HNC in Performing Arts – Level 4


The purpose of the Level 4 HNC in Performing Arts is to develop students as professional, self-reflecting individuals able to meet the demands of employers in the Performing Arts and adapt to a constantly changing world, equipping students with performing arts skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to achieve high performance in the global Performing Arts environment.

The course will provide opportunities for students to enter or progress in employment in performing arts, or progress to higher education qualifications such as an Honours degree in Performing Arts or a related area. The course is aimed at students wanting to continue their education in performing arts beyond level 3 to pursue a career in the Performing Arts.

Course modules

The Performing Arts Industry: This unit develops students’ awareness of key roles and responsibilities in Performing Arts and allows for exploration and research in all matters related to surviving and thriving within this ever-evolving creative industry. This includes individual and collaborative working, health and well-being, marketing, employability, finance and personal development.

Professional Development: For employment in the performing arts industry to be successful and sustainable, today’s professional is often versatile and enterprising, maintaining a portfolio career in which they are able to fully exploit their complete range of skills. Staying up to date with the industry and continually updating your skills is essential. This unit explores the many potential avenues of employment relating to your specialism

Acting 1: This unit introduces students to accepted principles of acting technique. Students will explore and develop technical and interpretive skills, which will provide a foundation for future development that they can shape to suit their own needs. Topics included in this unit are preparation for performance, analysis of text, rehearsal and performance technique.

Ensemble Singing: This unit develops the skills required to be an effective member of an ensemble as performers need to develop their ability to sing, in both unison and harmony. They will learn the key principles of a music rehearsal, such as how to learn, record and practise harmony lines, musical listening skills, understanding the relationship between the cast and the musical director, rehearsal etiquette and procedures, and the disciplines of ensemble singing, including unity of phrasing, dynamics, accent and diction, harmony work, blending, and sight singing.

Movement for Actors: The aim of this unit is develop an understanding of the importance of developing an expressive body as an essential component of a performance toolkit. Students will acquire skills in suppleness, strength and agility. Topics included are identification of strengths and areas for improvement in terms of movement capabilities, exploration of movement methodologies, identifying a programme of exercises to develop somatic skills, and performing movement-based material.

Devising Theatre and Performance: Devised pieces are being increasingly used as an important and effective method of communicating and engaging audiences in contemporary social issues. By the end of this unit, students will have developed a creative toolbox of methods, ideas, techniques that could be applied to devised work. They will also have improved their understanding of the contextual development of devising and its importance in today’s creative arts industry.

Production Communication: In this unit, students will learn to problem solve, be a creative innovator and be able to articulate, in detail and in a variety of ways, where skills are utilised within the creative industry. They will also have the opportunity to develop Health and Safety awareness, identifying alternative approaches to backstage or front-of-house co-ordination, and improve their skill set to enable them to be a supportive and crucial member within the whole of a team.

Stagecraft: Stagecraft is the team working of the backstage crew in a production. This unit is designed to introduce the learners to the principles and practicalities of backstage team work during a live production. Learners will undertake a role in one department, developing and evidencing a full understanding of what that role requires.

Assessment: The format of assessment is an assignment taken after the content of the unit has been fully delivered. It may take a variety of forms, including practical and written types. This may include essays, portfolio evidence, reflective accounts and collaborative projects and productions.

The two core units (The Performing Arts Industry and Professional Development) are delivered around Pearson set “themes” for example, Corporate Social Responsibility / Health & Well-being in the Performing Arts. Tutors design assignment briefs to meet the requirements of these pre-determined themes each year.

Students will work with a private WordPress website as their basis for a digital portfolio. All work submitted will be uploaded and assessed through WordPress. This way of working enables students to improve their digital skills and also learn how to put together their own website, something which they will likely need to know how to do as a Performing Arts professional.


Progression from the HNC Performing Arts may be into a career within the industry – dance, theatre, acting, play writing, directing and production or into further Higher Education study at university. This could include teaching or Drama Therapy training.