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 and most recently The Addam’s family.

The performing arts team offer study to cater for all student’s needs. The Extended Certificate over two years, which is the equivalent of one A-level; and the Diploma is the equivalent of two A-levels. 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.

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 the Drama, Dance and Music departments. We have strong links with local theatre companies, performing arts professionals, and offer workshops with them as part of the academy. The Academy ethos of ‘Education First’ meets our desire and passion to support students in developing your performance skills and to open your horizons to this incredible Billion-pound industry that caters for over a million jobs in the UK. For more information on the Performing Arts Academy, please see one of our experienced teachers or visit the college website.

Entry Requirements

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



The Triple Threat/Musical Theatre pathway, will allow you to develop skills and knowledge in acting, dance and singing as well as the broader aspects of the industry such as Acting for Film and TV, The Business of Performing Arts and Theatre for Children.

Students wishing to study along the Triple Threat/Musical Theatre pathway have 2 types of course to select from:

The Extended Certificate in Performing Arts (equivalent to one A-Level)

The National Diploma in Performing Arts (equivalent to two A-Levels)

These courses can be combined with any of the other 68 courses on offer at the college including other performance courses such as A-level Dance or Music Performing.

Meet the Performing Arts Teachers

Performing Arts Academy

Performing Arts Academy

The Performing Arts Academy

You will automatically become a member of our highly successful St Brendan’s Performing Arts Academy. We work in association with organisations such as Bristol School of Performing Arts, Bristol Old Vic and 3rd Stage Dance to create a unique opportunity of gaining ‘The London Experience’ right here in Bristol. Our ethos of ‘Education First’ meets our desire and passion to support you in your performance development and open your horizons to this incredible £80 billion industry that caters for over 1.7million jobs in the UK. 


Course Structure

Each pathway is made up of a number of core and specialist units that have been selected to not only enhance your strengths but also to examine and develop skills in areas of performance where you are less confident.

All students will study the following units:

  • Investigating Practitioners’ Work 
  • Developing Skills and Techniques for Live Performance
  • Group Performance Workshop 
  • Musical Theatre Techniques 

Students on the National Diploma course (2 A-level equivalent) will also study the following units:

  • Performing Arts in the Community 
  • Individual Performance Commission 
  • Final Live Performance to an Audience 
  • Acting Styles 

Methods of Teaching and Learning

In all pathways and for all sizes of qualification, lessons are a mixture of practical workshops and theory based lessons aimed at providing you with the necessary key skills required within the industry and in Higher Education (HE).


Enrichment is vast and tailored to suit each and every individual. There will be a number of activities that will be deemed compulsory/essential with a vast array of outstanding opportunities in addition that will allow you to work with high profile and industry recognised tutors and stars of the industry. Please be aware that there will be costs involved as part of the programme. All of which will be published well in advance of payment. For examples of the types of activities and opportunities available to you as a student, please visit the Performing Arts Academy area of our website.

Method of Assessment

Assignments are marked on a regular basis. 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 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 work in a range of formats including; blogs, PowerPoint presentations, viva voce, video diary and written work.


Extended Certificate

Diploma (as the Extended Certificate plus)

Externally Assessed Mandatory units

Unit 1: Investigating Practitioners’ work

Unit 5: Individual Performance commission

Mandatory Units

Unit 2: Developing skills for techniques and performers

Unit 4: Performing Arts in the Community


Unit 3: Group Performance workshop

Unit 6: Final Live Performance




Optional units

Unit 27: Musical Theatre Performance

Unit 28: Variety Performance


You will have access to outstanding purpose made facilities at the college including:

  • Fully equipped theatre performance space including substantial sound and lighting systems
  • Dedicated dance space with spring floor and full length mirrors
  • Suite of music practice rooms kitted out with industry standard pianos and sound equipment.
  • You will also make use of our partner facilities at BSPA, 3rd Stage Dance and Bristol Old Vic to name a few.
  • You are expected to purchase all course related clothing and equipment (a list of which is provided at audition and can be found on our website)


There are no direct charges on this course with the exception of academy t-shirts and hoody.  However, there is a charge for peripatetic singing lessons although funds may be available for those who may find the cost prohibitive.

Students will be expected to provide their own stationery, music recordings/CD’s. They will be expected to purchase tap shoes and any sheet music required.  We will also run regular trips which are not funded. As part of the academy students will also have opportunity to undertake a vast array of professional training such as Acting for Film and TV with ITV, dance technique classes, LAMDA and portfolio preparation. All of these opportunities come at heavily reduced prices due to our partnerships with local industry experts - again, Bursary support may be available for those who may find the cost prohibitive.

What can I do next?

The Performing Arts courses and Academy programme are designed to develop the complete performer, allowing you to be industry ready upon leaving St Brendan’s. Careers include performance castings across the UK, in particular the West End, backstage and production roles and design/choreography roles; progression on to HE including prestigious institutions such as Stella Mann, Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, Italia Conti, Bristol Old Vic, Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, East 15 and Laine Theatre Arts. All students will compile a comprehensive portfolio of pieces and repertoire in preparation for all future auditions and interviews.