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Performing Arts Festival of Education 2022

The UK’s first residential Educational Performing Arts Festival for schools.

Study Experiences is absolutely delighted to offer a brand new, exclusive, UK festival programme created specifically to support the teaching of Performing Arts at GCSE, BTEC and A level. Designed in consultation with current Performing Arts teachers, our Performing Arts Festival of Education will focus on many of the key themes that feature in UK exam board specifications.

We are delighted that Olivier Award Winner Matthew Kelly will be opening our festival. With a career spanning over 40 years on stage and screen, covering everything from Shakespeare to Light Entertainment, Matthew will both inspire and entertain your students with insights, highlights and incredible stories of his long and illustrious career. A Q&A session will give them the ultimate opportunity to get advise from someone who has achieved so much in the Arts industry.

The festival will include:

  • A series of highly engaging presentations delivered by leading industry professionals including internationally renowned theatre company Frantic Assembly, will cover a range of key themes
  • A range of expert-led workshops which that provide: ‘hands-on’ experience some of the technical skills, such as stage lighting and using a sound desk, which can be more difficult to deliver in school; and the chance to work with, and learn from an actor, a choreographer and playwright.

The festival’s presentations and workshops will not only inspire and entertain your students, they will provide a wonderful boost to their confidence and, at the same time giving them extremely valuable insight into how they can pursue a career in the Arts.

Find out more about our Expert Speakers

Why Choose Performing Arts Festival of Education 2022?

Having reviewed the aims and content of the 2-day programme, we are delighted to announce that our Performing Arts Festival of Education has the support of Arts Award and will support schools and colleges working towards the Gatsby Benchmarks for Good Career Guidance.

Arts Award is delighted to be working with Study Experiences to help demonstrate the value and broad range of career opportunities in the performing arts. Real-world experiences with artists is something that Arts Award values through all our regulated qualifications, and this opportunity is a fantastic chance for young people to work with the best in the business. We hope through our free resources and support linked to the festival schools attending will be able to expand their engagement and support their students to achieve a qualification in the arts.

Attending our Performing Arts Festival of Education 2022 will help: inspire students towards further study; them to understand enough about the world of work to know what skills they need to succeed; open students’ eyes to careers they may not have considered. As such it will help schools and colleges work towards the following Gatsby Benchmarks for Good Career Guidance:

  • Benchmark 4: Linking curriculum learning to careers
  • Benchmark 5: Encounters with employers and employees
  • Benchmark 7: Encounters with further & higher education

Price From £179


We are delighted to announce that the venue for Study Experiences, Performing Arts Festival will be the wonderful Mercury Theatre, Colchester. Described as ‘an artistic powerhouse in the East’, the Theatre has recently undergone a £10 million refurbishment.

We have been working closely with Ryan McBryde, Creative Director of the Mercury Theatre, whose wealth of connections both in the West End and the Arts as a whole, have been keen to securing some of the fantastic speakers and workshop leaders who will be participating in this unique event.


Study Experiences Performing Arts Festival will take place on 4th - 5th July 2022


As part of the festival package, groups attending this event will be booked in to bed & breakfast accommodation at a Premier Inn, Travelodge or equivalent, in the Colchester area.

Extend your trip with a day in London 

As Colchester is located so close to the city you may wish to add on an extra day to your itinerary with a visit to London to enjoy a West End show. Find out more about what you can do here - London's West End

Get in touch

Get a quick quote today, and a member of our team will be in touch to discuss your Performing Arts Festival in more detail.

01 Sample Itineraries

Day 1


Your welcome to The Performing Arts Festival of Education will include an introduction to the speakers and overview of the event. You will then hear from our speakers from a well known Casting Agency covering all aspects of the casting process followed by a representative from a world-renowned performance school. They will talk to students about their organisation, advice, what they look for, other similar options, career paths and famous students


This afternoon will include an interactive session from a playwright who will talk through main process of script writing, styles, use examples with their own work, engage and interact. A session will be delivered by Frantic Assembly, a well-known Physical Theatre company whose style is used in a very high % of exam performance pieces by students. They will deliver a session taking students from schools in the audience and building a physical theatre piece from scratch. We will hear from a part-time actor who will cover the realities of acting and how to still pursue acting without it being the sole source of income.


The evening will be at leisure for evening meal

Day 2


This morning will start with the Lighting In Theatre 1 hour workshop. After this you will take part in your optional workshops which have been chosen in advance.


If time permits after workshops free time in the area


Depart for your return journey

2 Day Festival Prices From
40 + 4 35 - 39 + 4 30 - 34 + 3 25 - 29 + 3 20 - 24 + 2
£179 £189 £195 £205 £225

02 Curricular Links

This event will be designed to support Performing Arts Studies at GCSE and BTEC and meets the requirements of all the major examination boards. It is also aimed at appealing to Performing Arts students through its well-rounded content and access to industry professionals.


This Festival is recognised by Gatsby Benchmarks

  • 4 - Linking curriculum learning to careers
  • 5 - Encounters with employers and employees
  • 7 – Encounters with further & higher education

Key Stage 4 - GCSE


  • Application of knowledge, skills and understanding of performing
  • Understanding the performing arts experience
  • The process and art of choreography
  • The transferable skill of teamwork
  • Design and technical elements
  • Role of performing arts in society


  • Create and design ideas for performance
  • Design concepts of costume, lighting, multimedia, set and sound
  • Research the chosen professional practice of their discipline
  • Understand the range of genres, design styles and practitioners
  • Design concepts including costume, lighting, multimedia, set and sound


  • Contribute as an individual to a theatrical performance Develop creativity and independence for effective theatre production
  • Explore performance texts and context
  • Understand roles undertaken in professional theatre practice
  • Requirements for lighting and sound for 6 cues in performance

Pearson Edexcel

  • Recognising and understanding the roles of the performer, director and designer
  • The costume design of characters in a production
  • Lighting design incorporating grid plans and a lantern schedules
  • Production of sound cues — original, live or found sound effects
  • Contribute as an individual to theatrical performance Costume design for 2 characters in production
  • Develop a range of theatre making skills


BTEC Levels 1-2 Tech Awards Performing Arts

Component 2: Developing Skills and Techniques in the Performing Arts

Learning Aims:

  • A1 Development of performance/design and interpretative skills
  • A2 Develop skills and techniques during the rehearsal process
  • B1 Application of skills and techniques during rehearsal
  • B2 Application of skills and techniques in/for performance
  • C1 Review own development of skills and techniques in/for performance
  • C2 Review own application of skills and techniques in/for performance

Component 3: Responding to a Brief

Assessment objectives

  • AO1 Understand how to respond to a brief
  • AO2 Select and develop skills and techniques in response to a brief
  • AO3 Apply skills and techniques in a workshop performance in response to a brief
  • AO4 Evaluate the development process and outcome in response to a brief

BTEC Higher National Levels 4-5 Performing Arts

Unit 1 The Performing Arts Industry
Unit 2 Professional Development
Unit 9 Choreography
Unit 13 Acting 1
Unit 14 Musical Theatre History in Practice
Unit 15 Ensemble Singing
Unit 17 Acting for Camera
Unit 18 Voice and Speech for Actors
Unit 19 Movement for Actors
Unit 20 Devising Theatre and Performance
Unit 22 Stagecraft
Unit 23 Lighting Operation
Unit 24 Sound Operation Unit
Unit 26 Scenic Construction
Unit 33 Working in the Performing Arts Industry
Unit 39 Dance for Musical Theatre
Unit 44 Acting 2
Unit 54 Production Design
Unit 57 Lighting Design
Unit 58 Set Design
Unit 59 Stage Management
Unit 63 Working In Creative Education
Unit 64 Directing


03 Workshops

On day 2 your students can choose from a range of workshops. The day will start with Lighting in Theatre which everyone will attend 

Lighting in Theatre. This 1 hour interactive session with an experienced Lighting Director will take place in the main theatre. Our expert will deliver an engaging talk through the path of their own career. They will talk through a programme set up and will demonstrate the settings according to different moods, scenes and briefs, showing the results on stage. Students will be encouraged to interact and make suggestions so that they can see their own ideas on the stage. 

They can then take part an additional two workshops, choosing from these options:

Acting Performance /Feedback
With time to rehearse in advance, your students will have the opportunity to perform a 6 minute scene from a set text. Following their performance they will receive useful and constructive feedback from the festival's industry experts, that will give them key pointers on their strengths and areas that they can work on. 

Choreography Workshop
Run by a West End Choreographer and taking place on a dance studio, your dancers can choose a pre-set routine in advance that they will rehearse and then perform. Our choreographer will then discuss the routine and offer ideas and feedback. This workshop is particularly useful for BTEC students. 

Sound Deck Studio workshop
Your students will enjoy an interactive session in a well equipped studio, working on a sound deck. Our industry expert will give an overview of their career and the experience they have followed by an overview of the equipment, changes genres and will offer up some tricks of the trade. 

Page to Stage workshop
This workshop will be run by a playwright or scriptwriter and is aimed at building students' confidence and giving them inspiration to write short scenes. They will also have the opportunity to act out their scenes.

Putting on a show
An experienced Theatre Director will lead this workshop covering the whole process of the idea of a performance through to opening night and includes all key roles involved in this process, using specific examples of a known show. This workshop helps to demonstrate to students the number of pathways for a career in Performing Arts.


04 What's Included

Your tour price will include :

  • Seminars & Workshops
  • B&B accommodation
  • Coach Travel for 2 days
  • Breakfast day 2
  • Refreshments during days 1 & 2
  • Lunch not included
  • Evening meal not included 

Matthew Kelly

We are delighted that Olivier Award Winner Matthew Kelly will be opening our festival. With a career spanning over 40 years on stage and screen, covering everything from Shakespeare to Light Entertainment, Matthew will both inspire and entertain your students with insights, highlights and incredible stories of his long and illustrious career. A Q&A session will give them the ultimate opportunity to get advise from someone who has achieved so much in the Arts industry.

Find out more about Matthew Kelly 

Frantic Assembly

Internationally renowned theatre company Frantic Assembly will lead a 90 minute devising & physicality session, followed by a Q&A with the Frantic Practitioners 

Learn more about the Frantic Assembly workshop here

Anna Jordan: Acclaimed Playwright for Stage and Screen

Anna is a writer for theatre, film and TV, a theatre director and acting coach. Anna’s notable experience makes her the perfect guest to engage with your students and help develop their writing creativity. 

Click here for more information on Anna

Ellen Kane, Renowned West End Choreographer

Tony & Olivier nominated choreographer Ellen will be providing a dance & performance workshop giving your students a unique chance to learn from an experienced industry professional.

Click here to find out more about Ellen

Jessica Ronane, Casting Director for Stage and Screen

Jessica is in-house Casting Director for Matthew Warchus at the Old Vic Theatre, London. She will give your budding performers the inside track on casting for stage and screen.

Click here to find out more about Jessica

Ryan McBride, Theatre Director

As the Creative Director for the Mercury Theatre, Ryan is perfectly placed to run your students through all the key roles involved in a performance right from the Ideas through to the opening nights.

Click here for more information on Ryan

Steve Mayo, Sound Engineer

Steve has worked as a sound engineer for the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Young Vic, Old Vic, People Show and Royal Court, amongst others. He has also toured nationally and internationally with the RSC.

Find out more about Steve here 

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