Performing Arts - Musical Theatre has been added to My Courses


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Course specifics

Entry Requirements

  • A minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above (including English Language). Level 2 vocational qualifications (e.g. BTEC/OCR) must be a merit grade or above and only one will count as one GCSE equivalent.
  • Entry via successful audition
  • You do NOT have to have studied this subject at GCSE to apply



Exam board: Edexcel

100%of Students Achieve High Grade Passes (Double Distinction or Higher)

This is a practical course which focuses on developing skills in the three specific performance areas of dancing, singing and acting.  As well as developing in these three areas individually you also have the opportunity to combine them in a variety of performances, culminating in a full Musical production in our purpose built theatre with live music, set scenery and costumes at the end of the second year. Shows have included A Chorus Line, Calamity Jane, Fame The Musical, Singin’ in the Rain, Sweet Charity, The Wizard of Oz, Little Shop of Horrors, Bugsy Malone, Grease, the highly acclaimed West Side Story, The Addam’s family and most recently Sister Act.

The performing arts team offer study to cater for all student’s needs.  Students will complete the Extended Certificate – Musical Theatre over two years, which is the equivalent of one A-level. You also have the option to specialise further by taking the Diploma in Performing Arts which is worth two A Level’s, where you will complete an additional 4 units on top of the 4 completed in your Extended Certificate Musical Theatre class. Typically, students on the Diploma have a very keen interest in all areas of Performing Arts, keen to explore the range of skills required for the industry and are looking to a pursue a career in this industry and/or wish to study their passion at a higher level. The courses attract UCAS points the same way as a standard A-level.

All students will become a member of the St Brendan’s Performing Arts Academy, which offers a range of opportunities with external industry professionals and cross-curricular links with other courses such as Dance, Drama and Music. We have strong links with local theatre companies, performing arts professionals, and offer workshops with them as part of the academy. We aim for every student to flourish and achieve their full potential. Developing your performance skills opens your horizons to this incredible Billion-pound industry that caters for over a million jobs in the UK (2.29 million creative industry jobs in the year up to September 2021).  

For more information on the Performing Arts Academy, please see one of our experienced teachers.

Entry Requirements

5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above (or the equivalent at Level 2) including GCSE English Language. All students will audition for a place on the course. Applicants will be invited to attend audition following their application. They will prepare a song of their choice, a monologue and will take part in a short dance workshop with our choreographer. Students should also be able to demonstrate experience in all three areas of the course. Students do not need to have studied Performing Arts, Drama, Dance or Music formally at school however, experience of performing is beneficial.



Course Structure


Extended Certificate

Diploma (as the Extended Certificate plus)

Externally Assessed Mandatory units

Unit 1: Investigating Practitioners’ work

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

Unit 5: Individual Performance commission

Learners understand the nature and purpose of commission work, responding individually to a specific commission brief by applying their performance skills.

Mandatory Units

Unit 2: Developing skills for techniques and performers

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

Unit 4: Performing Arts in the Community

Learners develop their knowledge and understanding of performing in the community, applying specialist skills and techniques to a community performance project.


Unit 3: Group Performance workshop

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

Unit 6: Final Live Performance

This unit covers the practical exploration and application of specialist skills and techniques through the development and rehearsal of a final live performance to an audience.


Optional units

Unit 27: Musical Theatre Performance


Learners explore key features of musical theatre, developing specialist skills and techniques as a

musical theatre performer combining acting, singing and dance skills for a performance.

Unit 28: Variety Performance


Learners develop skills, techniques and understanding in variety performance, applying them to a practical act.


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.  Unit 5 is a practical assessment where learners prepare individual performances in response to a given brief.

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. The course is made up of mandatory units, and optional units. 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.

Performances will be assessed, but all work will also need to be accompanied by research, rehearsal and evaluative notes in a word-processed, written portfolio of evidence. The students will submit their internally assessed work in a range of formats including; blogs, vlogs, word processed reports, written notebook, PowerPoint presentations, viva voce, filmed rehearsals and performances and written work. Some elements of the course are externally assessed.


Classes are taught in the purpose-built theatre, which is fully equipped theatre including substantial sound and lighting systems, excellent state of the art technical/backstage equipment and theatre technician. A bespoke Dance studio with sprung floor and full length mirrors, sound and lighting equipment and further rehearsal spaces. A suite of music practice rooms all with pianos and sound equipment


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 also students should all 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. It is also compulsory for all students to take one to one signing lessons with an experienced, professional vocal coach. Please see the Performing Arts team for further details. 


Students are expected to purchase a Performing Arts Academy T-shirt and are expected to take part in theatre trips to London, Bristol and Bath where a charge will be made based on ticket price and cost of transport. Some workshops will also have a cost. There is a termly charge for peripatetic singing lessonswhich start at £15 per 30 minute lesson, although funds are available for those who are eligible for Bursary fund.

Partnerships and Links

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


Students completing this course have gone on to Higher Education courses such as BA Honours degrees in Drama, Musical Theatre, Performing Arts and Dance 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 career, or to gain work in a theatre education department. Students’ progress into careers such as singing, acting, theatre backstage production, performing arts in the community 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.