Qualification Name:

BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Performing Arts PATHWAY: ACTING 

Examination Board:


Head of Department:

Miss Burton; n.burton@haaf.org.uk


Ms Weston; n.weston@haaf.org.uk

Assessment Make -Up:

Edexcel BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma:

  1. Qualification credit value: a minimum of 90 credits. 
  2. Minimum credit to be achieved at, or above, the level of the qualification: 68 credits. 
  3. Mandatory unit credit: 20 credits (30 credits for endorsed titles). 
  4. Optional unit credit: 70 credits (60 credits for endorsed titles). 
  5. A maximum of 10 optional credits can come from other QCF level 3 BTEC units to meet local needs.

540 guided learning hours. 

This qualification broadens and expands the specialist work-related focus of the BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma and encompasses the essential skills, knowledge and understanding needed to gain confidence and progression. There is potential for the qualification to prepare learners for progression within education or into employment in the appropriate vocational sector and it is suitable for those who have decided that they wish to study in detail or work in a particular area of work. It is broadly equivalent to 1.5 GCE A Levels and provides a programme of study manageable in a year so that learners can bank and then build on their achievement. 

Course Overview:

The BTEC qualifications in this specification are QCF level 3 qualifications designed to provide highly specialist, work-related qualifications in a range of vocational sectors. They give learners the knowledge, understanding and skills that they need to prepare for employment. 

These qualifications accredit the achievement for courses and programmes of study for full-time or part-time learners in schools, colleges and other training provider organisations. The qualifications provide career development opportunities for those already in work, and progression opportunities to higher education, degree and professional development programmes within the same or related areas of study, within universities and other institutions. 

The BTEC qualifications in this specification provide much of the underpinning knowledge and understanding for the National Occupational Standards for the sector, where these are appropriate. They are supported by the relevant Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) and/or Standards Setting Bodies (SSBs). Certain BTEC qualifications are recognised as Technical Certificates and form part of the Apprenticeship Framework. They attract UCAS points that equate to similar-sized general qualifications within education institutions within the UK. 

On successful completion of a BTEC level 3 qualification, a learner can progress to or within employment and/or continue their study in the same, or related vocational area.

Summary of Content (in order of delivery) 

Unit 11: Theatre for Children (10 credits) 

The work enables learners to contribute their different organisational abilities and individual artistic talents to the team and to the realisation of the project. Learners should be encouraged to really own their project, to be independent in the way they work. They will need to take on personal responsibilities, such as corresponding with agencies and coordinating production details, organising rehearsal schedules, leading workshops and devising exercises, writing scripts, constructing sets, composing music, creating props, masks and costumes, writing, editing and organising the pre-project documentation and post-project follow-up material. On completion of this unit a learner should: 

  1. Know how to research and select suitable ideas for a TIE project 
  2. Be able to develop an educational performance project 
  3. Be able to contribute to the realisation of a TIE project. Internal Assessment: Performance of a children’s play. 

Unit 1: Performance Workshop (10 credits) 

The unit emphasises how the performing arts interrelate, and encourages learners to work across the disciplines of dance, drama and music, although one form is acceptable. It gives learners an exciting opportunity to explore and integrate the skills they are developing to create performance material. 

Workshop processes will include the developing of ideas through research and practical exploration, shaping and rehearsing of material, and performing the work to an audience. Learners will also evaluate the material created for performance and consider its effectiveness.

On completion of this unit a learner should: 

  1. Be able to interpret ideas for performance material 
  2. Be able to apply ideas creatively 
  3. Be able to take part in workshop performances 
  4. Understand the workshop process in light of performance

Internal Assessment: Performance of a children’s play and coursework.

Unit 32: Developing Physical Theatre (10 credits) 

Learners will have opportunities to try out different styles of physical theatre, to interpret both contemporary and traditional texts. For example there are many plays by Shakespeare that have been wholly or partially interpreted through physical theatre. They will learn how to create appropriate work for different kinds of audiences; for instance pieces made specifically for children and young people, based on fairy tales, contemporary issues and themes. However, the main feature of this unit will be the exploration and acquisition of the very broad range of skills that help a performer work in this field. Learners must take part in two physical theatre demonstrations, each lasting a minimum of five minutes. On completion of this unit a learner should: 

  1. Understand key influences in physical theatre 
  2. Be able to develop skills and techniques associated with physical theatre 
  3. Be able to select, develop and refine materials

Unit 13: Contemporary Theatre Performance (10 credits) 

Learners will be given the opportunity to study contemporary theatre scripts and then apply their acting skills from a fully creative and imaginative standpoint. Consequently, most of this unit has a practical focus while still paying attention to relevant research into the chosen performance material. This research will be the basis of practical work conducted in the workshop and in rehearsals leading to the performance of two contemporary texts. Attention will be paid to character interpretation within a relevant acting style. 

Learners might also challenge the received conventional style of any chosen work by experimenting with a text in a variety of styles. For the purposes of this unit a contemporary text will be deemed to be any play written since 1930. Learners must work on at least two contrasting texts. The performances may be an extract from the texts, lasting a minimum of 10 minutes each. 

On completion of this unit a learner should: 

  1. Be able to research contemporary texts 
  2. Be able to interpret and realise contemporary texts 
  3. Be able to rehearse contemporary texts for performance
  4. Be able to perform contemporary texts 

Unit 7: Performing to an Audience (10 credits) 

The learner will focus their individual strengths in a performance role within the context of a full-scale theatrical performance. The term ‘theatrical’ is used here to mean any live performance event offered to an audience, in an appropriate venue or space licensed for the purpose. Learners will gain a realistic experience of carrying out a defined performance role or roles, and of transferring and applying relevant performance skills. The work will be offered to a live audience, whose experience and judgement of the performance should reflect those of a paying customer. 

Learners will bring to this unit the specialist skills they have already acquired, and will use the unit as a vehicle for delivering a vocationally realistic performance. This unit reflects the fact that every live performance has a unique and changing set of creative problems and challenges. 

On completion of this unit a learner should: 

  1. Be able to undertake a performance role for a live audience 
  2. Be able to interpret performance material for an audience 
  3. Be able to perform a role, communicating meaning to an audience 
  4. Be able to work with discipline within an ensemble. 

Unit 19: Principles of Acting (10 credits) 

In this unit learners will study key principles of acting using a range of techniques. Learners will explore these principles both theoretically and practically and use the skills and techniques to develop characterisation and rehearse material for performance. The unit will also enable learners to evaluate their rehearsal and performance processes and to consider the relative success of different acting styles in communicating with an audience.

Learners will apply exercises and techniques in a range of vocational contexts. They should rehearse and give at least two performances before an invited audience, to last for between 10 and 20 minutes each. 

On completion of this unit a learner should: 

  1. Understand how to interpret and realise text 
  2. Be able to use acting and rehearsal techniques to develop a performance 
  3. Be able to perform as an actor. 

Unit 12: Classical Theatre Performance (10 credits) 

Learners need to be able to ‘unlock’ the language in which the text is written so that they can feel and express it fully. Often actors are expected to carry out preparation alone, before rehearsals start, so that they can make maximum progress when they gather as part of a team to create the performance. 

Once rehearsals begin, learners need to be able to contribute fully and to meet their director’s requirements. Their individual characterisation has to work with and complement the rest of the interpretation. To achieve this, actors have to be able to bring a range of technical and imaginative skills to bear throughout the creative and rehearsal processes. When the day of the performance arrives, they must be physically and vocally expressive and fully committed to their performance, both emotionally and intellectually. 

Learners will be assessed in the performance of two classical texts. Where a performance is a solo speech it should last approximately two minutes. Performance of a scene or extract should last approximately five minutes. 

On completion of this unit a learner should: 

  1. Understand the social, historical and cultural background of classical roles 
  2. Be able to explore the performance styles of classical texts 
  3. Be able to rehearse creatively and responsibly 
  4. Be able to perform classical texts. 

Unit 18: Auditions for Actors (10 credits) 

Audition pieces may be drawn from a variety of material. In theatre and for drama school auditions the ‘norm’ is a speech from a full-length play, using a monologue lifted or adapted from the original context. Here, learners need to be aware of the whole-play context of the piece, in particular character details. Screen auditions typically require the actor to read from a given script, with little time to prepare. Here there may be a non-actor eg casting director, ‘filling in’ lines spoken by another character in a duologue.

While the audition is usually something delivered as a solo act, learners can work together to offer each other positive criticism. Assessment will take place in at least three audition pieces, two of which must be contrasting. 

On completion of this unit a learner should: 

  1. Know how to select suitable audition material 
  2. Be able to relate vocal and physical performance technique to character and style 
  3. Be able to use vocal and physical technique in performance 

Unit 15: Variety Performance (10 Credits) 

The unit enables learners to develop performance techniques appropriate to the work of the variety entertainer and to create an individual repertoire. For instance, through this unit, learners may develop comedy material that could be ‘stand up’ or for a routine involving other performers. Alternatively, learners could use pre-existing songs or new material to create a song-and-dance act or deploy techniques such as cross-dressing, acrobatics, ventriloquism, impersonation, mime, illusion or clowning as an integral part of a speciality act. 

Learners may also consider using other elements such as outlandish props and costumes, puppets and digital technology as possible media within a speciality act. With very few limitations on the form or content of a piece of work, there is tremendous scope in this unit for originality and invention. The very nature of variety lies in the unusual, the different, the bizarre, the alternative and the unconventional. The key for learners is to experiment and test ideas and to find a suitable audience for their own particular brand of entertainment. 

On completion of this unit a learner should: 

  1. Know different types of variety performance 
  2. Be able to devise material suitable for a variety act 
  3. Be able to rehearse material for a variety act
  4. Be able to perform a variety act or turn. 
How will I be assessed?

You are assessed through practical exploration and performance and through coursework. 

What can I do after I’ve completed the course?

The BTEC Diploma will be studied alongside other BTEC’s or A Levels. The BTEC Diploma will count towards UCAS points and gaining a place at a university.