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Production Arts Level 3 Extended Diploma at Truro and Penwith College

Course description

During your first year you will develop skills in Rigging, Lighting, Live Sound and Set/Stage Design. Much of this will be assessed practically, but you will also learn how to create industry-specific documents, such as stage plans, technical riders and risk assessments. By the end of year one you will have the chance to apply to work backstage at a national festival during the summer.

Once you feel confident with the equipment you will get the chance to push your creativity to the limit. Second year study puts you in the driving seat; you will have the opportunity to manage your own crew, create your own designs and choose which specialisms you would like to be assessed in. Many learners combine assessments with paid work and all learners will get the opportunity to work in local venues, building your portfolio and strengthening UCAS and job applications.

Course content

Lighting & Visuals
Unit 65: Technical Stage Operations and Unit 66: Stage Lighting Operations will support you to explore a range of lighting fixtures and their uses. You will learn to safely rig, focus, program and operate generic and intelligent lighting using our Avolites Tiger Touch as your primary console.
During year two you will study Unit 67: Stage Lighting Design and Unit 68: Automated Stage Lighting, where you will have the opportunity to create your own lighting designs and 3D digital simulations before managing a crew in rigging and operating your design for a live music event. In Unit 107: Visual Imagery for Production, you will create and integrate projections, live camera feeds, animation and/or film to enhance productions.

In year one you will study Unit 71: Live Sound for the Stage, where you will have the opportunity to research, select, rig and operate a range of sound systems before designing and operating the sound for real events. You will learn about mic selection, passive and active rigs and experiment with analog and digital desks (including the Allen & Heath ZED 22fx and Behringer X32).
In year two you will use the recording studio and audio-editing suites to create audio products that can be integrated into live performances as part of Unit 69: Stage Sound Operations and Unit 70: Stage Sound Design.

Business & Management
In Unit 3: Performing Arts Business you will explore extensive employment opportunities within our thriving creative industries. You will develop business and marketing skills that will support you to manage and promote events (Unit: 106 Marketing for the Performing Arts) and start to prepare for your progression.
Unit 55: Arts in the Community will enable you to experience wider production opportunities in community venues whilst working in partnership with other organisations. Additional optional units could support a more in-depth exploration of stage, tour and/or events management (Unit 55: Performing Arts Events Management, Unit 61: Stage Management and Unit 108: Production Management for Live Performance).

Props & Staging
You will work in collaboration with Drama and Dance students in order to develop staging ideas and props for productions (Unit 89: Props Making). Unit 4: Historical Context for Performance is designed to help you explore the context of different creative performance material. Understanding the factors that have shaped a piece can prove vital when designing props and staging and exploring these issues can also inspire fresh design ideas and concepts. You will also get the opportunity to design, mould and cast masks in Unit 86: Mask Making in the Performing Arts.

Core Production Projects
Throughout the course all subject areas will culminate in larger-scale productions, where you can be assessed in your chosen specialism(s) as part of Unit 2: Production Arts Workshop, Unit 6: Production Arts Planning and Unit 8: Production for Theatre Performance. You will work as part of an independent production company in planning, managing and running all aspects of production requirements.

Entry requirements

Four GCSEs at grade C or above in appropriate subjects. Previous experience of backstage production would be beneficial.

Please note that GCSE grade C or above in English is an entry requirement for this course.


Your achievement in this subject is dependent upon excellent attendance, teamwork, punctuality and effort. You will learn in a friendly atmosphere, using a variety of assessment methods:

  • Practical assessments are at the centre of course design and delivery. We will often observe, video and grade a broad range of practical activities.
  • Formal written assignments, research and evaluation.                        
  • You will need to develop production portfolios, which could include a range of evidence (i.e. annotated screen shots, annotated scripts, stage plans, set lists, technical riders, diagrams, risk assessments, photographs, production diaries, drawings and evaluations etc).
  • There will be regular group discussions, production meetings and peer evaluation sessions.
  • You will review your own performance in 1:1 sessions with your tutor.
  • Some assignments will encourage you to plan and decide how to submit your work (i.e. presentation, film, model box, essay or portfolio).

Future opportunities

Creative industries are rapidly expanding in the UK, and this course is a great springboard to Higher Education and employment in the sector. Completion of this course will give you entry requirements for a range of BA and BSc courses locally and nationally. Previous student destinations have included Backstage Academy, Central School of Speech and Drama, Rose Bruford and Theatre Royal.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Truro and Penwith College directly.

Last updated date: 15 June 2016

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