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Design Challenge


The annual Design Challenge Competition gives students from The National Skills Academy for Creative & Cultural Colleges the opportunity to test and develop their marketing, production and design skills, based around an opera or ballet production.

The competition is only open to members of the National Skills Academy for Creative & Cultural Colleges. Membership must be active for the duration of the project.

The prize

Each college that enters Design Challenge has the opportunity to attend a live screening of the production at their local cinema.

The winners will get the chance to attend a special day at the Royal Opera House, including a backstage tour, a visit to a specific ROH department, and a Schools' Matinee performance.

In addition to the category winners, there is also a Director’s Choice award which is awarded for an entry which fulfils and realizes their chosen Director’s Vision in an exceptional way.


The challenges

We are looking for entries in the following four categories:

1. Set design
2. Costume design
3. Marketing strategy and design
4. Hair, wigs, and make-up design

Director’s Visions

The Director’s Visions are a key element of Design Challenge and demonstrate the intrinsic relationship between a designer and a director. Students choose one of the five visions from the director which will help to focus and inform their design process.

Read the 2015/16 Director’s Visions here.

Judging process

Colleges will undertake their own shortlisting process, selecting finalists for each category.

Visit our judging page to watch a short video filled with advice from past judges.

Terms and conditions

Please read our terms and conditions for further information.

Design Challenge receives generous philanthropic support from The Wilhelm Helmut Trust, Richard and Polly Hill, and the Paul Hamlyn Education Fund.