This exciting new course, introduced in response to a growing number of students wanting to focus exclusively on Performing Arts during their time at College,  is a stepping stone to performing arts jobs, drama school or university, and is the equivalent to 3 A Levels. 

Working as part of a tight-knit production company, students have the opportunity to develop their skills and techniques in the three areas of Acting, Musical Theatre and Dance. 

Many students will have had limited or no experience in at least one of these areas, but this should not put prospective students off. The nurturing environment in which you’ll become part will allow you to develop the necessary skills you’ll need to be successful.  Far more important is evidence at audition of  potential ability and the desire to learn and develop your skills and passion.

All students are required to audition for the Extended Diploma and so no formal qualifications in Performing Arts are required. 

Each of the three elements of the course are very practical and give students the opportunity to hone their performance skills, while gaining experience in the organisation and development of performance pieces.

Students benefit from being taught by staff who’ve worked professionally in the Performing Arts industry. The friendly, lively nature of the teaching groups contributes to an extremely supportive and dynamic environment.

Take a look at some students’ recent performances (across a mix of Performing Arts Courses) in the Performing Arts Photo Galleries.

The BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Performing Arts (Acting, Musical Theatre and Dance) course focuses on developing practical skills relating to performance and there are many opportunities to take part in a variety of productions. Students will also investigate the structure of performance and the training of performers.

On the Acting course, students will learn about the styles of different practitioners such as Shakespeare, Brecht and Stanislavski and explore the ideas and themes of contemporary theatre, as well as devising and producing original work.

On the Musical Theatre course students explore the disciplines of Voice, Drama and Movement and the links between them. The course requires imagination, sensitivity and the ability to get on well with others. Assignments are based on realistic workplace situations, activities and demands.

The Movement element of the Performing Arts Diploma course appeals to students who are interested in developing their understanding and grasp of choreography as well as working on their own dance skills.

Performing Arts students have the opportunity to take part in a variety of course-related experiences. In the last couple of years, these have included:

  • The chance to participate in Performing Arts trips to New York and Disneyland Paris
  • An industry talk from the Savoy Theatre
  • The opportunity to take part in a huge variety of productions, including Grease, Little Shop of Horrors, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Woyzeck, Sweet Charity, Cabaret, Chicago, Hairspray, Ghost and Sweeney Todd
  • Regular theatre trips including visits to London’s West End and the Globe Theatre, to see for example: The Play that Goes Wrong, The Merchant of Venice, The Phantom of the Opera, The Book of Mormon, Sweeney Todd and Gypsy
  • The chance to create a professional head shot portfolio
  • One-to-one audition preparation classes with a professional Director
  • A Q&A session with West End Musical practitioners
  • A trip to London Olympia Perform Live – a specialist trade show for anyone considering a future in Acting, Singing, Performing Arts, Stage Management and Technical Theatre
  • Regular workshops with outside organisations such as GSA (Guildford School of Acting) and PPA (Performance Preparation Academy)

In addition to course specific experiences, students also have the opportunity to get involved in the College’s Activities Programme.

All students need to gain an experience of the work place during their time at College and for students studying vocational courses it should ideally be linked to one of their subject areas.

Each term students will work towards a production that will involve one or more of the three disciplines (Acting, Musical Theatre and Dance). Students should be aware that there is a written external assessment as well as a practical one.

The exam board for these BTECs is Pearson BTEC.

All students need to have at least five GCSEs at Grade 4 or above (and a satisfactory school reference) in order to be accepted on an A Level/BTEC Level 3 Programme.

In addition, students should meet the following minimum GCSE requirement:

  • Grade 4 in English Language or English Literature

A Merit or above in BTEC Level 2 Performing Arts will also be considered.

All students will be required to audition in multiple disciplines to gain a place on the Extended Diploma course.

A typical Performing Arts student is lively, ambitious, hardworking and expressive. It is vital that they should be willing to perform in public, plan their own learning and work with others. They also need to be computer literate.

What skills do you need for the Performing Arts course?

  • Performance Skills (Acting, Dancing, Singing)
  • Confidence
  • Self-Publicity skills
  • Resilience and ability to withstand criticism
  • Self-Reflection
  • Positive response to direction
  • Flexibility
  • Stamina

What are the differences between the Acting and Musical Theatre courses?

The Acting course focuses on acting techniques, including scripted work, devising and improvisation. There is no singing or dancing on the Acting course, however we will explore vocal work and movement in relation to contemporary demands on the actor.  Areas we focus on include: Shakespeare, Brecht, Stanislavski and Community Theatre.

Musical Theatre is the study of Broadway and West End shows and the practitioners studied range from Andrew Lloyd Webber to Sondheim and Bernstein.  There are elements of vocal chorus technique and ensemble dance.  In recent years we have explored and performed extracts of Heathers, We Will Rock You and Sweeney Todd.

What type of student should choose the Extended Diploma in Performing Arts (3 A Level equivalent) or Diploma in Performing Arts (2 A Level equivalent) courses?

Students who chose to spend the majority, or all, of their time in the Performing Arts department will probably have their minds set on continuing with Performing Arts at university or drama school and or pursuing a career in this sector. 

To do either the Diploma or Extended Diploma, students will need to be interested in all three aspects of performance: Acting, Singing and Dancing.  Naturally all students will have strengths and weaknesses in different areas, but they must be willing to engage in all aspects of the course. 

The ability to work well as part of a group is absolutely vital.

What kind of courses do students go on to study?

Our students go on to a huge variety of performance courses after they finish College.  The department has an excellent reputation with Higher Education establishments.  Recent destinations have included the Guildford School of Acting, Barcelona Institute of the Arts, Italia Conti and PPA, and prestigious universities such as Exeter, Chichester and Bournemouth.

What is the average class size?

The normal class size is 16 students.  Our courses are hugely popular, but we recognise the need to keep class sizes to a reasonable level, in order for individuals to reach their maximum potential.

Do I have to audition?

If you apply for either the Diploma (2 A Level equivalent) or Extended Diploma (3 A Level equivalent) in Performing Arts courses, you’ll be invited to a group audition workshop and asked to learn some lines in preparation.

Students applying for one of the Extended Certificate courses in Performing Arts (1 A Level equivalent) will not need to audition.

What will the audition involve?

You’ll be invited to an audition workshop lasting approximately 90 minutes.  During this time, you’ll explore and perform small extracts of repertoire which explore all three disciplines of acting, movement and vocal work.  You’ll also use the lines you’ve been sent to learn in short improvisation exercises.

What kit should I wear for the audition? You should wear some loose-fitting clothes that allow you to run/turn, in addition to appropriate footwear such as trainers.

How to Apply

Applications for entry September 2024

Please apply (from 19 September 2023) via the link on this page:

Please see the Admissions timetable for information about the College’s enrolment process.

Back to top