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Diploma in Performing Arts - Level 3


Please note, this is the acting pathway.

This course is designed for those who are interested in developing their knowledge and understanding of theatre through workshops and performance opportunities.

The level 3 Performing Arts Diploma is a full-time programme split into two stages:

  1. The National Foundation Diploma studied in the first year.
  2. Extended Diploma studied in the second year.

Following successful completion of the National Foundation Diploma in year 1 you may then be able to progress to a second year of study on the Extended Diploma.

The full Extended Diploma is the equivalent to three A Levels and highly suitable for preparing students for university entry.

The diploma concentrates on the practical and contextual skills needed to produce quality devised and text-based performance work. This may include voice and speech, acting techniques, text work, devising, movement and improvisation. Continuing to the extended diploma, you will be able to continue to develop your skills and understanding of the performing arts industry. 

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Entry requirements

For the diploma you will need:

  • Four GCSEs with at least 4 points (grade C) including English or an appropriate equivalent OR
  • A relevant Level 2 diploma at merit level and GCSE English with 4 points (grade C) or an equivalent Level 2 literacy qualification.
  • A  prepared audition piece.

For the extended diploma you will need:

  • Five GCSEs with at least 4 points (grade C) including English and maths or an appropriate equivalent OR
  • A relevant Level 2 diploma at merit level and GCSE English and maths with 4 points (grade C).
  • A prepared audition piece.

You may need to supply at least one written reference from a teacher or employer (in some cases two) and/or your current school or college report.

Mature students (those aged 19 or over) who do not have the qualifications required for entry may still be eligible, subject to all relevant experience, your portfolio of work and career goals.

Start dates and fees

Start DateDurationCodeAnnual Fee (Age)Actions
16-18over 19
Sep 20211 yr(s)1569A1296FREEFREE* to £2880.00Apply

* If you are aged 19-23 and studying your first Level 3 course then that course may be free. Please contact us for more details. If you are aged 19 or over and either studying a second Level 3 course or qualifying Level 4, 5 or 6 course you may be able to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to cover the costs.

How long is the course?

The diploma is a one-year course and the extended diploma is a two-year course.

After successful completion of the diploma study programme, and following appropriate advice and guidance, you may continue your study for a further year in order to achieve the full extended diploma. 


How will I be assessed?

Assessment takes place through controlled assignments set by tutors and are externally verified. 

You will complete written coursework, take part in projects, practical workshops and performances, some of which will be externally examined.

What does the course lead to?

The diploma and extended diploma are nationally-recognised qualifications.

The Level 3 diploma is equivalent to one and a half A Levels and the Level 3 extended diploma is the equivalent of three A Levels. Both will support an application to Higher Education as well as developing many of the wider skills required for progression to employment in related areas of work.

Progression opportunities include moving on to a higher-level of study eg. HND in Performing Arts, which is available at the college.

What will I study?

Example units include:

  • Improvisation
  • Acting styles
  • Principles of acting
  • Developing skills and techniques for live performance
  • Investigating practitioners work
  • Group performance workshop
  • Performing arts in the community
  • Physical theatre techniques
  • Developing the voice for performance
  • Movement in performance
  • Final live performance to an audience

Study programmes

It is an entry requirement for some courses to have gained GCSEs A*-C in English and maths (see entry requirements). If the entry requirements to a course do not require A*-C in these subjects, and you haven’t already gained GCSEs A*-C in English and maths before joining us, you will continue to study English and maths as part of your programme and take appropriate qualifications in these subjects with the aim of achieving A* to C grade. In addition, to help you gain essential skills for employment, every student aged under 19 and studying a full-time course at college will take part in our study programmes alongside their main subject qualification. Find out more.

What can I go on to study?

  • HND, degree, higher level apprenticeships or vocational training or
  • Employment.

How do I apply?

Apply online


Next steps

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Why choose West Notts?

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100% A Level pass rate in 2020

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Best A Level provider in Mansfield and Ashfield for student progress*

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One of the top colleges in the UK for student satisfaction**

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An extensive bus service across Mansfield and the surrounding area

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£50m investment in our facilities since 2008

*Value added is a measure of a student’s progress against their starting point
**Learner Exit Survey 2017/18
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