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The Level 3 Extended Certificate is equivalent to one A-level, and is studied over two years.

This practical course focuses on developing skills in performance. It is designed for Drama students who love to act, and wish to further their skills in a range of performance styles. It is largely contemporary in selection of texts and explores acting styles, performance skills and directing, as well as more conventional acting skills.

This course generates UCAS points the same way as standard A-levels.

Course Content

Students will study the following mandatory units:



Unit 1: Investigating Practitioners’ work

Students investigate the work of performing arts practitioners and develop critical analysis skills and contextual understanding of how practitioners communicate themes in their work.

This unit is assessed externally.

Unit 2: Developing skills for techniques and performers

Students explore technical performance skills with a focus on developing skills and techniques in at least two performance styles.

Unit 3: Group Performance workshop

Students explore and integrate creative, physical and vocal skills and techniques, working collaboratively to create a performance in response to a given stimulus.


The following unit is optional:



Unit 19: Acting Styles

Students develop acting methods by exploring different acting styles. They will apply techniques to the development, rehearsal and performance of their practical work.

Course Delivery

The course is taught by specialist practitioners. Assignments are set at regular intervals throughout the course and a very high level of student involvement is expected in all areas. Lessons are a mixture of practical workshops and rehearsals, and theory based lessons, aimed to provide students with the necessary key skills required for further training in this area at HE or beyond. Performances are especially important and it is expected that evening rehearsals and performances will take priority over work or social commitments.


Assignments are completed on a regular basis, and are both practical and theoretical. Students are expected to work independently to keep their folders updated, to include detailed information about their personal development in all areas. Performances will be assessed, but all work will also need to be accompanied by research, rehearsal and evaluative notes in a written portfolio folder. The students can opt to submit their internally assessed work in a range of formats including; blogs, PowerPoint presentations, via voice, video diary and written work. Some elements of the course are externally assessed. Unit 1 is a prepared written assessment taken under exam conditions on a set date by the exam board.


You will automatically become a member of our highly successful St Brendan’s Performing Arts Academy which provides an enrichment programme and exclusive opportunities in association with our partner organisations: National Connections Project & 3rd Stage Dance Company. Students benefit from regular workshops, performance opportunities, visiting speakers and theatre trips both locally and in London.

As this is a very practical course, and looking to use real theatre experiences wherever possible, there is an expectation that students will be available to perform in a range of showcases throughout the year usually in the evenings, and all students should also experience being part of a supporting backstage crew. All students will be timetabled to do Enrichment weekly as extra rehearsal time to support their practical work.


Classes are taught in the purpose-built theatre, which has full access to a sophisticated range of lighting and sound equipment, and theatre technician. There is an adjoining classroom used for theory work and exam preparation. Additionally, Performing Arts has a Dance Studio with a sprung floor, and further rehearsal spaces.


Students are expected to purchase a Performing Arts Academy t-shirt, and take part in theatre trips where a charge will be made based on ticket price and cost of transport. There are further opportunities such as workshops and the chance to take part in a range of courses and enrichment activities, some of which come at a small cost.

Partnerships and links

We have strong links with local theatre companies and professional actors, and offer workshops with them as part of the course. This year, companies have included The Paper Birds and Frantic Assembly. Students benefit from regular workshops, visiting speakers and theatre trips.


Level 3 BTECs are valued by employers and higher education providers. Students completing this course have gone on to higher education courses such as BA Honours degrees in Drama, Performing Arts, and a selection of students have gone on to Performing Arts or Drama Schools.

The education element of the course would also be ideal for a teaching qualification and career, or to gain work in a theatre education department.

Students may progress into careers such as acting, theatre backstage production and arts management. In addition to this, the transferable skills developed over the duration of the course also enable students to progress into a range of other employment in the creative industries, business, law and teaching.

Where can this course lead?

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Performing Arts - Acting has been added to My Courses