Performing and production arts

Train for a career in music, dance, acting and technical theatre with our University of the Arts London-accredited programmes.

About our performing and production arts programmes

You will learn the skills, confidence and abilities you need to progress into higher education or directly into employment.

Our performing arts programmes are a great preparation for university, vocational or dance college. They build your core skills in acting, dancing and directing, so you can aim for a career in the performing arts sector.

The abilities you develop at Activate Learning are transferable to a wide range of careers and your personal life, making adapting to the world of work easier, no matter what you choose to specialise in.

Our music programmes develop your performance and production skills, with opportunities to develop specialist skills in music technology.

We partner with many professional theatre companies and arts centres to deliver our programmes.This means that you benefit from not only the skill and experience of Activate Learning teachers, but also leading, performance-industry professionals.

Music students benefit from purpose-built recording studios and performance spaces, with opportunities to gain performance experiences throughout the year. Reading College is also home to the carnival-music-and-arts organisation CultureMix; a linked-learning company that successfully combines talent development with business skills training.

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What is a career pathway?

Education takes time and money. By giving you a clear view of what qualifications you need to get the job and the salary that you want, we take the stress out of learning.

Our career pathway maps show you the entry requirements for each qualification and how long they take to achieve. With each new qualification, you have the option to continue studying at the next level or explore your employment options with a guide to the jobs and salaries you can expect at that stage. Each step of the way, our career advisors are there to help you make the right choice for you.

By focusing on your future employability and opportunities, we hope to inspire in you the drive to succeed and make the most of your investment in education. 95% of students that completed a course with us progressed directly into employment or onto higher-level learning such as a higher-level course, apprenticeship or university study.*
*AL destination data for 16-19 year olds

While the right qualifications can get you a job interview, it’s the attributes that we teach alongside your chosen programme that will get you the job. Click on the links below to find out more about our Attributes and Learning Philosophy.


Our aim is to equip you to be successful in the job market,

whether you are heading for a job straight after your time at

college, plan to take a university-level programme first or are

already working in a part-time job.

What could my future job look like?

Here are some examples of the tasks that you may be carrying out:

  • Sound engineer: manage the production of music recordings to professional standards at a range of venues such as concert arenas, for example
  • Dancer: work as a professional dancer, learning and rehearsing choreography routines in shows or teach customers how to dance across different styles
  • Actor: interpret a character on stage or for film, learning your lines and undergoing a physical transformation to look like your chosen character
  • Musician: play an instrument to professional standards, on your own or as part of a band, in your chosen genre(s) of music
  • Artists and repertoire representative: manage an artist's career, representing them in negotiations with concert promoters and other third parties

The performing and production arts industry

The performing arts sector is worth over £90 billion to the UK economy.

Music is a real growth area in this sector, with over 142,000 people employed directly or indirectly in the industry, generating a £4.4 billion contribution to the UK.

UK theatre box office performance is strong, with theatres reporting growing number of performances (over 44,000 in 2017) and revenue that accounts for around £470 million annually.

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Industry partnerships

We have partnerships with professional theatre companies, music and arts companies and arts centres, including the Old Fire Station in Oxford, the Mill Arts Centre in Banbury, Reading Studio of Dramatic Art, Reading Rep and CultureMix in Reading.