The College has a thriving and dynamic Performing Arts Centre and students are now able to select from five BTEC Level 3 courses in Performing Arts. Of these, one is a Diploma course (the equivalent to two A Levels):

  • Performing Arts (Acting, Musical Theatre and Movement)

This course gives students the opportunity to hone their performance skills in the three performance areas, of Acting, Musical Theatre and Movement. Students will also find they’ll play a crucial role in the organisation and development of performance pieces.

The Performing Arts Department is a close-knit, friendly and extremely supportive one, with all staff having worked professionally in the Performing Arts industry. Because of the collaborative nature of the group work, many students find they make life-long friends through their Performing Arts courses.

The courses are practical, involving performance and coursework, with many opportunities to take part in plays and productions. Students will develop knowledge of the styles of practitioners and explore the ideas and themes of contemporary theatre, as well as devising and producing original work.

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

If students are interested in focusing on Performing Arts during their time at College, then the Diploma course (which is the equivalent to two A Levels) may well be for them. Students can combine this course with a variety of other subjects such as A Levels in English Literature, English Language, Sociology, Psychology or Politics.

Should they want to, students can focus exclusively on Performing Arts, with the Extended Diploma in Performing Arts (Acting, Movement and Musical Theatre) which is the equivalent of three A Levels.

BTEC qualifications are valued by both Higher Education institutions and by employers. Students could consider Higher Education and careers in the following areas:

  • A Performing Arts degree
  • Performance design and management
  • Careers in Acting, Entertainment and performance industries
  • Performance support, Arts Administration, workshop leadership and support

Depending on other Advanced level courses, students could also consider working in Drama Therapy, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Teaching, Journalism, Advertising, Marketing or Travel and Tourism.

The courses are practical, involving critical analysis, performance, and coursework. There are many opportunities to take part in a broad range of plays, musicals and other productions. Students will develop knowledge of the styles of practitioners and explore the ideas and themes of contemporary theatre, musicals and dance shows, as well as devising and producing original work.

Course Specific Trips, Visits & Experiences

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:

  • A variety of College productions, including Sweeney Todd.
  • Regular theatre trips – recent trips have included: Phantom of the Opera, Book of Mormon, Sweeney Todd and Gypsy

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.

During each term of the course, students will work towards a production that will involve a performance made up of a combination of disciplines. Students will investigate the structure of performance and the training of performers. There will be a practical and written external assessment. 

The exam board for this BTEC 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. Students without a GCSE in Drama will be expected to demonstrate some previous experience in Performing Arts. 

A typical Performing Arts student is lively, ambitious, hardworking and expressive. It is vital that they should be willing to perform in public, work with others, solve problems, plan their own learning, and communicate effectively through speaking. Students should also be able to use information technology for research and for completing coursework.

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 that includes 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 been 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?

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 2022

Please apply (from 28 September 2021) via the link on this page:

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

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