The Backstage Centre provides ideal opportunities for work-based learning and has provided many hours of work experience to students-in-residence. The courses we offer are listed below and are available to apply for via South Essex College Group and University Centre South Essex.

Follow the link for more information about each programme, and you can also attend one of a range of Open Events throughout the calendar year. Click this link to find out more.

Hair and Makeup Design and Application for Production FdA

This course is structured over three years. In the first year, students will learn about safe working practices, bio-sensitivity and etiquette, historical and cultural accuracy, hair and makeup application for diverse skin tones, and the social and economic study of hair and makeup. The first year will also cover styling textured and Afro hair.

In the second year, students will learn about wig and facial postiche construction, wig application and maintenance, creating injuries for TV and film, industry analysis and business, and a collaborative project.

Upon successful completion of the Foundation degree (FdA), students can progress to the final ‘Top-up’ year of study to gain their full BA (Hons) Hair and Makeup Design and Application for Performance.

Assessment and feedback for this course will include portfolio submissions, written essays, summative practical assessments, and research sketchbooks. There are no examinations.

Costume Construction BA (Hons)

The BA (Hons) Costume Construction programme at University Centre South Essex places an emphasis on the knowledge and use of both historical and contemporary pattern cutting, construction, textiles and finishing techniques. Students often study costumes in opera, dance, theatre, musical theatre, performance art, film and television.

Since 2015, the degree has been run in collaboration with the Royal Opera House in order to give access to some of the most beautiful costumes in theatre. The students have access to the ROH Costume Store and Collections Archives in Thurrock.

The final project for third year students is called the ROH Prize. The ROH Prize is a competition set by the ROH Costume Department for University Centre South Essex students only. The competition enables students to demonstrate their technical and creative costume-making skills in a final exhibition that has previously been exhibition in the Linbury Theatre foyer. 

Graduates of the programme have gone on to work at the Royal Opera House in a variety of roles as well as across the costume industry.

For further information on this degree course, click the link below.

Performing Arts BA (Hons) Top Up


This course is validated by the University of the Arts London (UAL). Are you ready to take on the exciting and constantly evolving world of the Performing Arts sector? It’s important to recognize that navigating a successful career in this industry requires adaptation and a multifaceted approach. That’s why we’re thrilled to offer our third-year Top Up programme, designed to give you the skills you need to succeed!

At level six, you’ll expand your awareness of the diverse nature of the Performing Arts sector, creating your own bespoke learning experience across different performance specialisms. This means extended diversity in your individual career development! Our units are designed specifically to facilitate your growth as an emerging practitioner, with critical analysis of current industry expectations, and theoretical scrutiny of underpinning theories, approaches, and contextual factors that have influenced the art form.

Our programme will help you audit and evaluate your own skillset in relation to the myriad of employment opportunities available to you. With this knowledge, you can navigate your own unique career path with confidence. And our focus on adaptability and entrepreneurial attitude will help you achieve sustainable employment in the Performing Arts sector.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to launch your career in the Performing Arts sector. Apply for our third-year Top Up programme today!

Creative Enterprise and Industries Level 4 Professional Diploma

Delivered in our City of Southend-on-Sea campus, post-18 education progression students, and adults looking to kickstart their career as creative professionals, our qualification is designed to provide you with the skills, knowledge, and understanding necessary to do just that!

With our qualifications, you’ll have the opportunity to cultivate your employability by developing your creative enterprise skills, expanding your contact base, and developing your start-up projects and professional practice. It’s the perfect choice if you’re interested in starting your own projects or company, or working in a freelance capacity and wish to explore and extend your creative practice via a full-time creative immersive learning experience.

This qualification is also a great starting point if you’ve identified a specific project that you wish to work on. You can explore the basis of entrepreneurial activity by developing essential business and management skills to identify and respond to business opportunities in the creative sector.

Our intention and purpose are to provide you with the opportunity to fast-track into employment in the creative industries and may support progression into higher education. Don’t wait to start your journey towards a career in the creative industries – apply for our qualification today! Click the link below.

in development

LEVEL 4 PROFESSIONAL DIPLOMA in Technical and Production Practice for the Creative Industries

The UAL Level 4 Professional Diploma in Technical and Production Practice for the Creative Industries has been designed to provide learners with the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to work within the production arts industry. It is available as a one-year full-time course, giving access into employment, and will open up the possibility of further progression into Higher Education.

The course can help you to develop your technical and production career pathway, whether that is for Film & TV, Photography, Commercial, Immersive, Theatre, Music, Live Events, Stage & Production Management, Logistics and much more besides.

Technical specialisms allow you to work in areas such as lighting, audio, special effects, camera, and post-production.