Educating the next generation of performers

Susan Jamson from Chickenshed invites local young people to join one of the theatre’s education courses

Chickenshed has a long track record of introducing young people from all backgrounds to live performance
Chickenshed has a long track record of introducing young people from all backgrounds to live performance

For the past 47 years Chickenshed, a theatre and charity based in Southgate, has been a leading light in inclusive performance.

Chickenshed is also a highly regarded and successful educational establishment, delivering further and higher education courses to more than 200 full-time students. Unlike other performing arts courses, Chickenshed students have the unique opportunity to learn and perform in a professional working theatre. They are at the heart of everything, working alongside Chickenshed’s team of actors, musicians, choreographers, dancers, writers and directors, acquiring performing arts skills both on stage and behind the scenes.

Chickenshed runs three education courses, a BTEC level three national extended diploma in performing arts practice, a foundation degree in inclusive performance, and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) honours degree in inclusive performance. All three courses are nationally recognised and accredited to both Edexcel and Middlesex University.

Our courses are hugely successful. The BTEC course was rated ‘outstanding’ by education watchdog Ofsted and has a 98% pass rate, while 70% of the foundation degree and BA graduates achieve at least a 2:1 grade pass.

The BTEC is a two-year full-time course which is recognised as being equivalent to three A-Levels. Students are expected to attend approximately 16 hours of lessons per week, over three to four days. Most BTEC courses require four GCSEs at grade four in order to qualify for a place, however, Chickenshed evaluates applicants on their experience, enthusiasm, potential, and their ability to commit to attend all the sessions.

The foundation degree in inclusive performance is also a two-year, full-time course. It is an accredited qualification and provides a pathway to a full BA honours qualification.

The BA is a top-up year programme called ‘Inclusive Theatre – From Performance to Project’. It builds on the achievements and learning outcomes from previous study at degree level, allowing students to achieve a full BA honours in inclusive performance.

Chickenshed realises that talent and passion cannot be measured purely by exam results or ‘traditional’ academic benchmarks. We are determined that student groups are fully inclusive, identifying and developing the potential of every person to produce outstanding results. As long as participants meet the age requirements and can demonstrate previous experience, either within or outside formal education, then Chickenshed is an ideal place for young people to study.

At present Chickenshed is recruiting students to join all three of our courses for the September term. Students will be invited to perform in this year’s Christmas production – and will have the opportunity to explore music, dance, drama and musical theatre and gain practical experience of inclusive theatre practice. All three courses are highly commended for their quality, inclusivity and imaginative provision – and offer students a sound grounding in all of the disciplines that make up the performing arts.

For more information about Chickenshed education programmes: