• TEF Silver

    We have the TEF Silver Award in recognition of our high-quality teaching for higher education

  • 100%

    of our HNC / HND students progressed to employment or further study

    Destination data, academic year 2016/17 (HNC 19+ students)

  • Highly qualified and experienced staff

Start Date: Duration: Level: Study mode: Course location: Course Type:
September 2 Years 4 Full-Time Bede Campus University Level Qualification

What’s it all about?

This practical course will develop your skills and knowledge for acting, performing, and theatre production. This course will develop your skills and knowledge for acting, performing, theatre/event production and theatre in education to support you in pursuing an exciting career in the drama industry. There are lots of opportunities for practical activities and performances.

The purpose of this course is to develop students as professional, self-reflecting individuals able to meet the demands of employers in the Performing Arts and adapt to a constantly changing world. Throughout the programme, your skills will be challenged and furthered through a versatile selection of units that prepare you as a practitioner for the current industry climate.

Although this course is defined as musical theatre, it is so much more than that. It is about strengthening your abilities as an actor, singer and dancer. We understand that not everyone is a “triple threat”, and it is not necessarily our intention to make you one. On our performance course we believe in strengthening these skills, allowing the performer to increase their confidence and open up their employability options. The industry is asking for versatile performers and we want to prepare our students to answer this call; whether that be through one of the prior-defined roles or something else entirely. You’ll learn to push yourself and find talents in areas you never expected.

This HND develops skills and knowledge that are relevant for acting, dancing, musical theatre, theatre/camera/event production, and community projects. Practical experience and performances are core elements of the course. This course is for people who are considering a vocation as a performer/practitioner capable of producing new and exciting work.

A minimum of 32 UCAS points to apply for the course. It is essential you have a level 2 in English and also desirable that you have at least a level 2 qualification maths.


- A BTEC Level 3 qualification in a “Performing Arts” subject or an Access to Higher Education Certificate received from an approved further education institution

- Mature learners may present a more varied profile of achievement that is likely to include extensive work experience (paid and/or unpaid) and/or achievement of a range of professional qualifications in their work sector.


- Related work experience.

All candidates will be interviewed and required to undertake an audition.

Study level Cost Additional fees
19+ please enquire You may choose to purchase books from the recommended reading lists however the College Learning Centre have an excellent range of all books suggested within your units studied. All students will receive printing credits for the academic year. You will be expected to provide your own pens, paper, and folders. Students will be expected to fund field trips and master classes throughout their time on the course, some of these will be mandatory and some optional. The cost of these experiences will vary. Mandatory trip costs will not exceed approximately £200 per year.

A variety of teaching and learning methods will be used that encourage and facilitate learners’ creative and artistic development and particularly those approaches that investigate theory through applied practice. Methods used will encourage both independent and collaborative learning through use of:

Practical workshops/rehearsals, interactive lectures, group seminars, resource-based learning, self-directed study and group work and tutorials.

Furthermore, there will be course related companies and practitioners that you will work alongside. In addition to this, attendance of performances and residences will be used to broaden learners’ concepts and practice.

Assessment is on-going. Verbal and written formative feedback are given at regular intervals. Assessment methods differ depending on the unit however typical assessment methods used may include: practical demonstrations and presentations, research portfolios/reports, performances, events, reflective journals/online blogs, essays and evaluations.

Individual or group projects for each unit will always culminate in public performance (when achievable). During your time studying with us, you will be introduced to numerous industry professionals and given the opportunity to have your work seen across numerous platforms including internal/external venues. You will also produce a personal, online portfolio throughout your time with us to showcase your talents going forward.

What are the key things you'll learn? The units covered include:

Year 1

Performing Arts Industry - This unit develops students’ awareness of key areas of working in performing arts and allows for exploration and research in all matters related to surviving and thriving within the performing arts industry. Employability, self-maintenance, managing finances and the increasing importance of online and offline marketing are all areas that will be covered throughout this unit.

Professional Development - For employment in the performing arts industry to be successful and sustainable, today’s professional is often versatile and enterprising, maintaining a portfolio career in which they are able to fully exploit their complete range of skills. Knowledge of your professional strengths and identity is the first step towards building a strategy that will inform your route towards professionalism. In this unit, you will explore the many potential avenues of employment that relate to your specialism, remain in line with this challenging industry and continually update skills for employability. You will develop an awareness of how to present yourself to the market place and embark on a journey of professional development.

Acting 1 - There is no one defined process which provides a ready manual to be followed to develop a student’s acting skills. The aim of the unit is to introduce students to accepted principles of acting technique. Students will explore and develop technical and interpretive skills required to perform in a range of performance contexts and as such provide a foundation for future development which, as their understanding of the acting process and themselves develops, they can shape to suit their own needs.

Acting for Camera - A significant area of employment for the actor is working on camera in a variety of domains from film and television to online. Actors need to develop appropriate technique in order to perform successfully in front of a camera. While the technique of performing to camera may be rooted in realistic technique for the stage, it poses challenges of its own. This unit will foster technical acumen in meeting the practical and artistic demands of realising performance for the screen. Topics included in this unit are understanding the challenges of working on set, developing suitable acting techniques for camera, rehearsing material and performing in front of camera.

Movement for Actors - The aim of this unit is to provide students with an understanding of the importance of developing an expressive body as an essential component of their performance toolkit. Students will acquire foundation skills in suppleness, strength and agility which will facilitate the development of movement capability and physical presence. Topics included in this unit are identification of strengths and areas for improvement in terms of movement capabilities, exploration of movement methodologies, identifying a programme of exercises to develop somatic skills, and performing movement-based material.

Jazz Dance 1 - In this unit, you will develop technical ability in the studio as a jazz dancer and broaden contextual knowledge of innovators and creators of jazz styles during the development of the genre. You will learn to combine steps, execute the required vocabulary in set and unset combinations, incorporating and demonstrating musicality and artistry which will result in the ability to pick up choreographic combinations.

Singing 1 - This unit is designed to produce independent vocal practitioners who have the knowledge and skills to fulfil their full potential as a singer and the versatility to meet the wide-ranging vocal demands of the musical theatre industry. Students will acquire a detailed physical understanding of the workings of the vocal mechanism and the technique and awareness required to achieve vocal performances of the highest possible standard. By the end of the unit students will learn how to produce a more confident and tonally secure sound by developing their musical ear.

Devising Theatre and Performance - Due to the nature of devising, the most effective way of developing ideas and skills in this area is to fully explore a wide and diverse range of practitioners, productions and companies that have helped to shape this form of theatre. This diversity of these areas of study is essential to fully understand the exploratory nature of devising. By the end of this unit, students will have developed a creative toolbox of methods, ideas, techniques that could all be applied to a devised work. They will also have improved their understanding of the contextual development of devising and its importance in today’s creative arts industry. Students will also have explored contemporary devising processes, including use of movement, text and ensemble, and developed their appreciation of the entire creative process and how it informs and links to the final product.

Year 2

Creative Research Project - This unit will equip students from any area of interest with core research skills. Alongside learning qualitative and quantitative research methods, students will have the opportunity to apply these methods in the completion of a mini dissertation. With a strong emphasis on taking a creative approach to research, the completion of this dissertation will arm students with the necessary tools to not only enter the final year of a university degree, but to embark upon any career path within the performing arts industry.

Working in the Performing Arts Industry - This unit has been designed in order to further explore working in the performing arts industry. It will support students of all disciplines, helping them to apply practical skills to prepare them for future employment as a performing arts professional. In this unit, you will explore the world of marketing, as relevant to the chosen discipline, and will create a marketing strategy along with a relevant and appropriate online presence to present to industry. Additionally, you will explore and analyse health and wellbeing awareness so that they may engage in a healthy working environment and increase their longevity as a worker in this challenging industry.

Acting 2 - The aim of this unit is to develop acting skills beyond the traditional hegemony of Stanislavsky in the Western theatre tradition. Actors will be expected to embrace a range of performance styles as professionals which will require a flexible instrument which utilises alternative practice to realise the demands of the text. The idea is to explore and experiment with techniques which challenge and expand to improve the imaginative and creative realm of the actor. On successful completion of this unit, students will have explored a range of techniques and, in so doing, broadened their understanding of acting processes, developed their skill set and appreciated a more diverse range of theatrical practice.

Dance for Musical Theatre - Performing in a musical requires a combination of acting, singing and dance skills. However, there are many dance genres which can be incorporated into a musical and, as such, this unit has been developed to allow for the study and exploration of the wide range of dance genres that can be used in musical theatre. Students will explore a wide and diverse range of musical theatre styles used in both film and theatre, key innovators and choreographers from musical theatre history. Students will also explore their techniques and skills in successfully communicating the style intentions.

Singing 2 - In this unit, students will be required to add layers of characterisation and acting choices to their singing in order to produce a fully-rounded performance. They will explore how to interpret text through the vehicle of song and will learn how to apply a variety of vocal qualities to their performance to aid the storytelling process. The technique developed in their first year of study will give students the opportunity to allow the narrative to drive the vocal choices they make, and not be limited by their vocal technique.

Immersive Theatre - Immersive theatre is a significant growth area in the performing arts industry and has become increasingly important as a way of truly engaging an audience in a production. Although immersive theatre productions have been growing over the past few years, the concept of immersive theatre is not a new one. However, the ways of immersing an audience have developed significantly. Defining immersive theatre can be complicated and, through this unit, students will explore all necessary elements, looking at how the audience is at the forefront of the production and exploring how to engage them. For example, stimulating their senses: through sight, sound, touch, taste and even smell, can be a vital component of enabling the audience to have a uniquely personal experience.

Performance Project - The purpose of training is to have the necessary abilities to be able to perform for an audience. This unit culminates in a public performance. This unit is designed to provide an opportunity to test the skills developed during training before an audience in either a live or recorded medium. Students will gain knowledge of rehearsal processes as well as performance techniques. The intention should be that the rehearsal and performance aspects of the unit reflect professional working practices and give students an authentic experience of the workplace.


What’s next?

The course itself is structured as a preparation for the industry, with consistent industry links and portfolio building throughout. As a result, at the end of the course, you could immediately apply for roles that involve performing, teaching, arts administration or community arts.

If you choose to continue your studies at the end of the course, there is a natural progression to the BA (Hons) degree. This would ‘top-up’ your qualification to an honours degree, with one year of additional study at a University.

Open Events

Find out everything you need to know about Sunderland College and our exciting range of courses!

Register for our next open event

Take a tour around our campuses


Actors, Entertainers and Presenters

Actors, entertainers and presenters sing, portray roles in dramatic productions, perform comedy routines, gymnastic feats and tricks of illusion, train animals to perform and perform with them, and introduce and present radio and television programmes.

Medium Salary

£ 23370

438 people employed as Actors, Entertainers and Presenters in the current year.

Dancers and Choreographers

Dancers and choreographers devise, direct, rehearse and perform classical and contemporary dance routines.

Medium Salary

£ 23370

93 people employed as Dancers and Choreographers in the current year.


Musicians write, arrange, orchestrate, conduct and perform musical compositions.

Medium Salary

£ 23370

555 people employed as Musicians in the current year.

93.1%of our students progressed to further study, university of employment.

(*Based on 16-18 year olds destination data, 2019/20 academic year)

Why choose Sunderland College?

Consistently high achievement rates

Rated Good by Ofsted

*Ofsted June 2016

Excellent student support

Recognised regionally and nationally for our high-quality approach to careers education