Create your own future in a collaborative culture of live performance

Be career-ready for your backstage future with the Diploma of Live Production and Technical Services at TAFE SA’s Adelaide College of the Arts.

A successful career in the entertainment industry isn’t just about being in the spotlight. For every production in film, theatre, and television there is a team of creatives and technical specialists behind-the-scenes who make it happen.

At TAFE SA’s Adelaide College of the Arts (AC Arts) you will learn these essential skills from experienced industry professionals, and get practical experience using state-of-the-art equipment and facilities as you study the Diploma of Live Production and Technical Services.

‘The most distinctive feature of the course is how it simulates industry conditions where students learn on live productions working alongside top industry directors and choreographers,’ said Technical Production Lecturer Casey Van Sebille.

Diploma students gain hands-on experience facilitating productions for the dance and acting departments at AC Arts, the leading hub of tertiary arts education in Adelaide.

‘There are multiple opportunities for our students to be set, costume and props designers on shows or to take on lead roles as stage manager or assistant stage manager, construction team leaders, scenic art leads, and props master. And in technical theatre they can design and operate all aspects of lighting, sound, vision and staging on our productions,’ Van Sebille said.

Mastering these valuable skills in live production prepares the students for careers in the entertainment industries. Individual students are always encouraged to pursue their own creative passions and build on their existing skills and interests.  

‘If you want to work behind-the-scenes in the exciting and creative world of theatre, film or TV, this course can help you realise your career goals. Behind every show there is a team of people who are building sets, making props, designing lighting, creating costumes, running audio, switching vision, calling cues, and managing the stage,’ said Van Sebille.

Graduates of the Diploma of Live Production and Technical Services are recognised by the industry as having a sound theoretical knowledge base alongside the specialised creative, technical, or managerial competencies needed to plan and produce shows, events, and exhibitions. 

Core topics in the Diploma include the skills required to bump-in and bump-out a show, leading and managing teams, and understanding all the relevant safety and compliance issues. A wide range of elective topics are offered including costume and set design; sound design and planning; specialist lighting; sound mixing, and stage management. And students don’t just learn the theory in classrooms – this is hands-on training that simulates the real-world professional environment.

‘The course differs from others in being delivered in the rich collaborative culture of live performance. Weekly production meetings mean participants from all disciplines discuss the development of shows. Students work in vertically integrated teams on professional standard shows,’ explained Van Sebille.

‘Live production training requires an understanding of where individual specialisations fit into the bigger picture. Students learn the mutual interdependence of all participants and disciplines. The courses are hands-on and full on!’

‘People who can think on their feet are really going to find a home in this industry.’
Technical Production Lecturer Casey Van Sebille.

Diploma graduates can be found working across a range of creative and entertainment industries. Van Sebille is proud to acknowledge that nearly all live performance events and major performing arts companies in Adelaide employ graduates of the course. Many have established highly successful careers and are working on major projects, such as props master Marshall Tearl who has worked on films including Mortal Kombat and Hotel Mumbai. Set designer Kate Rawlins is another Diploma graduate who has found her home working on big-budget films such as Peter Rabbit 2. She is currently working on Marvel’s Thor: Love and Thunder, currently in production in Sydney, alongside a number of other Diploma graduates.

The career success of AC Arts students is verified by the 2019 NCVER National Student Outcomes Survey which showed that 88% of TAFESA students found employment or enrolled in further study when they graduated.

The 12-month Diploma can be studied in full or part-time modes, to fit in with students’ personal and professional lives, and fees may be eligible for subsidies through JobTrainer funding or the Government of South Australia’s Subsidised Training initiative.

Van Sebille is optimistic about future opportunities for Diploma graduates: ‘I think we’ll see a proliferation of specialisations. People who can think on their feet are really going to find a home in this industry.’

Applications are now open via the TAFE SA website for the Semester 2 intake; there is no fee to apply. 

‘Applicants for the Diploma generally should have had previous backstage working experience or hold  a Certificate III and or IV in Live Production and Technical Services to gain admission,’ said Van Sebille.

Apply before 3 July to start your Diploma in Live Production and Technical Services in late July.

Dr Diana Carroll
About the Author
Dr Diana Carroll is a writer, speaker, and reviewer based in Adelaide. Her work has been published in newspapers and magazines including the SMH, the Oz, Woman's Day, and B&T. Writing about the arts is one of her great passions.