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Performing Arts (Performance) HNC (Stella Mann College)

  • HE

This course, taught entirely at Stella Mann College (based in Bedford) will allow you to deepen your knowledge and skill in important areas of the performing arts. It will help you prepare for a wide range of careers by providing a high level of technical training in the core disciplines needed for a successful career in dance, acting, and musical theatre. There will be a very large practical component throughout the course and the training will be delivered by tutors with a very high level of expertise and an extensive background in many branches of the performing arts. The course will be geared to the practicalities of securing work and sustaining a career in the performing arts.

Stella Mann College

Entry requirements

The main entry qualification is a successful audition and interview at Stella Mann College, where you must pass a ballet class, jazz class and present a singing and/or dance solo. See website for more details.

Ideally you should also have:

  • 32-48 UCAS points OR
  • BTEC Level 3 Diploma OR
  • Equivalent Level 3 qualification but this is not mandatory.

We welcome applications from mature students via a successful audition and interview, and a demonstration of vocational experience if you do not meet the criteria stated.

Course content

The mandatory units will focus on development of transferrable skills necessary to sustain a career, including the importance of agents, self-publicity, self-development, financial awareness, insurance and tax. Optional units will allow specialism within areas of singing, acting and dance, including Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Contemporary Dance.

The following units are offered as options. You must take the mandatory units (19 and 20) and six others from the optional units:

  • Unit 3 – Acting for Musical Theatre
  • Unit 11 – Classical Ballet Background and Technique
  • Unit 14 – Contemporary Dance Techniques
  • Unit 13 – Commercial Dance
  • Unit 19 – Creative Arts Professional Practice (mandatory)
  • Unit 20 – Creative Arts Research Skills (mandatory)
  • Unit 21 – Dance and Health
  • Unit 25 – Dance for Musical Theatre
  • Unit 34 – Jazz Dance Technique and Performance
  • Unit 59 – Singing for Musical Theatre
  • Unit 66 – Tap Dance Technique and Performance

Regular theatre trips are arranged so that you can experience a variety of professional theatre forms. You will also have the opportunity to take part in performances throughout the year in College shows in local professional theatres, and can audition to take part in prestigious external performances, such as Move It!, the Make a Wish Foundation’s Valentine’s Ball at The Dorchester Hotel, and the Ideal Home Exhibition. 

There are no other specific work placements as part of the course but the college may agree for you to take part in professional performance opportunities not linked to the college, such as summer seasons and pantomimes, as long as these do not interfere with your college attendance. It is expected that all students registered on the BTEC Levels 4 and 5 HNC and HND will also undertake the three-year Stella Mann College Performers Diploma, and you may also elect to undertake the Trinity College London National Diplomas in Dance or Musical Theatre.

Assessment methods

There will be formal exams. Around 50% of the qualification will be assessed practically through classwork and performance and around 50% will be assessed through a variety of assignment-based forms – progress logs, diaries, presentations, research projects and viva voce.

Further study and career options

Students who complete the Level 5 HND will be able to top up this qualification to a full Level 6 Degree through a number of different channels and institutions within five years of completing the qualification. It is expected that most students will enter the performance profession, either as actors, singers, dancers, choreographers, and perhaps teachers. The most common kind of performance that graduates secure is performance on cruise ships, holiday venues, commercial dance on television and in the corporate sector, modelling and musical theatre.

Additional information

You will be sent a uniform list prior to joining the course. This outlines the dance-wear requirements for the course – including ballet leotards and unitards for the male students, ballet shoes, pointe shoes, character shoes, jazz shoes, tap shoes – along with links to Dance Direct from which all this can be sourced. The cost will vary as you may have many of these items already from your previous training.

There will be a cost throughout their course for the costumes you must hire or purchase for all your performances. This will vary according to the material and how many different pieces you will be in for each performance. When a performance is not in Bedford, you must pay your travel costs to get to the venue, such as The Alban Arena in St Albans for the annual Summer Show. This will vary depending on the location of the performance and the time of travel. The college arranges several theatre trips during the year with cut-price tickets, but these are optional and not a mandatory part of the course or expense. The college provides access to an in-house physiotherapist, with whom you can book half hour slots for a charge of £10. You will also be charged a deposit of £50 for the use of college lockers and library facilities. This is returned at the end of the course when the locker key and all library loans are returned.

You will have to pay an exam/registration fee of £165.30, paid to Bedford College on enrolment. You may be eligible for a student loan for the HNC tuition fees. In addition to the HNC, you will also need to undertake the Stella Mann Diploma which costs £4,275 per annum and is paid directly to Stella Mann College.

To enrol on the full-time course you must apply through the University & Colleges Admission Service (UCAS) using the institution code B23 and the course code 2D11. Visit or call us on 01234 291000 for more information.

Pay by instalments

The College offers an instalment plan for Further Education and Higher Education courses to students where the total amount payable at the point of enrolment is £200 or more. Within the scheme there is an ability to pay up to 7 instalments, depending on the length of the courses and the final payment must be paid at least a month before the end of the course.

Please note: You will be required to attend college 5 days per week.

Course Information & How to Apply

You will need to complete a UCAS online application form to apply for this course, available at The codes needed are located in the 'Additional information' section above. Please call the College on 01234 291000 if you have any queries about your application.

LengthStart DateFeesLocationCourse Code
1 year 27/09/2021 £6000 Stella Mann College BBL1608

Part-time course already started?

Our upcoming 2021-22 part-time courses will be out in May. Get alerted when they're released by selecting your campus of choice below and filling out the relevant form:

Bedford College Enquiry Form

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Additional Learning Support
If you have a specific learning difficulty or disability, are deaf or hearing impaired, our Additional Learning Support team are on hand to give you assistance whenever you need it.  Find out more.

Autism & Asperger’s Syndrome Support
At Bedford College, we are committed to developing the provision for students on the autistic spectrum, including Asperger’s Syndrome.  Find out more.

We have access arrangements in place to help students with disabilities or any other particular needs. Call us on 01234 291000 for more information.

Additional formats
Course information sheets are also available in large print and audio formats. Call us on
01234 291000 to order your copy.