Creating a new standard in the performing arts


Professional Performance Arts Diplomas (PPADs) are Trinity’s professional qualification for up and coming young performers and are assessed by experienced, professional performers and directors working within the UK’s creative industries — a sector now worth upwards of £71.4 billion per year to the UK economy.

These qualifications have been devised in consultation with leading musical theatre, dance and acting colleges in the UK and are the only qualifications for which the Government offers students Dance and Drama Award (DaDA) funding.


In 1999 the UK Government announced a programme of financial awards to enable talented young people to have access to high quality training in professional acting, singing, dance, and performance skills. These new awards led to an opportunity to develop a professional qualification to assess these skills within a vocational context, and for performing arts institutions to offer access and opportunities for the young recipients of these awards.

This new qualification was put out to tender with Trinity winning the bid to become the sole supplier.

The project

Trinity, working with members from various theatrical professions and the National Council for Drama Training (now Drama UK) and the Council for Dance Education and Training steering groups, and drawing on its own unique experience in developing and assessing drama exams of all types and levels, created a new qualification in the performing arts — the Professional Performance Arts Diploma or PPAD.

These diplomas confirm that a performer has the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to find employment as a professional actor, dancer or musical theatre performer. As part of Trinity’s commitment to reflecting the standards required for professional employment, performers are assessed by industry professionals whilst the necessary detailed tuition and coaching in performance skills is provided by a range of highly respected schools and colleges, with Trinity the sole awarding body of the qualification.

A Professional Performing Arts Diploma also provides graduates with a pathway leading to a BA (Hons) Professional Practice through a work-based, part-time distance learning course with Middlesex University.


Trinity’s Professional Performance Arts Diplomas are now offered at 27 of the UK’s leading performing arts schools and colleges. They remain the only such qualifications that attract funding via this scheme and they show that recipients can demonstrate:

  • imaginative, expressive and technical skills as a creative artist
  • professional employment skills and a relevant knowledge of the industry
  • adequate preparation for a career in the professional performing arts

Over 700 people graduate with the diplomas each year and a high proportion of performers on stage in the West End have one of these qualifications. With theatre and the performing arts contributing so much to the UK’s leisure and tourist industries, DaDA funding and Trinity’s PPAD qualifications are a big factor in providing appropriately trained performers in dance, acting and musical theatre.

You can read more about those students who have qualified and developed successful careers in the performing arts, on the DaDA website.


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‘Students graduating from DaDA funded courses comprise a very high percentage of all new performers in the West End as well as nationally and internationally...’

Michael Grandage, director and producer

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