What is this subject about?

The BTEC National Foundation Diploma in Performing Arts Practice is a nationally recognised vocational qualification, equivalent to 1.5 A levels. ​ This course develops knowledge of performance styles, eg physical theatre, musical theatre, movement and scripted performance. You will learn to demonstrate a range of performance skills and techniques and creative and technical skills when creating performance material. You will work on various performance pieces including audition pieces, researching job roles within the industry and completing work experience placements. 

What will I study over the two years?

There are two modules assessed through four assessment units, with each assessment unit attracting a grade:

Exploring Performance Styles Unit A1 will allow you to explore different genres and types of performance across history, with a big focus on musical theatre. As part of this you will look at different practitioners.

Creating Performance Material Unit A2 and Unit A3 will enable you to build your physical techniques and vocal skills through a series of workshops and projects, as well as work on creating performance pieces and then performing them. You will learn how to work as a team, generate ideas, revise those ideas and respond to constructive criticism. You will also have to think carefully about the context in which your pieces will be performed, as part of the planning and evaluation process.

Unit F16 prepares you for employment/UCAS applications/ apprenticeships/jobs/auditions. It requires you to develop your knowledge and understanding of the performing arts industry, including roles, organisations, future developments and capitalising on job opportunities. It will help you to manage being self employed.

The Foundation Diploma course develops independent learners and excellent team workers which is what the industry requires.

How is the course assessed?

Assessment is through coursework in accordance with national grading criteria and is assessed by course tutors. You will complete written assignments, presentations, interviews and a practical skill /performance portfolio with work filmed at regular intervals.  

What skills will I need and develop on this course?

You will need some skills in at least two of the three art forms: dance, drama and singing.


What can the course lead to in terms of higher education and future careers?

Typical future careers might be West End star, performer, critic, art administrator, arts funder or performing arts teacher. Many students go to stage school or university from this course. Schools where our students have gone include Mountview, Arts Educational, London Studio Centre, Laban, Northern Contemporary Ballet, Rambert, London Contemporary Dance and Bristol Old Vic. Many students have gone to universities such as Chichester, Winchester, Bath Spa, Exeter, Manchester, Sussex and Leeds to study related degrees.


Entry Requirements

What are the formal entry requirements for this course?

Aside from the general criteria that the college requires, you will need to achieve a minimum of:
• Grade 4 in English Language GCSE
• Some experience of two of the art forms whether through GCSE or other lessons/grade exams out of school – by negotiation with the Head of Department.

Extra Support

​What extra support/enrichment activities are on offer?

Professional companies come to college to perform and take workshops with the students e.g. Sleeping Trees from Chichester University, Frantic Assembly, Re-Bourne (Matthew Company). There is an extensive theatre trips programme including shows such as Six, Matilda, Blood Wedding, Everybody's Talking About Jamie, The Jungle, Cirque du Soleil and Mama Mia (an ex-student is in this show).

Subject combination advice

​Subject combination advice:

BTEC Performing Arts works well with a variety of subjects. Some students who study Performing Arts might do English, Fashion, Photography, Art, Media Studies, BTEC Media, Film Studies or History. Other students choose to study Performing Arts as a contrasting subject and might be studying Mathematics, Sciences or Humanities subjects such as Geography.

What is the difference between Drama & Theatre and BTEC Performing Arts?

The BTEC National Foundation Diploma in Performing Arts involves music, dance and acting and is more flexible so you can play to your strengths and can follow a Musical Theatre pathway if needed. BTEC Performing Arts has a strong focus on rehearsal and performance work. It is a vocational course which develops the performer for a career in the industry. The lessons are practically based. In contrast, Drama and Theatre has a stronger theoretical component and requires the study of specific plays. There is also a heavier written element and the practical work is predominantly based around acting skills. If you are unsure about which course to take, please consult with the appropriate Heads of Department for those courses.​