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 – performance technology labs, manual and digital drawing towards the realisation conceptual ideas

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 2024 NZ$7,821 per year

International fees

For 2024 NZ$26,315 per year

Application Process

***Applications for entry in 2025 will open on Friday 24 MAY 2024*** Entry to the Bachelor of Design (Stage and Screen) is by application, portfolio and interview. We welcome ambitious individuals who can identify and seize opportunities to make a positive impact in the arts sector to apply.

Personal Statement Info:

We invite all applicants to submit a Personal Statement that shares their personal experiences and values, motivations, and aspirations:

  • Drawing on your own lived experience, can you describe your personal background and share any significant cultural or artistic influences that have shaped your values and worldview
  • What are your aspirations for personal and artistic growth during your time at Toi Whakaari?
  • Why have you chosen to study at Toi Whakaari? Please provide some context regarding your interest in live and screen arts, and how you see yourself as a future practitioner in this field?

Referees: As part of our application process, we kindly request that applicants provide one reference. The referee should be an individual who can offer insights into the applicant's character or skills or experiences.

Portfolio Info:

For the application process, we accept digital portfolios only: Website address, PDF, PowerPoint, or Google Slides formats are preferable.

Your portfolio should serve as a reflection of your artistic skills. You can include work produced from school projects, professional engagements, community involvements or personal artistic pursuits. A compelling portfolio will showcase both your creative process and the final outcomes, allowing us to observe your ability to conceptualise, develop, and refine ideas through drawings, images, videos/films, or creative projects. While it is not necessary to exclusively present design work for live or screen productions, we encourage you to emphasise your creativity and passion for the arts through a diverse range of works or projects.

Here are some suggested examples to include in your portfolio:

  • Production photographs or film stills from the works you have designed or assisted with.
  • Photographs, drawings, sketches, paintings, renderings, illustrations (both hand-drawn and digital).
  • Documentation of your process, including design development, rough sketches, annotations, and initial concepts.
  • Video/film clips, tests, or edits that you have created.
  • Any making projects, such as models, sculptures, or design stylings.
  • Additional items that you believe demonstrate your potential as a designer or artist and reflect your unique artistic identity.

Remember, quality and depth of work are more important than quantity. Aim to showcase at least five pieces of work or projects that highlight your artistic capabilities effectively.

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