The White Swan Building is our creative hub for drama, theatre and performance, developed in partnership with the New Theatre Royal, a beautiful Victorian theatre in the heart of Portsmouth. Students are able to study, work, perform and create original projects in our thriving theatre and rehearsals spaces right in the centre of the city.
Across our 3 floors, we have all of the rooms and equipment for students to learn, train and master all stages of the performance process. This ranges from building props and set pieces, to stage design, singing and musical practice to performance in front of a live audience, running everything backstage from our control room and even performing on tour.
Explore some of the standout facilities and spaces available in the White Swan Building.
Facilities in the White Swan Building
Our studio theatre is a space for our drama, performance, and musical theatre students to practise and perform in front of a live audience.
The studio features retractable raked seating for up to 92 people, as well as a technical gallery and fully equipped Studio Control Room, so our students can gain valuable experience of working and performing in a professional theatre environment.
Our Studio Theatre can also be adapted for a wide range of performances and is available to host events, guest speakers, and lectures.
Equipment and rooms
Our theatre features:
- Stage Manager's desk and building relay — set up aside the stage like any professional setup
- Professional lighting setup of 50 lights — including moving heads, colour, and a follow spot, which can be programmed and managed on an iPad from anywhere around the studio
- Motorised lighting bars with adjustable heights — so crew can maintain, change and adjust stage lighting without having to head up into the rafters
- Haze machine — to enhance the mood of scenes and presence of performers when needed
- Professional wired and wireless microphone kits — to suit performances of any kind
- Staging rostra and scenery kits — a portable, deconstructable stage that can be set up for multiple levels and purposes
- Kawai piano — to accompany performances and musical theatres pieces with in-house music
- 3 Kurzweil PC3K8 keyboards — more portable setups, for use in the theatre and on location
- Projection screen with Blu-ray player — to offer visual support for performances
- Pop-up sound booth — used to set up voice recording in any location and record crisp clear sound
- Portable lighting and sound equipment for outdoors or on location performances
- Portable PA system — with practical and user friendly set up for anyone to use
- Speaker system — for audio support during performances
Students will need to complete a Health and Safety Induction (completed during their Induction Week) before they can use our studio theatre.
Connected to the studio theatre, our studio control room is where students can learn and gain experience of backstage work, in areas such as audio, lighting, and sound support.
The studio control room sits a floor above the studio theatre and offers a clear overview of all elements during performances. Students use industry-standard equipment in both practice settings and during live performances, preparing them for working in the theatre industry to briefs of all kinds.
Equipment and rooms
The studio control room is well equipped, with:
- Zero88 Solution lighting desk — used to manage all aspects of stage and performance lighting
- Allen & Heath GL2800 sound desk with monitors and relay — with 24 channels for any performance requirement
- Capture, Resolume, and QLab2 software — multimedia playback software that can run sound, audio, lighting, and more based on cues and timings
- additional rigging equipment — for any extra lighting and rigging needs in the Studio Theatre
- a variety of technical and colour gels — used to change the colour output and tint of lighting
- programmable lighting desk with touch screen — to easily operate and change lighting as needed during performances
- temperature control — to keep crew comfortable during performances
- access to technical gallery — so crew can provide additional support to performers from the rafters
Students will need to complete a Health and Safety Induction before they can use our studio control room, which they will complete during their Induction Week.
Our five drama studios are key teaching and practice spaces for our drama, performance, and theatre students. Most rooms are approximately 10 x 8 metres, and offer plenty of space for activities such as artmaking, rehearsals, and teaching practical classes.
Equipment and rooms
Our three spaces on the third floor have double-height ceilings to bolster the acoustic elements of rehearsals and performances.
Two of the studios also have mirrored walls, allowing students to practice their form and presence for dance or physical theatre performances. All three of these studio spaces are partitioned, and can be opened up to create a larger two- or three-studio space.
Our two studio spaces on the second floor also feature mirrored walls.
All our studios contain:
- semi-sprung flooring — for absorbing the shock from students practising and reducing the chances of injuries
- sound system with rigged speakers — to accompany performances and set the mood for lessons
- CD mixer — so students and teachers can play any CDs or mixes they have prepared
- lighting rig with dimmers and a lighting desk — to help with setting mood and tone during lessons and rehearsals
- front and rear projector with laptop and Blu-ray player — for lesson content and using accompanying visuals for practice
- piano set up — to mirror the live music or musical theatre available in our drama studio theatre
- tables and chairs — for lessons or use as props in rehearsals
- blackout curtains — to control natural light coming into the space
- cajón — a small percussion instrument to provide a beat during warmups, rehearsals, or lessons
Students will need to complete a Health and Safety Induction before they can use our drama studio spaces, which they'll complete during their Induction Week.
You can book these spaces 9.00am–8.00pm Monday to Thursday and until 6.00pm on Fridays. Contact the technical support team if you're interesed in booking with us.
We have three specialist music rooms, spread across our floors at the White Swan Building, where singers and musicians can practise solo or together in small groups.
Our music practice rooms offer students somewhere they can develop their skills, experiment with new sounds, and prepare for their next performance or assessment in a private setting.
Equipment and rooms
- 1x Kawai or Yamaha piano in each room — free for students to practice with
- Music stands — for setting up sheet music
- Acoustic sound panelling — fitted in each room so musicians have a cleaner, crisper sounding space
- Power sockets — so musicians can freely bring their electric instruments and support equipment such as distortion panels and rackmounts
Booking a room
Our three music practices rooms are open 8.00am–8.00pm Monday to Thursday and 8.00am–6.00pm on Fridays, and are bookable through our music department. Students from all schools and faculties can use our music practice rooms as long as there is a free time slot in our booking sheet.
Students can register with us for a £10 fee, which covers them for the entire academic year and allows them to book for up to an hour a day through our booking sheet.
For more information on the registration process and how to book one of our rooms, please contact us at email@example.com.
Our stage production facilities are where students create, prepare, and store the props, scenery and set pieces used for live performances.
Our Making Space is a three-bench workshop where students design, shape and finish everything from puppets to set pieces, under the supervision of our dedicated design technician. Students can also design reusable sets, props, and set components that can be used long after their specific project or coursework.
We also have several store rooms where we keep our collection of theatre props, stage costumes, flats and scenery, fabrics, gauzes, and cycloramas that can be borrowed by students taking creative subjects, on request.
Students have access to soft materials and woods – such as MDF and balsa wood – for their designs. They can also illustrate their works with acrylic and oil-based paints and markers.
Students have access to small hand and power tools such as saws and drills, as well as fixed tools including two stationary drills and a drop saw.
Students will need to complete a Health and Safety Induction before they can use our Making Space, which they'll complete during their Induction Week. They'll also need to complete some additional training with our technicians as part of their coursework, and some equipment can only be used after you've met these requirements.
Props and costumes storage
We have two storage spaces across the building for costumes and props that students can use for their coursework, or if they take their performances on tour to places such as local schools.
We have a dedicated production budget each year for props, costumes and scenery, so students will always have a steady stream of new tools to help them develop their works and performances.
We also have Weapons and Firearms Awareness Group (WAFAG) certification, which lets us have some prop weapons available to use for student performances, when relevant.
Our purpose-built TV studio and gallery is fully equipped to produce a range of different shows. The equipment emulates industry to give students familiarity with the equipment and practices used in professional settings.
The studio has no ambient light, allowing greater freedom and creativity for lighting and visual setups.
- 4x cameras with CCUs run on fibre connections
- Ross Carbonite vision mixer
- Ross play-in server with record facility
- Digital audio mixer
- Microphones and foldback monitors for recording live music
- Lighting desk with advanced features
- Lighting grid with modern pantograph system
- Lighting includes moving lights, and RGB