performing arts

BTEC Extended Diploma in Performing Arts

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma
2 years
Curriculum Manager: 
Nicola Kingsley

What is the BTEC Extended Diploma in Performing Arts?

The role of the performer in the 21st century is very demanding and the training and skills required to meet the needs of this challenging industry need to be learnt to an exacting standard.  The BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Performing Arts aims to equip students with performance skills and methods to work in today’s professional theatre. You will need to be a very focused and committed individual and willing to apply yourself fully to this 2 year course.  This course provides a wide variety of skills in Dance, Drama & Singing.

The course is delivered through 7 core units that everyone studying this course nationally will cover, with an additional 6 units chosen by Alton College.

The core units cover areas of the performing arts such as:

  • Investigating influential professionals in the industry by describing, analyzing and comparing their work.
  • Creating a group performance based on a specific brief
  • Creating a series of solo performances based on a specific brief
  • Learning about job roles within the industry, the skills relating to pitching an idea and self promotion
  • Developing and using skills as a dancer, actor and singer
  • Arts in the Community
  • Performing to a live audience

The additional units may cover:

  • Musical theatre
  • Jazz dance
  • Singing techniques
  • Acting styles
  • Choreography
  • Children’s theatre
  • Physical theatre
  • Screen acting


Is the BTEC Extended Diploma in Performing Arts suitable for me?

The 2-year Extended Diploma in Performing Arts at Alton College is a full-time course which is an excellent way to prepare you for future work in the performing arts and supporting industries. You will need to be totally focused, dedicated and committed to all projects over this 2 year period working as a member of a team and independently. If you enjoy performing and developing your creative ideas through performance, rehearsal and workshops and thrive on the challenge of developing original and established works of theatre, this course is ideal for you. You will learn and develop skills within acting, singing and dance and the process of creating original work in all three disciplines.

How will I learn?

Learning will take place through a variety of challenging creative projects, assignments and public performances. You will be taught by specialist staff within the Wessex Arts Centre.  You will work in teams and independently on a regular basis i.e. performance, workshops, musical theatre, research/exploration, evaluation of professional theatre/dance, presentations, discussions, written tasks etc.  There will be high expectations of your commitment on this BTEC course.  In addition, a highly focused and dedicated approach to your studies will result in producing work of the highest standard at BTEC level 3.  

How will I be assessed?

You will study a total of 13 units during the two years of the course. The units are assessed via controlled assessments and coursework – and this may include the production of portfolios, shows, presentations, creative practical projects, and staff observations. None of the units require you to sit a formal examination, although some creative tasks are set by the exam board and some written work will be sent off for marking.
For each unit you complete you will be awarded a Pass (P), Merit (M), or Distinction (D) grade. As this qualification is equivalent to 3 A Levels, you will also be awarded an overall grade consisting of three grades – such as PPP, MMP, or D*DD.
Students must complete and pass the first year to be awarded a Foundation Diploma and progress to the second year and full Extended Diploma.


You may want to progress to either vocational training at a 'stage school' or conservatoire or to gain a degree/Higher National Diploma in a Performing Arts based subject at University. Alternatively, this course will also provide an invaluable knowledge and experience to work within other related areas of the theatrical profession i.e. direction, production, arts marketing etc. Occasionally some students use transferrable skills gained on this course such as creativity, communication, team working, confidence etc to go into other non-related fields.

Entry requirements

Students should normally have achieved an A*- C grade profile at GCSE. For GCSE English and Maths where a new grading system has been introduced a Grade 4 is equivalent to a Grade C. Alternatively if you have studied at level 2 you should have achieved a merit or above. Vocational courses are an ideal qualification for students who prefer coursework. To study this course you should have experience and interest in performing arts.

Course costs

All BTEC students will be asked to finance theatre trips throughout the course. Additional costs will include the following: printed course materials, dance kit, stationary, DVDs/CDs and a 4GB memory stick. 

If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.



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