Inspire | Encourage | Support

Study Experiences is absolutely delighted to offer a brand new, exclusive event, created specifically to support the teaching of Performing Arts at GCSE, BTEC and A level.

With interactive performance sessions, engaging talks, sound deck and lighting workshops, we will INSPIRE your students, ENCOURAGE them to embrace new experiences and environments, whilst giving educators the SUPPORT in helping the next generation succeed and grow in this amazing industry. Set The Stage for the next chapter of their lives by bringing them to this hugely beneficial and unmissable event.

To learn from a line-up of highly accredited professionals, hear incredible stories, explore new ideas and gain advice to inspire their future careers, will be not only be memorable, but it may even change the course of a student's future. Students can also showcase their talent and get constructive advice from professionals which is an incredible opportunity.

Designed in consultation with current Performing Arts teachers, Set The Stage focuses on bringing to life the key themes that feature in UK exam board specifications, immersing students in the world of performing arts over this fabulous interactive two-day event. 

Bringing your learning goals to life by offering a hands-on experience we will:

  • Take your students behind the scenes to learn about sound and lighting, literally setting the stage for a show
  • Bring their own choreography to life onstage in front of a live audience of peers and experts
  • Provide the opportunity to work and learn with choreographers, actors and technicians who have worked on famous productions.

Full package price from £189pp

Set The Stage will take place on 7th - 8th June 2023


Event Speakers

Making Dreams Come True 

Ryan McBryde, Creative Director at the Mercury Theatre Colchester, has always been a passionate supporter of bringing the arts to life for young people and had a dream in which a group of students were in the theatre immersed in the onstage and offstage experience of a famous production, meeting with famous actors and working with technicians on lighting and sound.

When Ryan shared his vision with the team here at Study Experience we all agreed it was an amazing opportunity and are delighted to make this dream come true

We are thrilled to have created this curriculum linked event transporting students out of the classroom and into the theatre!

Let’s take a look at the incredible people, who too are inspired to support your student’s ambition and passion for the arts.


Our star guest is an English actress, well known for her current role as Georgina in 'The Great'. Other notable roles include Mary Boleyn in the TV series, 'Wolf Hall', in 2015 and Marianne Dashwood in the BBC's TV adaptation of 'Sense and Sensibility', in 2008.

Named "Young Lighting Designer of the Year" by the Association of Lighting Designers in 2008, Tim has since designed lighting for 200+ professional theatrical productions on the West End, tours, films, and beyond, and his work has been recognised by The New York Times.

Inspiring Students

In just two days your students will not only make memories and meet incredible people, but they will have the opportunity to find out the answers to those all-important questions like:

  • How to succeed at a casting audition?
  • What is it like to work backstage on a production?
  • What are the recommended qualifications for a sound engineer?
  • How do you start a career as a scriptwriter?

Our aim in hosting Set The Stage, is to familiarise students with the environments they’ll experience in real life, transporting them out of the classroom and into the theatre. This event is therefore setting the stage for their future.

Supporting your students to engage with their topic, offering an inclusive and encouraging environment, in which they are confident to ask their questions, discuss the various avenues they could explore beyond their school life, directly with the experts we hope to inspire their futures.  

Spending time with a technician behind the scenes, could open their eyes to alternative opportunities for a career in the if they find they have a natural affinity for lighting or sound which they hadn’t previously had a chance to discover in the classroom environment.

Those dreaming of writing scripts or choreographing shows, have a unique opportunity to bring along their own work to receive constructive feedback from successful writers and choreographers. 

Our goal is for students to take away the learning benefits gained during the two days, to shape their future career choices.

A 1 hour interactive session with an experienced Lighting Director

Taking place on a dance studio, your dancers can choose a pre-set routine in advance that they will rehearse and then perform.

Your students will have the opportunity to perform a scene from a set text then receive feedback from our experts.

Run by a playwright or scriptwriter and is aimed at building students' confidence and giving them inspiration to write short scenes.

An interactive session learning all the tricks of the trade with our industry expert in a well equipped studio, working on a sound deck.

An experienced Theatre Director will lead this workshop covering the whole process of the idea of a performance through to opening night.


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 Event Prices From
40 + 4 30 - 39 + 3 25 - 29 + 3 20 - 24 + 2 15 - 19 + 2
£189pp £209pp £205pp £205pp £235pp

If you have a group size of between 30 and 49 passengers, then we will provide you with exclusive use of your own 49-seat coach (contact us for details of what we can provide for groups of more than 49 passengers). Groups of fewer than 30 students will be allocated a shared coach with another school or college for the journeys to and from Set the Stage 2023 to ensure that you do not have any coach under-occupancy costs to pay.

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 event 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 Location - Mercury Theatre

We are delighted to announce that the venue for Set The Stage 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.




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 

Supporting Teachers

In addition to your students taking away amazing memories from the experience, the event will offer you the opportunity to observe how your students engage with their peers and the professionals in a new environment, see how they apply problem solve skills developed in the classroom and watch them interact within a live environment. 

Once back in the classroom we are sure these insights will support you by highlighting areas for improvement or adaption.

We will work with you based on the level of involvement you’d like to have both during the planning of the trip and the actual workshops, whether that’s to act as an observer or tailor the workshops to suit your classroom plans.  If you want to take your involvement further, you can tailor this trip to each individual student by planning which of your students will perform, who could bring scripts and whether a piece of choreography will be presented by some members of the group.

This is your opportunity to design this trip to best suit your students and teaching goals. We are on hand to make this the most special experience of the school year for your students.

Why Choose Set The Stage 2023?

Having reviewed the aims and content of the 2-day programme, we are delighted to announce that our learning and careers event, Set The Stage, 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 Set The Stage 2023 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

Extend Your Trip With A West End Show 

The West End is buzzing now that theatres are open again and there has never been a greater choice of shows.  As Colchester is located so close to the city, why not add an extra day to your itinerary with a visit to London to enjoy a West End show?

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