Creative & Design

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Please select how you would like to attend your Performing Arts course:


Title: Performing Arts

Pathway: Creative & Design

Available Study Options:
Full Time Print

Study Option

There are currently no other study options available for this course.

What will I study?

We offer different levels of diploma which are all accredited by UAL. The qualifications you have will determine what level of diploma you can undertake. 

UAL Level 1 Diploma in Performing Arts & Production (1 year)

The Level 1 Diploma in Performing Arts & Production (equivalent of 5 GCSEs at grades 1-3 or D-G) is a one-year course where you’ll learn the basics of performance and the skills needed to build a career in the performing arts. You will develop techniques on creating character and performing in front of an audience. The course will help you with your confidence and self-esteem and develop your teamwork and communication skills. After completion of Level 1 students can progress onto Level 2.

 UAL Level 2 Diploma in Performing Arts & Production (1 year)

The Level 2 Diploma in Performing Arts & Production (equivalent of 5 GCSEs at grades 4-9 or A*-C) is a one-year course where you can expect a good all-round grounding in the basic techniques of performance. Our industry-lead tutors will help develop your skills in movement, voice, and give you a good understanding of the creative arts industry. Many students who complete this course successfully audition and progress onto our Level 3 programme.

UAL Level 3 Diploma in Performing Arts & Production (2 years)

This course (equivalent to 3 A Levels) is our flagship programme. It is a demanding course and has a proven track record for delivering high-quality and innovative training. The diploma is 70% practical and 30% theory. Over the two years you will explore the fundamentals of movement, voice, text analysis and theatre and screen acting techniques. 

Students who have completed level 3 can progress to university or drama school or move onto our UAL Level 4 Foundation Degree (FdA) in Performing Arts & Production.


Why Choose Oldham College?

When Oldham College opened on Ashcroft Street in 1893, it was originally a college for both science and the arts. The likes of Bafta winners Suranne Jones (Doctor Foster) and Sarah Lancashire (Happy Valley) to Golden Globe nominee Jane Horrocks (Absolutely Fabulous) have all studied with us, and we are excited to produce the next generation of creatives.

The course is led by industry-experienced tutors and established practitioners. Throughout the course you will also take part in workshops by visiting industry professionals and artists. Most recently we hosted casting directors Joanne Moss (Coronation Street) and Jonny Boutwood (Hanna), movement theatre group Company Chameleon and standup comedian Josh Jones. 

Our facilities are second to none, with three specialist dance and drama rehearsal studios. Alongside the numerous performances at the college, you will also perform in a range of public productions in professional venues such as the Oldham Coliseum and industry showcases in Manchester (Level 3).

Our students undertake a work experience placement during their studies. We invite employers and organisations from all over the creative industry to offer opportunities and we have a dedicated team to help you choose the right placement for you.


"Waterloo road opened my eyes to what the industry is really like. Just being on set and seeing how the director, actors and crew work. Amazing! I couldn’t believe how much effort goes on behind the scenes for just one shot.  I got a taste of what working as a professional actor was actually like. My goal felt more real, and it really motivated me to work even harder in class." 

Kyle - Second year Level 3 Performing Arts student

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a range of practical projects in a range of spaces including professional theatres and performances to a live audience in real-life industry settings. You may also be involved in school tours, where you will visit several local schools, perform your work and deliver high-quality workshops to the school pupils.

You will also be assessed on your presentation of the practical work you have participated in. This may be presented in a format of your choice e.g. written report, verbal presentation, website, blog, journal, scrap book etc. and will detail aspects of the work including research, context, planning and production, reflection and evaluation. We also offer a bespoke support for students with a variety of difficulties (ALS FE Silver Pearson Award Winners 2022) and will always make sure your needs are met.

All units are graded Pass or Fail until you reach your Final Major Project, which will be graded Pass, Merit or Distinction.

Your work will firstly be assessed by your tutor, an external moderator from UAL will then confirm the grades.

What will this lead to?

The next steps after your course are important. You will receive outstanding support from your tutors during your studies to decide what those will be.

A lot of our graduates go on to train further in higher education, gaining places at top drama schools and universities, most recently the Central School of Speech and Drama and the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Some prefer to go straight into the arts sector using our end-of-course showcase in Manchester as a springboard to start their careers.

 Our masterclasses from visiting professionals and drama specialist institutions create links directly into the industry and degree level training.

Entry requirements

Entry Level Courses:

Skills for Life & Work/Preparing for Adulthood

No formal qualifications are required for this course.
These courses are specifically designed for learners with a Special Educational Need (SEND).


Entry Level: Skills & Employability

No formal qualifications are required for this course.

Full Time ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)

No formal qualifications are required for this course.

Full Time GCSE Re-sit Study Course

 GCSE Grade 2 or 3 in Maths and English and / or Sciences.

Full Time Level 1 Course

 No formal qualifications are required for this course.

Full Time Level 2 Course

4 GCSEs at grade 3 or Vocational Level 1 in relevant subject area.

*GCSE Grade 4 or above in Maths is required for the courses below:




Full time Level 3 Course

5 GCSEs at Grade 4-9 including English or Maths (Functional Skills Level 2 English or Maths will be accepted).


Vocational Level 2 plus Grade 4-9 GCSE English or Maths (Functional Skills Level 2 English or Maths will be accepted).

*A Vocational Level 2 is required for the following courses:


All Construction Subjects

Hair & Beauty Subjects

Applied Science

T Levels


5 GCSEs at Grade 4-9 including English and Maths (Functional Skills Level 2 in English and Maths will be accepted).

* Health T Levels require GCSE Grade 4 in Science.


How to apply

You can apply for this programme via the Apply Now button, at the top.

If this course area is available as an apprenticeship, this will show under 'Study Option' on the right-hand side, just below the Apply Now button. You can view all of our apprenticeship vacanices and subjects by clicking the 'Apprenticeships' in the top menu.


If you are aged between 16 and 18 when you start your course and are taking a course leading to a qualification, the tuition and exam fees are free. However, there may be some additional costs for optional trips, recommended text books and professional start up kits. We have a bursary scheme to assist with these costs.

  • If you're aged 19 or over, you may be eligible for funding towards your course fees. It will depend on your personal circumstances and will be discussed at enrolment. You will be asked to bring documentation with you when you are invited to enrol.
  • If you are aged 19 and over and study Maths or English and do not already hold a C grade/4 or higher in the subject that you are studying, you will get the course for free.
  • If you have any queries please contact us on 0161 785 4039 or email

What happens next?

It is important that you come along and speak to one of our staff about your choice/s.

Once we receive your application, you will be invited in to speak to a tutor or a member of the Apprenticeship team to discuss your application.

This will provide you with the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the course/Apprenticeship and to see our facilities.

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