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Level: 3

Location: Joseph Wright Centre

Years: 1

Interview: Y

Course Summary

This Advanced Level 3 qualification is designed for students aged 16 years or over who have already achieved GCSE grade 4 [C] in both English and Maths and want to continue to study Performing Arts through applied learning to progress to higher education or professional vocational training.

The Advanced Performing Arts: Creative Dance and Acting Pathways have been specifically designed for students wishing to study a single creative subject plus work experience, tutorial and personal and professional development.

The Dance pathway will prepare you for the demands and exhilaration of showcasing live dance performance. You will focus on building a strong foundation in dance techniques and gaining an insight into the realities of life as a dancer.

The Acting pathway focuses on acting technique, performing repertoire and classical theatre performance. You will choose five to six units such as improvisation or script writing. 

This qualification is suitable for students who:

  • want to progress into Performing Arts-related apprenticeships
  • want to gain a Level 3 qualification to support further study in Further Education (FE)
  • want to progress to Higher Education (HE) in Performing Arts

The qualification is not just about being able to perform on stage. It will provide students with the skills, knowledge and understanding to progress into higher education or professional vocational training on a Performing Arts programme or specialist performance degree. You will also develop transferable skills such as planning, communication and adaptability.

The Applied General in Performing Arts is designed to be the substantial part of a study programme, but could be taken alongside other qualifications, including vocational qualifications like Business or A-levels.

Entry requirements

Typically, you will have at least five GCSEs graded A*- C, including English Language and Maths. Alternatively you may have equivalent intermediate qualifications at Merit grade or above, along with GCSE grade 4/C in English Language and Maths.

Importantly a university application will probably require five GCSEs graded C (4) or above, including both English Language and Maths GCSE at grade 4/C or above.

In addition to these entry requirements, you may be asked to attend a taster activity where your practical skills and potential will be assessed.

Course Content

On the Advanced Performing Arts Pathway, you will develop a foundation of the core knowledge, skills and understanding that the performing arts sector requires and develop further skills by completing a range of specialist units. You will study the following mandatory units:

  • Prepare to work in the Performing Arts sector
  • Proposal for a commissioning brief
  • Influential performance practice

These units will give you an understanding of the Performing Arts in wider contexts, including the way the sector works, job roles, progression opportunities, how to build strategies for sustaining a freelance career and how to plan and develop projects. You will study the work of Performing Arts practitioners and learn how to demonstrate practical ideas for performance. You will gain knowledge of the broader supporting functions of the sector which facilitates performance work. You will also bring all of your skills together to perform group work and evaluate your abilities.

How will I be assessed?

To achieve this qualification, you must complete between six and seven units consisting of:

  • Three mandatory externally assessed units
  • One specialist mandatory internally assessed unit
  • Two or three further units which are centre-assessed and externally moderated. The units will depend on the pathway selected.

If you don’t achieve a Pass in a unit, it will be unclassified. You must get at least a Pass for every unit to be awarded the qualification.

Qualifications are graded using a Pass, Merit, Distinction, Distinction* (and Unclassified) structure.

Are there any additional costs or specialist equipment required?

You will need to provide suitable clothing and funds to attend mandatory theatre productions and purchase copies of play texts [approximately £25].

What can I do after this course?

The content of the pathways has been developed with universities, professional performing arts colleges, theatres and individual practitioners in the sector. Such collaboration ensures that this qualification will support progression to higher education or professional vocational training and will give students the specific skills they need to build a successful career in the performing arts.



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This course is run at the Joseph Wright Centre

About Joseph Wright Centre »

Joshua Horsley

Joshua Horsley

Stepping out in a dance career

A keen dancer, Joshua Horsley perfected his performance skills both during and outside his Derby College course – taking to the stage regionally and nationally.

He combined his Performing Arts studies with his participation in the award-winning Bounceback contemporary dance youth performance group at Déda in Derby. He also developed an enthusiasm for technical theatre, providing backstage support for a range of College productions.

Joshua’s excellent progress and positive attitude led to him being highly commended in the Media, Music and Performing Arts category of our 2014 Peak Awards.

His dedication earned him the Media, Music and Performing Arts prize, sponsored by the Derby Telegraph, at our 2014 Peak Awards.

It was the ideal finale to his College studies: he will now join the first group of learners on the University of Derby’s BA (Hons) Dance, which will be based at Déda.

I hope to be a professional dancer in the future but I am keen to gain behind-the-scenes skills too, which will stand me in good stead for my career.
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