Dance and Drama Awards

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The Dance and Drama Awards are a scholarship scheme which subsidises professional vocational training at some of the leading performing arts schools in the United Kingdom.[1] Established in 1998, the awards are funded and regulated by the British Government through the Learning and Skills Council and are awarded to selected students at 21 specialist performing arts institutions.[2]


Dance and Drama Awards are offered to selected students, who are commencing training at the 21 specialist vocational schools chosen for the scheme. Through a process of auditions, the awarding school will identify the most talented students and allocate awards appropriately. The offer of an award is not based on the student's ability to finance their own training, but on their talent and potential ability in the fields of professional dance, drama, musical theatre or stage management. The award pays a substantial contribution towards the cost of attending the relevant course and in many cases, also includes a means tested maintenance grant, which can be used towards the student's contribution to the course fees, or the cost of accommodation and other expenses associated with attending full-time training.[citation needed]


The courses for which the awards are given are specially devised by Trinity College, London and, upon completion, provide a professional level qualification at either Level 5 or Level 6 on the National Qualifications Framework. Completion of one of these courses gives formal accreditation of the skills, knowledge and understanding that are acquired in training for employment as a professional actor, dancer, performing artist or in production roles supporting performance.[citation needed]

This series of qualifications are not intended to demonstrate academic achievement, but are vocational qualifications designed to prepare the student for a professional career in the performing arts industry, with the learning outcome being to achieve a high level of ability in the relevant skill rather than a high level of knowledge. This is represented by the fact that despite the courses being offered as post-16 further education, the qualifications are actually rated at graduate level.[citation needed]

Courses which are eligible for funding:[3]

National Qualifications Framework - Level 5

  • National Certificate in Professional Acting
  • National Certificate in Professional Classical Ballet

National Qualifications Framework - Level 6

  • National Diploma in Professional Acting
  • National Diploma in Professional Musical Theatre
  • National Diploma in Professional Dance
  • National Diploma in Professional Production Skills


All the schools which participate in the Dance & Drama Awards scheme are validated by Trinity College and are inspected for educational standards by OFSTED. They are chosen for their ability to provide the highest standard of training to the most talented students. They are some of the top performing arts training establishments in the UK. Graduate destinations include employment in West End theatre and with some of the most prestigious acting and dance companies worldwide.

Schools validated to provide the qualifications are:[4][5]


There are no prerequisites for receiving a Dance and Drama Award. They are awarded based solely on talent and ability, therefore they are not subject to means testing of the student's financial status. The only restriction on who is eligible to receive an award is that recipients must be between the ages of 16 and 23 [6] and must have been resident in the United Kingdom or the European Union for a minimum of 3 years prior to the commencement of the course.[7]

Notable recipients[edit]