Performing Arts Department Show reel: an insight into what to expect as a Performing Arts student at The Sixth Form College.

We offer a wide range of Performing Arts A Level courses which include Dance, Drama and Theatre, Music and Music Technology. We offer BTEC Level 3 Certificate and Extended Certificate in Performing Arts. Students can also choose to take an EPQ in Performance and in Dance and we also offer the Gold Arts Award.

Subjects can be studied together to form a complete Performing Arts programme or can be studied alongside other A Levels.

We have excellent specialist facilities including: three recording studios with live rooms and isolation booths, new digitally controlled LED lighting systems, performance studio with fully sprung Harlequin dance floor, purpose built Drama studio and rehearsal studios.

We regularly arrange workshops with outside companies and also have ex-students coming in to lead workshops from colleges, including: Northern Contemporary Dance School, City University, East 15, Bird College, London Studios.

Courses Offered by the Department


A Level Dance is open to those students looking to further their Dance training/Dance education. It is NOT a pre requisite to have studied Dance before BUT you should have a keen interest in learning about choreography/performance and how Dance has evolved through time.

Dance and Culture, Dance and Technology, Dance exploration and Creative Practice all make up the 1st year of study.

Drama and Theatre

Drama and Theatre is an exciting and dynamic subject where you combine academic work with a practical element.

If you are considering this subject as an A Level you will probably already enjoy the experience of live theatre and also possibly have been involved in productions.

As part of the course you will have lots of opportunities to see exciting and innovative theatre and also take part in productions and workshops. The course also provides students with many transferable skills that are desirable in many different careers. These include team work, problem solving and the ability to deal with challenging situations.


The college offers A Level Music which include performance, composition and a listening exam. This course is for students who have some experience of playing and performing music who may well have taken GCSE music and who would like to further their knowledge and skills in performance, composing and in appraising music.

The course is designed for students wanting to go on to study music at Higher Education or who want to complement their college programme with a creative subject.

Music Technology

Music Technology is a course that enables students to learn the art of recording, from setting up microphones to mixing and mastering music using advanced software. Composing using technology, developing production skills and improving aural skills are also key elements of the course. This course significantly benefits students studying music, diversifying their skills, increasing employability in the music industry and providing additional pathways for the future, as music technology is a growing industry.

BTEC Level 3 National Certificate in Performing Arts

The BTEC Level 3 National Certificate in Performing Arts is a “triple-threat” course, which gives an engaging and stimulating introduction to study of the performing arts sector. It is intended for students with a keen interest in performing arts, who wish to continue their education through applied learning and will equip students for either higher education or the industry. The qualification is equivalent in size to half an A Level and can form part of a study programme alongside other BTEC or A Level qualifications. On successful completion of the Certificate, students can go on to study the Extended Certificate, which is equivalent to one A Level.

The course comprises two units, which focus on developing practical skills and techniques and critical analysis skills and contextual understanding of practitioners’ works, via the three disciplines of musical theatre, acting and dance.

Please bear in mind that in order to be successful in this course, you need to enjoy performing to an audience, be a proficient performer in at least two art form disciplines, be organised, enjoy working with others and go and see professional performances whenever you have the chance. The two units of assessment are:

  • Unit 1: Investigating Practitioners’ Work (50%)

    In this unit, you will develop skills that allow you to investigate the work of influential performing arts practitioners from a fairly broad time period, in the disciplines of musical theatre, acting and dance.
    Assessment: This is done through a written task, worth 60 marks, and completed in 3 hours, under supervised conditions. The written task is to complete a piece of extended writing that demonstrates your understanding of contextual factors. You will be given three named practitioners, from which you choose TWO, and a theme. You will investigate and critically analyse the contextual influences on your selected practitioners and performance work, focussing on how these relate to the theme. Some previous themes have been “relationships”, “breaking the mould” and “bridging the gap”.

  • Unit 2: Developing Skills and Techniques for Live Performance (50%)

    You will explore and develop performance skills and techniques in the three disciplines of musical theatre, acting and dance as part of your triple-threat training and then choose your favourite discipline in which you will produce a performance. You will participate in regular workshops, classes and exercises where you will acquire, practise and develop the necessary technical, practical and interpretative performance skills to help you succeed when performing live to an audience. You will consider the nature, skills and attributes of the performer’s role in your chosen discipline. You will explore some works from each practitioner, from which you will select one piece to perform to an audience. In practical classes, you will demonstrate the discipline, focus and commitment the role of the performer requires. Ongoing review and evaluation will allow you to monitor your progress and set targets for the development of your performance skills.
    Assessment: This unit is assessed through a final performance, done in February of the exam year, a presentation and a reflective journal (log book). We do give students lots of support and guidance throughout both units, so don’t worry!

We expect all students to do at least one additional study in a performing arts subject over the duration of the year, so make sure you put this on your timetable at enrolment.

Additional Studies

We offer a full range of additional studies, including: Band, Orchestra, Choir, Grade 5 Music Theory, Dance Club, ChoreoLab, Drama Club, Shakespeare Club (students work towards their RADA exams), Rock Music Workshop, Storm records (college record label).

The College is also host to Colchester Youth Dance Company- Dance Station.

Please see our Courses page for full details of all the courses offered by the college.