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Performing Arts (Extended Diploma)

If you have a passion for performing and/or theatre, this study programme will give you every chance to acquire new skills and explore your full potential.

This exciting and challenging qualification will give you an insight into the professional world of theatre and performance. Working as part of a company, you will be involved in all aspects of production (costume, props and marketing) and performance of full-scale productions for live audiences in professional surroundings at Petroc’s own fully-equipped theatres and at professional venues in the area.

Theoretical studies underpin technical training across the core disciplines of acting, singing and dancing. Beyond this, you will learn about the wider aspects of the performing arts and dance industry, which opens up the opportunity to work across a broad spectrum of jobs or work as an independent practitioner.

The programme will prepare an actor for professional training as a performer, as well as providing the knowledge and understanding required to pursue alternative career pathways.

You will study the wider areas of the performing arts, providing a comprehensive understanding of the sector. This will include:
– The performing arts business
– Historical context
– Acting styles and practitioners
– Musical theatre
– Performing arts in the community

These topics are taught within seven mandatory units and six optional units, which are assessed by experienced teachers who are professionally trained in their respective specialist areas.

Mandatory units include:
– Developing Skills and Techniques for Live Performance
– Group Performance Workshop
– Final Live Performance to an Audience.

These units develop performance and technical skills and are centred around practical assessment. Investigating Practitioner’s Work, Employment Opportunities in the Performing Arts, Individual Performance Commission, and Performing Arts in the Community are theoretical externally-assessed units that develop a deep understanding of contextual studies.

Optional units focus on the technical development of acting, voice, improvisation, movement, physical theatre, dance and singing.

Apply for this course

Sep 2022 : Brannams : Full-time
Course Code : FTB094 (2022)
Level : Level 3
Duration : 2 Years
Brannams campus Apply

Course details


Assessed work will be graded Pass, Merit, or Distinction (the A-level equivalents are E for Pass, C for Merit and A for Distinction). These are then condensed down to the three grades you will receive at the end of the course. Each of the three grades is equivalent to an A-level and accepted as such by universities and the industry.

The course is mainly assessed through coursework: rehearsal, performances, research, portfolio, presentation discussion and evaluation.

Practical work is assessed in public and studio performances. All assessed work is scheduled to strict deadlines over the course of the programme. Failure to submit work on time can affect the overall grade awarded. All assessments are marked by two lecturers and a sample is verified by an Edexcel examiner. This ensures that all marking is fair and matches Edexcel national standards. There are three externally assessed units, one of which consists of a timed written exam.

Entry Requirements

To be accepted onto a Level 3 programme, you must hold at least five GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including GCSE Maths and English language.

Evidence of previous experience in performing arts or strong level of ability in your chosen discipline. You will be asked to prepare an audition piece as part of your interview.


The course is designed to prepare you for professional training and higher education within the wider performing arts sector. We have an outstanding record of progression with our students winning places to study acting, dance, musical theatre and production at high profile establishments like E15, Central School of Speech and Drama, Arts Ed, Lamda, Laine, LIPA, Rose Bruford, Bird, Urdang, LIPA, Laban, London Contemporary Dance School, Northern Contemporary Dance School, Oxford Stage School and Bath Spa University. Some students go straight into the profession, starting exciting careers in a range of jobs relating to the performing arts.

Facilities and resources

The college has a well-equipped theatre, a large dance studio with a sprung floor, mirrors and a ballet bar, and several further rehearsal rooms.


Q: Will I perform whist on the course?

A: Yes. At Petroc, we believe the core to vocational training in this area is to be able to use and learn from your work as you progress.

Q: What sort of performances will I be involved in?

A: We cover many different performance styles from straight plays to dance pieces, and from small scale cabaret to full-scale musicals, usually performed in a professional theatre.

Study Programme

Every full-time student at Petroc will have their own Study Programme which will include:

– Your academic or vocational qualification.

– Maths and English Language development – if you have not achieved GCSE grade 4 in either of these subjects.

– Work Experience – hours will vary depending on your qualification and course level.

– Tutor Support – to support your personal, academic and professional development.

– Sustainability – helping you to identify how you can improve the sustainability of your future employment sectors.

– Personal Development Awards – developing six key areas of personal and employability behaviours to prepare you for the working world.

Apply for this course

Staring Date : 12/09/2022
Course Code : FTB094 (2022) Brannams campus Apply

Why Petroc should be your first choice

Petroc offers high quality education and training across North and Mid Devon. We provide outstanding learning, excellent facilities, strong connections to employers and a supportive environment to help you fulfil your education goals and set you on your path to the career of your dreams.

Photo by Guy Harrop. Pic of Petroc college students, Devon

image copyright guy harrop
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We offer a supportive and inclusive environment where you can flourish and feel a valued member of the college and wider community. 


Our teaching spaces and facilities are some of the best in the region, providing stimulating and true-to-life learning environments. 


We’ll provide you with the experiences you need to be ready for employment or the next step on your educational journey.

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