The light goes out, the curtain opens, revealing the stage. What the viewer sees now can turn out to be very different: A barren white room, only furnished with a few chairs. Or a splendidly furnished ballroom that takes the audience straight into the 18th century.
The stage sets are as varied as the plays performed at the theater. They have a decisive influence on how a production affects the audience. A successful stage design not only includes background scenery and props , but also costumes and lighting .
The stage design course
Do you dream of creating imaginative worlds with your hands that give theater and film productions the finishing touches? Then you are in good hands with the stage design course.
There are degree courses in the field of stage design at numerous art academies throughout Germany . The students get to know the technical, artistic and theoretical basics that are necessary for the design of an atmospheric stage design.
Depending on the orientation of the university, the study programs have different focuses . In some courses, manual skills dominate . Others focus on creative design and the development of a distinctive artistic personality.
In the bachelor’s degree, students first learn the most important manual skills .
In the first semesters , courses with theoretical content dominate . Students attend courses on topics such as
- Costume studies
- Theater history
- Design and drawing,
- Direction and dramaturgy
In the higher semesters , the focus is on practical project work . There the students work on their own plays with directing and acting students and design the stage design. The jointly developed productions are usually performed publicly. Theoretical and craft courses such as mask design or costume history are still on the curriculum.
For students who want to continue their education after completing their bachelor’s degree, there is a master’s degree in stage design. The Master’s programs typically offer the opportunity to specialize , for example, on Scenic representation or costume design .
As in the advanced bachelor’s degree, practical work plays an important role in the master’s .
In order to be admitted to a degree in stage design, it is necessary to pass an entrance examination . The exam consists of two parts:
- Preparation of a portfolio with your own drawings and drafts
- Aptitude test lasting several days at the university
Anyone who later wants to be successful in their work as a set designer needs a large portion of creativity . But imagination alone is not enough: In addition, drawing talent and manual dexterity are required so that the artistic ideas can be put into practice.
After successfully completing their studies, many set designers work as assistants in public theaters . They support the set designers who come to the houses for individual productions. This is the best way to get to know professional practice at the theater.
After the mostly two-year assistantship, the majority of the stage designers work freelance . They are booked for individual projects at theaters or opera houses .
In addition to working in the theater also is working for film and television in question. Set designers design the backdrops for movies, television productions and series, advertising recordings or music videos. It is not uncommon for them to have two jobs at the same time and travel back and forth between different production sites.
Would you like to get a taste of international theater during your studies? Then it makes sense for you to study one or more semesters abroad. In this way you will get to know other stage concepts and working methods. At the same time, you will expand your language skills and establish a network of worldwide contacts early on . The latter can facilitate entry into the international theater or film industry.