This course covers all the behind-the-scenes roles involved in backstage technical theatre, live events, and concert production. You will be learning the skills you need to start your progression into this wide and varied world of work, help run internal and external shows at our professional city-centre venue, the Sue Townsend Theatre.
The course is delivered as a one year plus one year programme. You start by studying towards the national foundation diploma in the first year and then top up into year two to complete the extended diploma. You must pass the diploma to be able to top up to the extended diploma. Both years carry UCAS points and universities recognise the qualification as a method of progressing to relevant degree courses.
If you are aged 16 to 18, you will be enrolled on a study programme,
which will include activities that help you to develop your personal skills, such as building your character and confidence. This will help you to live well and move into your chosen career. These activities will be timetabled as will work experience. For other age groups, activities will be tailored to your needs.
What You'll Learn
Over the year, you will work towards two modules (Production Arts Skills Development and The Production Arts Industry) with four units in the modules (Developing Production Skills and Techniques; Responding to production requirements and purpose; Contributing to a production and Planning a Career in the Industry).
Through these modules and units, you will study aspects of stage management, lighting, sound, props and set making and you will learn the importance of how these areas work together. You will also look at production arts planning; the context of performance; health and safety; and working for yourself in the industry.
The structure of the course means the diploma year is when more of the operator and technician roles are learnt and completed, before completing more senior production roles on the extended diploma.
If you continue for the extended diploma in the second year you will work towards two more modules (Personal Production Arts Profile and Collaborative Production Arts Project) with six units across the modules (Using Development Plans to Refine Skills; Producing a Personal Project; Using Material for Self-promotion and Networking; Undertaking a Defined Administrative Project Role; Using Creative Collaboration to Develop a Project and Producing a Collaborative Project).
Year two is more in-depth, and it introduces you to the more senior roles in stage production. It allows you to focus on your preferred area of the industry and develop practical understanding of all the stages of preparing and putting on shows, again working on college and external productions to demonstrate learning. You will also learn about the essential criteria of a production arts practitioner.
Entry to this course requires five GCSEs at grade 4 (C) including English (essential) and maths (desirable). You will be required to provide one reference and it is desirable that you can demonstrate a minimum of a 90% attendance rate from your last place of work or study.
You will be invited to attend a welcome event where you will participate in an interview to show you have a suitable level of experience or interest in the production arts, this is to support your careers choice and ensure that we place you on the right programme for you.
Consideration will be given to all applicants over the age of 19 who do not hold formal English and maths qualifications.
How you will be assessed
Assessment is completed through coursework over the two years. This course is highly practical, with an emphasis on doing and reflecting, often in a working blog format. Other assessment methods include presentations, recordings, video submissions and reports. All areas of the course contribute to your final grade, however, there is opportunities to focus on areas of specialism too.
Tuition Fees (16-18): £0.00
Tuition Fees (19+): £2882.00
If you are 18 or above when starting this course, you may incur fees if you continue to the second year of the programme.
Please see our guidance on 19+ fees on our website
There is an additional cost of £20.00 to cover the cost of visits and
If the course is longer than one year the total fees are for the first year only and further fees may apply in future years. All fees are based on a ‘home’ learner status. Please contact us for information on overseas fees.
For more information, please see our course fee disclaimers page.
Course and Career progression
On completion of the two-year extended diploma, you may decide to study for a foundation or undergraduate degree in an area related to technical theatre. The extended diploma will award you with UCAS points which you may use to apply to our Higher Education provision or other universities across the UK. In terms of industry roles, if you are successful on the course you may go onto work in sound design and operation; lighting design and operation; stage management; or venue technician roles.
What Happens Next
If your school uses the Positive Steps @16 (PS16) application system please apply through this and speak to your careers advisor if you are unsure. You will need details of your qualifications and employment history, a reference, and a personal statement to complete your application. Once your application has been successfully processed, you will be sent a conditional offer and be invited to a welcome event at the college for a tour and suitability audition. You will then need to confirm your acceptance of the course offered to you.