Performing Arts Courses at Derby College

The challenges are great in the world of performing arts, but the rewards are greater still. You might work in radio, TV, film or theatre and in roles such as actor, dancer, arts co-ordinator, drama therapist, choreographer or entertainer.

Is this you?

  • Good communication skills
  • Talent and creativity
  • Stamina, energy and physical fitness
  • Capacity to cope under pressure
  • Reliability and punctuality
  • Work well in a team and listen to others
  • Willing to accept direction and criticism

Getting into Performing Arts

performing arts

  • Full time at College Derby College offers a range of courses relating to the creative and media industry, including Performing Arts. The course you start on will depend on your GCSE results and you will have to pass an audition.
  • Higher education Many working actors and dancers complete professional training at specialist drama or dance schools. Courses approved by Drama UK can help when you are starting an acting career. At drama or dance school, you could take a three-year degree or diploma in acting, dance or musical theatre. You must be aged at least 18 for this. If you already have a degree, you could take a one-year postgraduate diploma, for which you should be at least 21.

    To get into drama or dance school, you will need to pass an audition. You may also need formal qualifications such as A-levels or a BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts, although this is not always essential if you show enough talent. Check the entry requirements as they vary between schools. Several universities offer drama degrees, which are often more academic than practical. You might also want to look at teaching qualifications at university.
  • Jobs You might be able to go straight into a job related to performing arts. However, competition in this industry is fierce and you will need to demonstrate genuine talent, enthusiasm and determination.

Why Choose Derby College?

  • You can perfect your techniques in everything from urban dance to classical theatre in high-specification studios at the newly expanded Joseph Wright Campus.
  • Performances of your own productions – at both the College and external venues – will be central to your studies. You could also get involved in the wider College entertainment scene, including talent shows and fundraising events.
  • You’ll enjoy a fascinating combination of studio and classroom-based learning. There are inspirational theatre visits, guest speakers and team-building residentials too.
  • We have a wide network of contacts within the performing arts which will open up exciting opportunities for you. One project saw our Students work with a top choreographer from The Royal Ballet School on a contemporary dance piece which they performed in London.
  • Over half of all performing arts professionals work on a freelance basis – so we’ll ensure you also gain enterprise, business and communication skills to prepare for the world of work.

Whether you want a role at centre stage or behind the scenes, Derby College will foster your raw talent and ensure you have a full repertoire of skills, knowledge and attributes to sustain a career in the spotlight.

Maths and English

You need English and maths skills to get on in life. They will support your studies at the College, help with everyday tasks and pave the way to future career success.

If you don’t already have a grade 4 or above in GCSE English and Maths – or equivalent qualifications – you will continue studying these subjects as part of your course at Derby College.

We’ll support you all the way: working with you on the right programme of development throughout your time with us.

You might also be interested in ...

When you’ve completed your course, why not broaden your horizons further still at Derby College? Additional qualifications in subjects such as Art and Design, Media and Music are exciting choices. Or check out our courses in Business, Enterprise and Management if you would like to set up a venture of your own.

Maths & English

Find out how Maths and English can benefit you.

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.

Did you Know?

  • There are over 10,100 businesses in the performing arts industry
  • Almost 180,000 people work in the industry – 22% are actors or entertainers
  • 8% of employees in the industry are dancers and choreographers
  • The performing arts contribute £4.6 billion to the UK economy
  • Over half of all workers in the performing arts are self-employed

Recent Vacancies

Variable salary with no limit.
Bringing characters to life in theatre, film, TV and radio

£400+ per week.
Performing for live audiences, film or TV

Experienced stage manager
Up to £40,000 per year
Ensuring live stage performances run smoothly

Experienced choreographer
£1,275 per week.
On a tour or a season in commercial theatre

Site Information

Joseph Wright Centre

Courses in this area are run at our Joseph Wright City Centre campus. About Joseph Wright Centre »

Useful Websites
Information from the sector skills council about the creative media industries
Information from the sector skills council about the creative and cultural sector
Information about arts groups and events in Derbyshire
A list of accredited courses plus details of non-accredited courses that are still recognised by the industry. You may be able to get funding for accredited courses through the Dance and Drama Award Scheme.
Information on getting into careers in the theatre


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