in Dutch. To be enrolled to this course you must comply to the Dutch language requirement. More information:

Prior education

You can take the course if you have one of the following diplomas: pre-university education (vwo), Higher General Secondary Education (havo), Secondary Vocational Education (mbo) level 4 or equivalent.

What to bring with you on the selection day:

The results of your two home assignments
Examples of your work, such as drawings, clothing, objects, short films and music

Assessment criteria

  • You have a passion for the visual arts and theatre
  • You are creative
  • You have a good sense of spatial awareness
  • You like telling stories through images
  • You like to map out your own path
  • You have plenty of perseverance and energy
  • You have good communication and collaboration skills

Applying via Studielink

Apply via Studielink.using your DigiD.

Home assignments and portfolio

You will be given two home assignments. You should bring the results with you to the selection day. You should also bring examples of your own work.

Workshop and interview

During the admission day, you attend a workshop, which includes an assignment to make something yourself. We discuss your home assignments and portfolio in an entrance interview.

You will hear within a fortnight whether you have been accepted or rejected.

Find out more?

First, read the frequently asked questions. Haven't found your answer yet? Get in contact with the Student Affairs Service Desk. They will help you with questions about (almost) everything that has to do with studying at HKU.