Theatre Arts Alumna designs costumes for Netflix and Opera houses!

Mon 9 Sep 2019 < Back to listing


Meet Alexa, Art & Design Foundation Alumna, who has gone on to design and make costumes for Netflix series, various feature length films and opera houses. We recently caught up with Alexa and asked her to share her learning journey at CSVPA...

Why did you choose to study our Art & Design Foundation course?

After doing research into various colleges and universities that offer the same course, I felt like CSVPA was the best and offered modules that were specific to the career I wanted to go into. When I went for my interview, Renata (who interviewed me), was very kind and instantly inspiring. I could tell that CSVPA really values their students and the learning environment is very professional.

Why did you choose to specialise in theatre arts?

I chose to specialise in theatre arts on my Foundation Diploma because it would help me have a head start before starting university. For example, I decided what aspect of theatre arts I wanted to go into such as, makeup, costume or stage design. Specialising at a Foundation level enabled me to understand and expand my knowledge and skills in the design process for costume and stage which really helped when I started my first year in university. The knowledge I gained at CSVPA was invaluable and pushed me forward as a designer.

Was there anything you were nervous about before starting the course?

Because I was a mature student I was nervous that I would struggle with getting back into school and structured learning. I was also nervous about writing essays, which was something I hadn’t done in over 8 years! 

However, the course is structured in a way that helps you manage your time and understand how the marking system works. Whenever I had a question, all I had to do was ask. There was also a specific weekly class that teaches you the principles of essay writing. I also had an assigned tutor ready to help me whenever I needed help. The support was really inspiring and useful. Now I love writing! 

Would you recommend the course?

I would absolutely recommend the course. It really pushes you to realise your full potential and think outside the box. Also, learning alongside students from all around the world helps to broaden your mind and perceptions enabling you to produce more interesting work.

I also felt extremely supported by all my teachers throughout the course. I received so much help when I needed on all aspects of learning and personal issues. 

The course helped me to get into university by giving me a jumpstart in the design process, an amazing portfolio and an understanding of essay structure and writing at a university level. 

What skills did you learn on the course?

The most valuable thing I learnt on the course was how to design. The course really teaches you different approaches to design and how to research effectively. When you think you have finished a design, you were told to work on it more, research more, and critically analyse your work verbally and visually. I still use these design techniques to this day and I genuinely feel it has made me a better designer. 

Did you enjoy studying in Cambridge?

Cambridge is such a cool city to study in because there is so much inspiration everywhere. There are a lot of cool arts and cultural things happening around the city including theatre, music concerts and some great bars and restaurants to go to after class with your friends! There are also lots of free museums you can go to for inspiration and to conduct research. 

How did the course inspire you or motivate you?

The course inspired me by unlocking a previously unknown love of research and design. I have always been a creative, open minded person, but studying at CSVPA really unlocked a whole new level of consciousness and a need to research and expand my knowledge on a global level. For me, it unlocked a desire for more detailed analysis of the world around me on both an anthropological and artistic level. The tutors were all inspiring individuals who work in the industry, which was an amazing insight into the creative industries and made me want to be a part of it.

Can you summarise your experience on the course in 3 words?

Challenging, inspiring, invaluable.

If you could give a few words of inspiration to inspire future students, what would those words be?

Listen to the teachers; they are very wise and knowledgeable in their specialism. Keep an open mind and try every tip and technique they suggest, you never know what it will unlock in you! 

What does the future look like for you? 

For me the future looks bright! I have worked very hard over the last few years to learn as much as I have worked at the Royal Opera House in London, The Vampires Wife in Brighton, and various other places. Over the summer I lived in Berlin for 2 months as an apprentice at the Berlin Opera Academy, designing and making pieces for their summer opera festival! From that experience I have been offered paid design jobs for other opera houses and performances.

Can you please tell me about your work with Netflix, feature length films as well as costume designing for Opera productions?

I was asked if I wanted to do work experience in a workshop just outside of Brighton that makes costumes for feature films and Netflix series. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity even though I was really nervous I might mess it all up. It turns out, all my hard work, determination and practice really paid off and I was hired as a regular freelance worker! It’s great because it enables me to pretty much choose the jobs I want, work on numerous different projects, and travel around the world doing what I love. Designing for the opera is one of my favourite productions to design for, it’s completely different to a musical, show, or theatre production. You have to understand the music, read the libretto and really understand that the actors are singers and what they can and will wear is limited. Every production is different and it’s so fun!

To see more of Alexa’s fantastic work, check out her website here:


< Back to listing

News archive

Show more >


awarded by

awarded by

in partnership with