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The Pearson BTEC Higher National Certificate/Diploma in Performing Arts (Acting Pathway) is a course designed to be studied over two years. This programme offers a unique opportunity to study the acting pathway of Performing Arts at levels 4 and 5.

With an emphasis on practical and vocational work, students will hone their acting skills through workshop sessions and rehearsals, whilst taking part in major practical projects and public performances. Throughout their time on the programme, students will experience setting up, running and touring with a self-contained theatre company and will also enjoy access to productions and workshops locally at Northampton's nationally recognised regional theatre, Royal & Derngate.

The course aims to equip students with performance skills, knowledge, and the understanding necessary to progress in this competitive field. Along with building strong skills in a diverse range of acting disciplines and genres, the course will also facilitate advancement of academic research skills and development of professional practice in the performing arts industry.

The most significant features of the course are the performance projects and collaborative productions with other established organisations. These have previously included public performances at the Royal Theatre, performances with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and a community theatre tour to local schools. HNC and HND students may also have opportunities to support the Royal & Derngate with the NT Connections Festival and other community-based projects.

Successful completion of the HNC and HND can lead directly into employment in many different performing arts roles and disciplines. Alternatively students may choose to top-up their qualification at participating universities by moving directly into the second or third year of an honours degree, or apply to drama schools.

The course is taught by subject specialists, and you will be working both independently and in small groups, utilising our state-of-the-art facilities. There may also be opportunities for students to attend external performances or workshops with local theatres.

  • What will I study?

    The units you will study across the two years are likely to include:

    Core Units:

    • The Performing Arts Industry
    • Professional Development
    • Creative Research Project
    • Working in the Performing Arts Industry

    Specialist Units:

    • Voice and Speech for Actors
    • Acting for Camera
    • Movement for Actors
    • Devising Theatre and Performance
    • Stagecraft
    • Acting One & Two
    • Auditioning
    • Voice Skills for Actors
    • Performance Project
    • Management Role

    All units are subject to change and may be withdrawn or amended by the awarding body.

  • Who is this course for?

    This course is suitable for a variety of students but would be ideal for those progressing from an existing Level 3 Diploma or A Level programme in an artistic subject. Pearson HNC and HND qualifications are a fantastic alternative to the traditional university experience.

    They are practical and technical qualifications at level 4 and level 5 that enable students to work in real life situations and develop strong employability skills. Students will be benefit from smaller groups and more one-to-one support. HNCs and HNDs are recognised by most university employers and are an affordable substitute to a traditional degree.

  • How is the course assessed?

    This is a modular course and you will be assessed through submission of unit assignments. This may include presentations, essays, contextual research, evidence of planning, logbooks, practical performances and reflective evaluations. There are no examinations, however rehearsals and performances will be continuously assessed.

  • Knowledge

    You will develop a thorough knowledge and understanding of:

    • The key elements and influences in your discipline (Acting, Dance, Musical Theatre or Technical Theatre) and refining an investigative approach to the Performing Arts industry

    • A range of activities and competences through in-depth subject specific study, enabling the practical, written, presented and evaluative academic work to further your reading, writing and digital skills

    • Subject specific context; for example an awareness of equality and diversity in the performing industries and an up-to-date approach to casting, skills itineraries and CV writing.
  • Skills

    You will have the ability to:

    • Explore and enhance personal performance and technical skills through practical and research-based study and practical sessions including specialist disciplines of Acting, Dance, Musical Theatre & Technical Theatre
    • Develop core specialist skills at relevant levels including taking correction (in Dance and Musical Theatre for example) practical feedback, critical listening skills around others work, communicating ideas with your peers,enhancing your skills levels both individually and collaboratively
    • Integrate and develop previously acquired skills, alongside new and challenging work enabling a broader repertoire and experience, and therefore develop your own approaches to your directed and creative work.
  • Behaviours

    What is required?

    • Developing the behaviours and expectations to help you work in the industry that are specific to your discipline, such as reliability, time keeping and organisation, respect and communication skills
    • Taking responsibility in the management and commitment to rehearsals and production work or for an assignment of personal interest and prepare for progression within a chosen discipline

    • Demonstrate professional and respectful behaviours that will help you network, develop connections in industry and contacts, including taking initiative, organisational skills and developing resilience.
  • Progression and Career Opportunities

    This course is perfect for applicants who wish to work in the theatre, primarily as a performer but also in various backstage roles and the wider creative arts industry. Successful completion of the HNC and HND can lead directly into employment in performing arts. Alternatively students may choose to top-up their qualification at participating universities by moving directly into the second or third year of an honours degree, or apply to drama schools.

  • Entry Requirements for new students

    48 UCAS points which are equal to two D Grades or above at A Level, pass grades at BTEC Extended Diploma Level or Merit pass at Level 3 Diploma, plus a 4 Grade in English & Maths GCSE and complete the practical tasks that will be sent to you. Applicants aged 21 or over who do not have the entry requirements may be eligible for acceptance based on application ad interview. All applicants will need to complete a practical task that will be sent to them.

  • Admissions Process

    We recommend that you attend one of our exciting open events so that you can look around the department, the college and meet the tutors. You are welcome to do this before or after you apply. These events have proved very successful in ensuring students and their families see the best of what the college has to offer such as our inspirational teaching areas, teachers, library facilities and places to eat.
    Once you have applied our experienced Enrolment Team will consider your application carefully and will let you know, by email, if the College would like to make you a conditional offer based on you meeting the specified entry requirements. If your predicted grades or career aims suggest that an alternative subject area or course level would be more appropriate for you at this stage, we will contact you either by telephone, email or text. If you have told us that you have some additional support needs we will contact you to find out more so that we can help you.