Design for Stage & Screen


Design for Stage & Screen

Design for Stage & Screen

Kaihoahoa Whakaaturanga

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Bachelor of Design (Stage & Screen)

The Bachelor of Design (Stage & Screen) is an intensive practical course covering the essential skills to design set and costume for traditional performance on both the stage and screen, alongside developing critical and ideation skills for work that expands notions of performance in the 21st Century. The course takes up to 12 students a year to ensure high levels of individualised learning and opportunities.


My time at Toi most importantly allowed me to train as an effective collaborator and gave me the ability to be self aware and reflective of my design process and practical experiences so I can continue to grow and hone my practice as a graduate. I was able to play as an artist, take advantage of the many resources offered to design students, and create from a design point of view holistically rather than perform a specific role. The learning and relationships I gained during the design degree are invaluable to my practice as a designer and artist today.

Grace Newton, Graduate 2021


Course Information

You will learn Performance Design through a range of practical workshops, intellectual enquiry, studio-based and collaborative projects.

Year 1: 

Practical design skills – technical hand drawing and CAD, basic set construction, scenic painting, props creation and scale model making

Conceptual projects in Costume Design and Production Design  

Critical design studies – analysis of screen and live arts

Year 2:

Assistant designer on in-house productions

Specialised experimental Design-led projects

Intern to professional companies and designers of your choice

Conceptual projects in Design for film and live event  


Year 3

Lead designer on theatre and a film production  

Self-directed research project

Internship and graduation exhibition

School year

Feb - Nov


3 years

NZQA Accreditation

Level 7

Domestic fees

For 2022 NZ$7,405 per year

International fees

For 2022 NZ$26,315 per year

Application Process

2023 DESIGN FOR STAGE & SCREEN APPLICATIONS ARE STILL OPEN. All applicants are asked to submit an online application form and a portfolio of your work.

Personal Statement Info:

In the Personal Statement section of the Application Form please answer the following questions (150-200 words each MAX):

  • Select two of your most significant achievements to date and explain why you believe they are significant. What have you discovered about yourself from these achievements?
  • What do you hope to gain from your time at Toi Whakaari?
  • Why have you chosen to study Design for Stage and Screen? Include some reference to how much theatre and screen you see and how you see yourself as a future practitioner in this field.

You are encouraged to share some personal insights and influences that have shaped you.

Portfolio Info:

We accept digital portfolios only (PDF, PowerPoint, Google Slides).  

Your portfolio should demonstrate your artistic skills and experience in the arts. You may use work produced at School, at work, in your community, at home or at leisure.  
A good portfolio will demonstrate your process and the finished product - your portfolio may contain unrealised work. It will show us your level of conceptualising, developing and refining ideas through drawing, images, video/film or creative making. Consider examples of quality work or projects rather than quantity of work – your portfolio should contain at least five pieces of work or projects. It is not crucial to show us design work for live or film productions, show us your creativity and passion for the arts through a variety of works/projects.

Portfolio examples to include:

  • Production photographs or film stills from work you have designed or assisted on
  • Photographs, drawings, sketches, paintings, renderings, illustrations (hand drawn and digital)
  • Your process, design development, rough sketches, annotations, initial concepts
  • Video/film clips, tests, edits you have created  
  • Any making projects, including: models, sculptures, design styling
  • Other items that you think relate to your potential as a designer or demonstrates who you are as an artist.  

Career Pathways

For 15 years, our Design course has produced designers of the highest standard who work in New Zealand and internationally. Toi Whakaari graduates are leaders in performance-based arts practice and have successfully forged careers in dance, events, film, and stage productions.

  • Set/Production Designer
  • Costume Designer
  • Art Director
  • Lighting Designer
  • Projection Designer
  • Event Designer
  • Post Graduate Studies 

“Since graduating in 2007 and completing a Masters of Design in 2010 I have worked as a freelance performance designer and director on projects that include live art, contemporary theatre, video, projection and installation design.” 

Meg Rollandi, Graduate 2007, Masters 2010  

- Lecturer in Spatial Design

College of Creative Arts,

Massey University

"My time studying at Toi Whakaari allowed me to not only further my craft in scenography and design but also to work alongside performers, technicians and directors. It was an invaluable experience to be able to develop collaborative relationships in this early stage of my career and be guided along the way by experienced teachers and practitioners. The relationships fostered in my time here are still a huge part of my practice and will stay with me for years to come." 

Rowan Pierce, Graduate 2009

- Sound and Spatial Designer

"I would describe Toi Whakaari as a playground for artists. It’s a three-year opportunity to be grounded in a space with equipment, books, spaces, experienced staff and guest tutors and, most importantly, peers who can be collaborators, critics, mentors and examples of success and failure. In its prime the design degree is a mix of diverse crafts, where you learn through experience and through each other. The design degree deals especially with developing one’s process and self awareness through practical applications, which have proved to be invaluable skills."

Elekis Poblete Teirney, Graduate 2018

- Lighting Designer