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Guiding and supporting the theatre makers of the future

I look after all the wigs, hair pieces, facials and go round and do the make-up for all the cast on the Michael Grandage Company.” 

Head of hair & make-up


On larger productions these related jobs may be separated, but usually the two roles are combined. Working initially with the designer, the Hair and Make-Up Departments are responsible for the design, application and care of hair/wigs and make-up during a production. 

Key Skills

  • Hair/wig dressing.
  • Specific make-up skills, including period and ageing.
  • Specialist areas, including wig making, body painting, prosthetics, making contact lenses and teeth.
  • Good communication and diplomacy skills.
  • Knowledge of relevant Health and Safety guidelines, including good working practices and hygiene.


  • BA (Hons) Fashion: Hair & Make-Up for Fashion- London College of Fashion Click Here
  • BA (Hons) Make-Up and Hair Design – Southampton Solent University Click Here
  • BA (Hons) Specialist Hair and Media Make-Up – University College Birmingham Click Here
  • Make-Up Design and Hairstyling – BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma – West Thames College Click Here
  • See also: The Wig Accadamy  & Uk Wig School

Other courses are available. Those above represent a sample from various drama schools and universities.


  • Ensuring that actors’ hair and make-up fits within the overall production design, with particular attention to historical detail on period dramas.
  • Supervising adjustments and repairs to wigs, maintaining them during long runs, making sure wigs are collected at the end of each performance and prepared for the following one.


To become a hair and/or make-up artist it’s important to do a good foundation course – completing an NVQ in hairdressing is also advisable. It’s vital to gain practical on-the-job experience, starting with work placements at local theatres. Many Heads of Wigs start as Wig Assistants, gaining invaluable experience in hair, wigs, make-up and special effects by working closely with senior colleagues.