Scenic Artist

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Scenic artists paint backdrops, murals and prop pieces for theatre, TV and film productions. They take the designs and ideas provided by a production or set designer and create the set pieces, which could be anything from a cityscape to a wall decorated in period style.

The Work

You could be:


The figures below are only a guide. Actual salaries may vary, depending on:

Salaries for scenic artists may start at around £17,000 a year and with 1-2 years’ experience this can rise to around £21,000 a year. With more experience, the salary can be higher. However, many scenic artists work freelance and charge an hourly or daily fee. This can depend on the type of work and their reputation.

The Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) website publishes the latest rates from the Advertising Producer's Association (APA) Recommended Crew Rates (July 2018).


Workforce Employment Status

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Getting In

Applications for the RCS go through UCAS Conservatoires.

All applications to Art Schools (Duncan of Jordanstone at Dundee University, Edinburgh College of Art at Edinburgh University, Glasgow School of Art, Gray's School of Art at Robert Gordon's and Moray School of Art at UHI) are through UCAS, with some courses having a closing date of 15th January and others having the closing date of 24th March.

You can look for work with theatres and film or TV production companies, including those that produce TV commercials. Most film studios are based in London and south-east England, but there are theatres and TV companies based around the UK.

What Does it Take?

You need to have:

You need to be:


Getting On

More Information

There are a number of websites advertising jobs in the theatre, film and TV industries, such as The Stage and Mandy.

Young Scot and Creative Scotland operate the 'Nurturing Talent - Time to Shine Fund', which aims to support young people aged 11-25 and interested in developing creative or artistic skills. Both individuals and groups can apply for funding up to £1,000. For more information see the Young Scot website.

For more information on creative careers see here



The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT)
Tel: 020 7242 9200
Twitter: @theabtt

BECTU Scotland (Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union)
Twitter: @bectu

Creative and Cultural Skills
Tel: 020 7015 1800
Twitter: @CCskills

Creative and Cultural Skills is the Sector Skills Council for advertising, crafts, cultural heritage, design, music, performing, literary and visual arts.

Discover Creative Careers Finder
Twitter: @CreativeCareer5

Tel: 020 7713 9800
Twitter: @UKScreenSkills

ScreenSkills (formerly Creative Skillset) works with the UK’s screen-based creative media industries to develop skills and talent from classroom to boardroom.

Stage Management Association (SMA)
Tel: 020 7403 7999
Twitter: @SMAssoc

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