Performing Arts

If you were born to perform – as an actor, a dancer or a musical theatre performer – or even if you want to work behind the scenes, you’ll absolutely love the passion, enthusiasm and creative atmosphere that infects everyone in our Performing Arts department, here at The Manchester College.

Do you dream of performing on a West End stage? Or perhaps you have your heart set on starring in a hit TV series or award-winning film? Maybe you want to dance in venues across the globe? 

Whichever exciting career in Performing Arts you’re aiming for, The Manchester College – the No.1 College in Greater Manchester for achievement* - can help you to achieve your ambitions.

*NARTS 18/19

  • Still looking for an amazing place to study? We’ve got you!

    There’s still time to enrol with us today. Whether you’ve already applied or not, drop in to campus to complete your enrolment or visit our enrolment page to find out more.

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    Want to apply for next September or a 19+ adult course starting this year? We’ve got you!

    View our range of Performing Arts courses and apply to study at the No.1 College in Greater Manchester online today.

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  • Through our Centre of Excellence for Performing Arts we offer Acting, Dance and Technical Theatre qualifications from Level 1 to Level 3.

    While many people enjoy performing as a hobby, we focus on arming students with the skills and experience they need to enjoy a successful career.

    Previous students have gone on to act in programmes like Coronation Street and Hollyoaks, perform at theatres such as the Royal Exchange, and dance on the X Factor and in touring musicals like Miss Saigon and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

    Interested? Get a taste of what it's like studying Performing Arts at The Manchester College and take a look at some of our students in action:



    Musical Theatre

  • When actor Sally Carman isn’t treading the cobbles of Coronation Street, you’ll often find her here at The Manchester College, as she’s our very first patron of Performing Arts. Sally supports our students in a range of ways, including through exclusive acting masterclasses and Q&A sessions.  

    Sally has been working as an actor for more than 20 years. She’s best known for her roles as Abi Franklin in Coronation Street and Kelly Maguire in Shameless, but has also appeared in Holby City, Doctors, Prisoners’ Wives, Silent Witness and numerous other TV programmes. 

    "Being a patron of the Performing Arts department is amazing. It’s so important to be able to express yourself and be happy in your own skin. It’s not only about actors and acting, it’s about creating fully formed human beings, and not losing the importance of arts and creativity." Sally Carman

  • Our tutors are proof that you can have a successful career in the entertainment industry, if you’re prepared to work for it. 

    They’ve performed at the West End, on cruise ships and at venues across the globe, as well as appearing on TV. Many still work as professional dancers or actors and all of our tutors have undertaken considerable extra training to be able to share their knowledge and skills with our students. 

    Helen Cheung 

    Helen has worked as a professional dancer around the world. She’s performed on-board cruise ships for Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises, and been on numerous dance tours. Helen has trained in America and Italy as well as the UK, and holds teaching qualifications in ISTD Tap, ISTD Modern and ISTD Ballet. She owns three dance studios and teaches more than 300 students a week. 

    Ina Colizza 

    Ina trained in contemporary dance and ballet at Akerusia Danza in Naples and Balletto di Toscana in Florence and also gained a Master’s degree in Teaching at the National Academy of Dance in Rome. She’s danced with numerous international companies and is now the co-artistic director of Matrafsic Dance Company. 

    Natalie Coverley 

    Natalie has a wealth of experience in children’s theatre and Commedia dell’arte, and has performed in the West End, as well as with touring productions and for her own theatre company. Natalie has a first class Honours degree in Musical Theatre and eight years of teaching experience, including for LAMDA exams 

    Douglas Cowap 

    Doug has had an exciting and varied career.Highlights include performing a musical theatre show in Paris for a year, and writing and directing educational shows for major museums in London. He’s also toured the UK, France and Germany as a folk musician, and the USA and Hong Kong as a choralist and soloist. He has 18 years’ teaching experience, and particularly enjoys developing students’ skills in acting for film and TV. Doug is dyslexic and left school in 1985 with no qualifications. He ended up going to university, and now does whatever he can to support his students to overcome any challenges they may be facing in their own education journeys. 

    Bethany-Jayne Dalton 

    Bethany-Jayne is a former student of The Manchester College. Since graduating, she has danced professionally in the UK and internationally, including performing in Adidas’ 2018 World Cup campaign. Bethany-Jayne has danced for both the BBC and ITV and travelled to 68 countries whilst working with Norwegian Cruise Line. 

    Leigh Hayes 

    Award winning director and playwright Leigh Hayes, has been teaching Acting at The Manchester College since 2002. He specialises in the approaches championed by Stanislavski and Brecht. Leigh has coached performers who have gone on to attend some of the top drama schools in the country and who have since appeared on television and in shows for the National Theatre. Leigh has also toured with the National Student Theatre Company himself. 

    Kerry Kawai 

    Kerry has been acting and directing for almost 20 years. She formed her first successful theatre company at the age of 22 and ended up producing, directing and performing in numerous productions. She also formed other touring theatre companies in Japan and right here in Manchester. Kerry is a well-known face in the Manchester Fringe scene, both as an actor and as a director. 

    Celia Lee 

    A classically trained soprano, Celia moved into teaching more than a decade ago. She’s since taught hundreds of young people, including through Vocaltutor and Mainstream Theatre Arts. Celia was part of a national government campaign to promote singing in primary schools, which saw her helping teachers to set up school choirs. She’s an RSL examiner for Performing Arts Awards (Musical Theatre) and recently began studying Estill Vocal Training to offer even more support to her students at The Manchester College. 

    Sonia Morris 

    After graduating from the Arden School of Theatre, Sonia worked in both theatre and television. She co-founded one of the first black theatre companies in Manchester almost 20 years ago. The 50 Dolla Playas Theatre Company, helped to address the lack of roles for BAME actors and to create more opportunities for them to work with substantive text. Sonia has also promoted theatre performances in the UK and New York. 

    Lucy Oldham 

    Lucy is an experienced Performing Arts curriculum manager, who spent over a decade working in theatre and education, both nationally and internationally. Lucy has a passion for Shakespeare and has directed multiple versions of his works in a variety of locations. 

    Charlotte Swindells 

    Charlotte has worked as a professional dancer and choreographer for a number of companies, including Stageworks Worldwide Productions, Showstoppers Productions, Vibe UK and Princess Cruises. She’s achieved advanced dance and teaching qualifications in Cecchetti Ballet, ISTD Tap and ISTD Modern. 

    Rebecca Tonye 

    Rebecca has worked in contemporary dance, jazz, Bollywood and musical theatre, and has experience of both stage and screen. Along with performing, she’s also an experienced choreographer. Rebecca has been teaching for over 15 years, including at a leading London stage school and youth groups in the UK, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Rebecca is also the co-director of The Manchester College’s contemporary dance company – Delusion. 

    Jake Simpson 

    Jake trained at The Manchester College before moving on to university. He’s qualified to teach all aspects of Musical Theatre, and specialises in vocal anatomy and physiology, amongst other subjects. He’s a tenor and has performed at numerous venues, including The Royal Albert Hall, The ARTS theatre and East Winter Gardens at Canary Wharf. Jake has a wealth of experience in teaching both singing and dance. He’s worked with many learners who have special educational needs, and is passionate about inclusivity and equality within the arts. 

  • When you choose to study Performing Arts at The Manchester College you’ll benefit from our extraordinary performance spaces, state-of-the-art technology, industry-standard equipment and two fully equipped theatres at our Shena Simon campus, with even more to come in September 2022.

    Located right in the heart of the city, just five minutes’ walk from Piccadilly station, with the multi-million pound MediaCityUK on your doorstep, and exciting performance venues within walking distance, such as Home, The Royal Exchange Theatre, Hope Mill, The Palace and the Opera House, you’ll find inspiration and entertainment at every turn.

    And where better to study than Manchester? This city has a rich musical and performing arts tradition and boasts countless theatres, as well as the country’s longest running TV soap. It’s also home to the world-renowned Manchester International Festival.

    In September 2022, our Centre of Excellence for Performing Arts will be relocating to our state-of-the-art, £93 million city centre campus next to Victoria Station and the Arena, featuring our brand new industry standard ‘jewel box’ theatre, studio theatre, performing arts spaces and six double height professional multi-purpose studios with semi-sprung Harlequin floor systems.

    Explore our amazing new facilities

  • Find out even more about our Performing Arts department in our subject area guide or on our YouTube playlist:

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  • Go further with our Centre of Excellence for Adult Education and study a 19+ adult course starting in 2021! 

    Browse our wide range of courses and apply today.

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Top Careers Opportunities

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Actor/ presenter

Average salary: £25k

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Average salary: £25k

The college as a whole has influenced me to work harder and pushed me to reach my ambitions. Tutors have given me more information about the next steps I can take to achieve my goals, including the work experience I completed with my local dance school. They also gave me the opportunity to perform with Jack Whitehall at the Manchester Arena.

Talisha Peach • Level 3 Performing Arts (Dance)

Studying at The Manchester College was possibly the best decision I ever made, I would say TMC holds the most important memories of my life. Not only did it help me understand the Performing Arts world a bit better, it helped me grow as a person.

John Kapansa • Level 3 Performing Arts (Acting)

In one of The Manchester College’s 19 Centres of Excellence you’ll develop the skills and gain the qualifications that you need to take the next steps towards your dream career.

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