Foundation in Musical Theatre

Cert HE Musical Theatre

Course Guide


The CertHE: Musical Theatre Foundation is a 1-year full-time training programme designed to give you an insight into life at drama school, and to prepare you for vocational training at Honours level.

Acceptance onto the CertHE:  Musical Theatre Foundation does not guarantee entry to the BA (Hons) Musical Theatre programme.

The Foundation year is normally 30 weeks, divided into three terms of approximately 13 weeks, 11 weeks and 6 weeks respectively.  On average there are a minimum of 30 hours of timetabled teaching per week.  Since a core aim of the course is to prepare students for entry to 3 Year Honours programmes, most of which complete their audition cycle in the Spring of each year, teaching is top-loaded into terms 1 and 2 to maximise teaching time before the majority of students’ auditions take place.


In Audition Preparation you will be provided with opportunities to develop your skills in preparation for auditions for higher education conservatoire training at BA level.  You will be introduced to the range of courses you might choose to apply for, and the audition requirements of each.  You will take part in workshop classes, mock auditions in singing, acting and dance, and with guidance, will select and rehearse suitable audition material, and perform it in class to the group.

Dance skills will provide you with a basic foundation in dance technique. You will develop competence and confidence in weekly classes in jazz, ballet and contemporary/commercial, as well as fitness, stamina and conditioning.  You will learn how to avoid injury, develop fitness and stamina, and become aware how to maintain your own and others’ health and safety.

In Acting Skills you will begin to develop a personal approach to acting through exploration of a variety of techniques.  You will also begin to build a technical foundation in vocal technique.

Singing Skills will provide you with the foundations needed to sing with technical control, safety, confidence, concentration, discipline and energy.  Through weekly ensemble and song workshop classes and weekly one-to-one singing technique, you will develop your technical ability, musicality and confidence in singing.

In Performance Skills you will develop your confidence and skills through a variety of performance projects, including the rehearsal and performance of group musical theatre numbers and a contemporary acting piece.  The course culminates in a Cabaret, during which you will rehearse and perform a selection of musical theatre songs to an invited audience of family and friends, in an external venue.  The Cabaret will include ensemble songs, short speeches, solos, duets and trios.


Module FMT1: 

Audition Preparation

Credit value:



Audition Preparation

Module FMT2:

Dance Skills

Credit value:




Module FMT3:

Acting Skills

Credit value:



Speech and Voice

Module FMT4: 

Singing Skills

Credit value:



Singing Skills

Module FMT5:

Performance Skills

Credit value:



Song and Dance
Acting project


Learning and Teaching Methods

The teaching ethos is the same throughout the course, although each of the three core musical theatre disciplines may involve different methods and approaches. This section is an attempt to list and describe the major types of formal learning situation you may experience at ArtsEd. If you are not sure about your role in a learning situation, please speak to the tutor concerned or to your Course Leader.

Technique Classes

Technique Classes are designed to develop your technical and practical skills in the core disciplines of dance, singing and acting. These classes will require a certain amount of repetition as you practice control and gain an understanding of how your body works. You will often work as individuals within a group all performing the same task. Although the tutor will give you personal attention and correction, it is your own commitment to the exercises that will pay the biggest dividends.

The tutor will be looking for concentrated effort; commitment to the work; growth in your understanding of the techniques and the development of control.

Technique classes include:

  • Jazz, Ballet
  • Acting, Speech and Voice
  • Individual and Ensemble Singing

Workshop Classes

Workshops offer a way for students to express their own ideas, skills and creativity within a group.  The tutor will have an area of work they wish to explore and they may start the session with games and/or exercises that will prepare the group to focus on that particular area of work. Different tutors will have different methods of working.

You may be asked to work in smallish groups to explore and create as a group with guidance from the tutor, or you may work one to one with the tutor, exploring ways to approach a variety of material and there will be guidance from the tutor only when it is necessary.  In acting classes you will explore various techniques for studying the text, building a character and shaping a scene that will help you become inventive and creative actors, and you will workshop exercises to develop your imagination, concentration and observation.

Groups and/or individuals will usually be asked to show the results of their work during or at the end of the session.

It is important to note that the exploration of ideas and skills is the prime objective of workshops. They are designed to help you grow as creative performers and to understand that both success and failure are part of the creative process.

Tutors will be looking for openness to new techniques and a positive exploration of them; imagination; risk taking; hard work, energy and commitment, and generosity of spirit towards the other students.

Workshop classes include:

  • Dance auditions
  • Audition songs
  • Acting pieces
  • Song and Dance
  • Song Workshop
  • Fitness and Stamina

Lectures and Talks, Seminars, Tutorials

Throughout the course you will experience Lectures and Talks led by ArtsEd staff and staff from other training establishments, to introduce you to the broad range of options available to you for vocational training at Honours level, and in some cases, Masters level, upon successful completion of the CertHE Foundation.

Seminars are designed to be inter-active.  The speaker may give a short presentation and then introduce a topic or a number of topics. The students may then be asked to discuss these topics in small groups and be asked to share a summary of their discussion with the rest of the groups towards the end of the session.

e.g. Talks on Health and Safety, nutrition, injury prevention

Weekly group tutorials with the Course Leader provide an opportunity for support, advice and information.  In one-to-one tutorials with module tutors or the Course Leader, students can discuss their progress, receive individual coaching or seek pastoral support.  Group tutorials with the Course Leader take place weekly throughout the course and provide a forum for discussion of any aspect of the course.

Reflective writing

You will be encouraged to write journals for all your classes.  Journal writing gives you the opportunity to reflect, to think through challenges and record breakthroughs.  These journals are primarily for you, but tutors will regularly ask to see them to ensure you have recorded and understood the feedback you have been given.   

Rehearsals and Performance

Rehearsals are designed to introduce you to different performance styles and rehearsal methods.  Performance projects give you the opportunity to apply the skills and techniques you are acquiring as you progress through the programme.

Project rehearsals will involve research into the period or culture; study of the text or source music; creation of character and exploration of style.  There are many different approaches to the rehearsal period and the lead creative of each project will have their own way of doing things. You should remain open and positive to the particular methods of the individual director, choreographer and MD.

Your tutors will be looking for commitment; hard work; evidence of private study; a positive attitude and the development of your skills.


Rehearsal and Performance: 

The Performance Skills module you will take part in six in-house projects: in terms 1 and 2 you will rehearse and perform four short Song and Dance projects, and in the Summer term you will rehearse an acting project.  The culmination of the CertHE Musical Theatre Foundation is a cabaret, performed to an audience of tutors, family and friends at a West End venue.

In all performance projects you will be assessed by the creative team on your rehearsal process and by the Heads of Department on your standard of performance. The marks for your first two Song and Dance projects in the Autumn term will be indicative only, and will not carry any weight in the calculation of your mark for the module.


Towards the end of the course your tutors in Singing Technique, Ensemble, Jazz and Acting will mark your classwork in each discipline.  This grade incorporates effort and attendance as well as the level of attainment reached. Assessment is made with reference to the unit-specific learning outcomes described in the relevant module and the following general criteria based on the standards required for acceptance onto conservatoire training programmes:

  • commitment, preparedness for work; self-directed study
  • concentration; application; personal motivation
  • receptiveness to the process
  • ability to accept, and act on, notes and corrections
  • ability to work within group (listening; sensitivity; responsiveness generosity; co-operation).
  • progression: growth and development of skills and knowledge
  • development of flexibility and spontaneity;
  • capacity to experiment and take risks
  • development of awareness of the working process
  • quality of reflective/critical understanding and expression

Written Assignments

You will prepare a Portfolio containing notes on your lectures and seminars, mock auditions and audition technique classes, and detailed research and reflection on the direction you wish to take upon successful completion of the course.  The Portfolio is marked pass/fail, but it is a requirement of the course that this element be passed.  The module specifications outline the other journals you are required to keep during your progress through the course.  Your tutors will carry out ‘spot checks’ of these journals at regular intervals, but the journals are not marked.

In order to qualify for the award of Certificate of Higher Education: Musical Theatre Foundation, you must satisfy the pass requirements for all modules within the programme and achieve 120 credits overall.  The overall aggregate degree marks will be weighted as follows:

Dance Skills20%

Acting Skills 20%

Singing Skills 20%

Performance Skills 40%


You will receive regular feedback on all classes and projects, either verbally or in writing. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor. After assessed projects and final performances we aim to provide written feedback within a maximum of 20 days.

The class of the award of the CertHE will normally be:


Minimum Overall Aggregate Mark

with Distinction


with Merit