Want to talk to someone? Call us now on 0800 10 95 10 Apply Now

Programme overview

Learn about the creative development of production, and the key design and organisational management of areas of screen and theatre production by participating in the making of a large body of work for theatre and film.

You'll specialise in one of three areas of production:

  • Costume
  • Lights/sound/stage management
  • Scenery/props/art department.

Our aim is to produce creative practitioners who understand the professional requirements of their chosen field and can pursue careers in the film, TV and theatre industries.


  • Practical focus: work on industry-modelled projects from fully realised classic theatre pieces to new and original plays, short films (studio and location), contemporary dance works, commercials, and cutting-edge experimental and multi-disciplinary work.
  • A chance to work collaboratively across art forms.
  • Emphasis on developing an inquiring, flexible, creative and critical attitude in your approach to the conceptual and organisational skills required for the profession.
  • An industry placement in both your second and third years.
  • Access to fully equipped theatre, dance and television studios, and extensive production workshops.
  • Staff who are experienced industry professionals.
  • Strong industry links.
  • Visits from international experts.

In your first two years you will gain industry-standard experience and the technical skills needed for one of the following specialist areas:


Acquire experience and skill in costume making, sewing, pattern drafting and cutting, corset making, props and accessories, millinery, period costumes, fabric enhancement and dyeing, and the basics of costume design. Learn real-world wardrobe standby skills when making short films in the studio or on location.

Lights/sound/stage management

Specialise in performance operation and management utilising our state-of-the-art theatre equipment, Mac technology labs and production workshops. Gain industry-standard experience in equipment handling, safety and maintenance while you explore and perfect your creative and technical abilities in practical workshops, projects and events.

Art department

Acquire experience and specalist skills in sculpting, prop making, prop sourcing, moulding and casting, scenic painting, scenic furniture production, art direction (both on and off set), and television/ film set design and construction.

In your third year you'll focus on design (production, costume, lighting, set or sound) and management (art direction, production, stage, technical or costume), depending on your specialist area. You'll develop practical creative design and management skills by working collaboratively on a large range of projects, gaining experience in your specialist role and in leading teams of makers and technicians.

Across the three years you'll explore the historical development of drama, from its origins in ritual and religion to the age of digital communication. Alongside your future industry peers, you'll explore in-depth theoretical and critical thought, integrating theory and professional practice in an exciting cross-discipline environment.

Note: Students who complete the first two years of the programme and who wish to enter the industry as an entry-level technician may be awarded the Diploma in Performance Technology.

Interview workshop

The interview workshop will take place in early October and will consist of a combination of exercises which demonstrate your ability to carry out specific tasks (related to your chosen specialisation) both individually and as part of a group. You'll be notified of the exact nature of these tasks when you apply, to allow you time to prepare. From this workshop, the final selection of trainees is made for the following year.

Admission requirements

To be eligible for admission, applicants must meet the general, or the discretionary, or the special admission requirements and they must also meet any programme-specific admission requirements. Applicants must also meet the English language requirements and may be interviewed.

Generic Admission Requirements

General Admission

Applicants must have:

  1. A minimum of 42 credits at NCEA Level 3 or higher on the National Qualifications Framework, with 14 credits at Level 3 or higher in each of two subjects from an approved subject list, with a further 14 credits at Level 3 or higher taken from no more than two additional domains on the National Qualifications Framework or approved subjects plus a minimum of 14 credits at Level 1 or higher in Mathematics or Pangarau on the National Qualifications Framework, plus a minimum of 8 credits at Level 2 or higher in English or Te Reo Maori; a minimum of 4 credits must be in Reading and a minimum of 4 credits must be in Writing; OR
  2. At least 3 ‘C’ passes in the New Zealand University Bursaries Examinations; OR
  3. Successful completion of the Unitec Certificate in Foundation Studies: Whitinga Level 3 with a relevant pathway, where appropriate;OR
  4. Certificate of University Preparation (Level 4); OR
  5. Certificate in Foundation Studies (Level 4); OR
  6. Equivalent

Special Admission

Applicants must have: 

  1. Attained the age of 20 years on or before the first day of the semester in which study for the degree is to commence; AND 
  2. Have provided sufficient evidence of aptitude or appropriate work or other life experience that would indicate a potential successful outcome in the qualification. 

Discretionary Admission

In exceptional cases an applicant who does not meet the general admission requirements and who has not reached the age of 20 on or before the first day of the semester in which study for the degree is to commence may apply for discretionary admission.

In assessing whether to grant discretionary admission in exceptional cases, the primary focus will be on the applicant’s level of preparedness for study at the required level.

English Language Admission Requirements

General English Language Requirements
Applicants must have achieved a minimum standard of English as demonstrated by a minimum of 8 credits at NCEA Level 2 in English (4 in Reading, 4 in Writing).

International Students for whom English is not their First Language
Applicants must have achieved one of the following:

  1. Completion of NZ Certificate in English Language (NZCEL), Academic, Level 4;
  2. An overall IELTS band score (Academic Format) of 6 with no band score lower than 5.5;
  3. An overall TOEFL pBT (Paper-based Test) score of 550 (plus essay TWE of 5) OR  an overall TOEFL iBT (Internet-based Test ) score of 60 (plus writing score of 20);
  4. Level B2 under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR);
  5. First Certificate in English (FCE) with a pass at grade B OR Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) with a score of 52 or higher under the Cambridge International standard tests of English as a foreign language;
  6. Pearson Test of English (PToE) (Academic) with a score of 50;
  7. City & Guilds Internal English for Speakers of Other Languages (IESOL) B2 Communicator with a score of 66.

Existing English Language Proficiency
Applicants may also provide evidence of satisfying one of the criteria for existing English proficiency as specified by the NZQA. For more information please visit the NZQA website.

Programme Specific Admission Requirements

To be admitted to this programme, applicants must also meet the requirements set out in this schedule.

  1. Interviews, submissions and/or auditions will be required for all applicants. The interview/audition stage shall consist of a combination of demonstrations and exercises requiring the applicant to demonstrate his or her ability to carry out specific tasks individually and as part of a group. The exact nature of the tasks involved will be related to the major of the degree into which the student is seeking entry, and will be notified to applicants at least 14 working days prior to the interview/audition.
  2. A completed medical declaration must be submitted for all applicants. A student cannot be admitted to the Degree if they have a medical condition that will impact on their ability to participate in the physical and practical aspects of the selected major.

Discretionary Admission

Applicants may be granted Discretionary Admission if for they have, for example:

  • a history of experience and/or employment in a field related to performing or screen arts; OR
  • evidence of ability in a related programme of study.


The interview/audition stage will consist of a combination of demonstrations and exercises requiring the applicant to demonstrate their ability to carry out specific tasks individually and as part of a group. The exact nature of the tasks involved will be related to the major of the degree into which the applicant is seeking entry, and will be notified to applicants at least 14 working days prior to the interview/audition.

Courses and timetables

The following courses are valid for 2014. The courses may be offered as part of the programme. Click on the course links below to see the course details and timetables.