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Performing Arts (Creative Theatre Practice)

Course Code: DRA2
  • Level: 3
  • Qualification: Diploma
  • Duration: One - two years
  • Course type: Full-time
  • Time of day: Daytime

What's it all about?

Have you got what it takes to be a successful theatre actor, producer or performer? This advanced, practical Extended Diploma in Performing Arts (Creative Theatre Practice) is designed and taught by theatre professionals with extensive experience of theatre making and performance. You will have the opportunity to develop your practice as an individual and as a member of a performance ensemble. You will be involved right from the start in an in-depth study of the performing arts, in which the practical side is strongly linked to the theory. The units that you study on the programme all lead to performance – some of these will be large scale public performances. There is an option to complete the course after one year, achieving a subsidiary diploma, or complete two years which will lead to the extended diploma, equivalent to three A Levels. This will give you the option to apply to a range of universities or performance schools to study at degree level.

Course information

You will study the following units:

  • Singing Skills for Actors and Dancers – actors and dancers are often required to sing as part of their performance work and the development of good vocal technique is, therefore, vital to avoid problems with the voice. This unit encourages the development and maintenance of the voice through regular and sustained practice. The development of confidence is vital. you will share your work with your peers in workshop performances of solo and ensemble pieces, which will take place on a regular basis.
  • Developing Voice For The Actor – one of the prime tools at the actor’s disposal is the voice. This unit introduces you to the physiological principles of voice production. While the muscles and organs that produce the voice are the focus of the actor’s training regime, the voice cannot be divorced from the entire body. The competent actor is a healthy actor.
  • Drama Improvisation – being able to improvise is enormously helpful for anyone wanting to be a performer and it is an essential skill for any actor. Not all actors like having to improvise scenes and ideas in their work, but those who can, with speed, wit and ingenuity, find it a hugely important tool in their box of skills. Improvisation is the starting point for devised theatre since it allows writers and directors to use actors’ skills to create and develop themes and ideas for plays. This unit will allow you to fully explore how improvisation can work for an actor.
  • Devising Plays – the process of devising plays requires a demanding and subtle set of skills. The playwright often experiences a lonely and fraught period while the content of the play slowly reveals itself on the pages of a script. This unit requires you to engage with the devising process in a group context. The process of creating the play will become the responsibility of the group who will need to share the necessary tasks that will result in a unique and original performance piece.
  • Developing Movement Skills – movement is an intrinsic element of everyday life. From pedestrian movement to the complex physical skills of a premier league football player, it is one thing that connects us all. From the smallest facial expression to the most physically demanding classical ballet, movement plays a vital role on both stage and screen. This unit introduces the you to the main principles of movement. It provides a solid foundation on which to build performance skills. It is about the skills required to use the body as an expressive instrument
  • Principles of Acting – acting is a mixture of techniques and art. The actor needs to connect mastery of their technique with an imaginative and creative approach to their work. Understanding the essential principles of acting is the springboard from which successful performances are launched. In this unit you will also discover how to interpret and realise text and how to communicate this text effectively to an audience.
  • Script Writing – this unit will provide valuable opportunities for you to experience some of the pre-production processes that take place in the performing arts industry. You will develop a script for performance, starting from initial concepts and rough drafts, through a process of editing, testing and refining to a final script. You will also explore the different kinds of script used in radio, television, film and stage.
  • The Historical Context of Performance – performance work does not just happen in a vacuum. It all came from somewhere and staging, presentation style and subject are determined and influenced by a range of external or historical factors. This unit is about gaining a working knowledge of the historical, social, political, economic, technical and cultural contexts of the performing arts.
  • Performance Workshop – this unit allows you to explore the process of making performance and to try out performance ideas in a practical workshop situation. It gives you an exciting opportunity to explore and integrate the skills your are developing to create a piece of performance work. You will work on two workshop performances: one devised from scratch, using stimuli which may come from a range of sources, and the other using scriptedor prepared material as the starting point for the development and rehearsal process.

Your individualised study programme will be made up of the following four areas:

  • the qualification you are studying
  • English and maths
  • work experience
  • other activities to develop your personal skills e.g. preparing you for employment, training or higher/further education.

Four to five GCSEs at grades 9-4 (A*-C), including English and maths, although relevant experience will also be considered if you do not have these qualifications. You will also need to complete an audition.

You will be continually assessed throughout each stage of the course. This will include projects, ongoing work, practice routine, tests and evaluation. Functional skills, or GCSE English/maths will also be assessed if appropriate.

On successful completion you may progress to:

  • a foundation or BA (Hons) degree in a performing arts related subject at a range of universities
  • a performance course at drama school
  • employment or freelance work in a wide range of areas.

Please note fees are quoted for one year only.

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Future careers

What you could earn:

Actors, Entertainers and Presenters


Potential salary


Entry level salary


Average salary


Annual openings in Plymouth

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