The course is equivalent to two A-Levels over two years. After your first year, you will achieve the equivalent to one full A-Level in one year. Therefore alongside this course you will choose one other subject, in the past students have chosen an array of third subjects, some stay in the creative family choosing Music, Film, Photography, Art etc. but many others choose subjects from across the whole college offering!
The first year contains 4 units, 3 of which are mandatory units and 1 is optional. One unit is chosen by your lecturer based on the group and what their interests are, for the last few years students have completed a musical theatre unit as part of the end of year show and it is always one of the students favourite units. The task set for you will help you along the way with at least one of the units of study.
In performing arts everyone is different and we celebrate this. It is always good to be able to pull from our experiences and learning in a range of subjects to really enrich our creativity in performing arts sessions.
The entry requirements for the course are 5 GCSE's including English.
We have students from all backgrounds, some who have been training for years and some who haven't studied the subject before. Within the first term your lecturer will assess your work and how successful you will be on the course. Work ethic, resilience and creativity are personality traits rated highly on the course and in the performing arts industry. You may all start at different technical abilities but we care about your drive and passion to improve and will support you to achieve your dreams!
Students will work from commission briefs regularly and in the past have worked with professional companies including Zest Theatre, BloominART and the Wintertide Festival, Hartlepool Council and a range of local schools.
Unit 1: Investigating Practitioners Work:
This unit is a mandatory and is externally assessed. This means you will complete teaching and learning activities and then complete a task you are set by the exam board to be marked by an external examiner. The task you are set will be given to you four weeks in advance, therefore it is like an exam but you get to prepare research and take pre-prepared notes in with you. This course is a modern hybrid of traditional exam driven A-Level and a vocational coursework driven course. It reflects the modern world with both exam-like expectations and also ongoing live projects. In this unit you will learn about different practitioners from different disciplines, you will also take part in your own practitioner investigation, then you will use two for your external assessment. For examople, if you have more interest in musical theatre you can choose musical theatre practitioners and if you are more interested in dance then dance practitioners etc. you may also choose to do a mixture of drama and dance practitioners, it depends what sparks your imagination. You will watch multiple pieces of theatre, learn how to analyse the work and take part in many class discussions which tend to be student led. You will also learn about a range of practitioners and their contextual factors and relevance to the performing arts industry both past and present. This is a theory unit (the only one across two years) but taught in a practical way. For example when looking at a practitioners’ work, we will learn to devise in their style or we will recreate some of their work in a practical session.
Unit 2: Developing Skills and Techniques for Live Performance
This is the unit you will start the course with, throughout this unit you will look at different styles and genres and discuss individual interests. You will then look at the skills and attributes of a performer and you will learn to self-analyse your development as a performer using correct terminology. You will then be set an induction task, which acts as your 'audition' to the course. This is an opportunity to express yourself and your interest along with demonstrating your passion for the subject. You will then work on a performance which will be a piece of professional repertoire, either a play, musical extract, dance extract, physical theatre extract. This will be decided as a group or it can be split into two groups depending on discipline choices. This will be performed professionally, either in one of our shows in the theatre, one of our showcases or as part of a professional commission in the community. For the past 5 years students have performed at the Wintertide Festival, the Christmas lights switch on and have worked with professional touring company Zest Theatre shaping and performing their touring piece 'Youthquake'.
Unit 3: Group Performance Workshop
Unit 3 gives students lots of creative freedom to explore, research and develop original work. This is an externally assessed unit also, but it is a practical unit. You will explore different devising techniques in class and then you will be given a stimulus to work from in groups. In the past students have worked as one big group, smaller groups, a couple of dance focused groups, a drama group etc. You can specialise this unit in this way, however many students like to work in a multidisciplinary way and explore the different strengths of their group to create something modern and different. You will work as a group to create your concept, shape the piece, rehearse the piece and stage the piece, this will then be recorded for the examiner and performed to an intimate invited audience. Ususally, students then develop and showcase group pieces in an end of year showcase so you get the opportunity to share your work with family and friends.
Unit 27: Musical Theatre Techniques
Unit 27 is a musical theatre unit, you will spend time watching musicals either recorded or in the theatre. You will then get the opportunity to compare your own chosen musicals in a research project. You will take part in technique classes, including movement and fitness, vocal workshops, characterisation sessions and rehearsals. You will then work with second year students in their chosen musical. Second year students are tasked with choosing the musical and the production of it including the rehearsal organisation, box office, fundraising and advertising etc. You will be the cast alongside the students, then in your second yeat you will be given creative control. This is always a much loved unit for students as ypu are given the opportunity to get a real sense of achievement performing your own work. The sixth form runs this as a professional show, hiring tech equipment, paying for licensing and the show if performed for a wee. It is an intense but rewarding experience and g will help you develop the skills neede to prepare you for the real world of work.
On completion of this course, you could go on to study a performing arts subject at university or go straight into employment within the performing arts industry.
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