Performing Arts, Production Arts, Drama and Theatre Studies At Lewes 6th Form College

Lewes has a long established and unique reputation for the Performing Arts. It was one of the first Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) in the Performing Arts and Entertainment Industries in the UK. This status recognised our commitment to innovative and excellent teaching and learning.

Our purpose-built Performing Arts Centre is a busy and exciting environment, where you are able to explore the challenges that will face you in the 21st century, and to acquire and improve the learning and skills that you will need to succeed.

Our staff have a wide range of vocational experience and academic knowledge, as well as an infectious enthusiasm and passion for their subject. In our vibrant and creative department we constantly seek not only to maintain, but to develop, and improve ideas and standards.

This is reflected in the continuing excellent achievements of our students, which are amongst the best in the country, and their high rates of progression into Drama Schools, Higher Education and the Performance Industry.


Sussex Downs College & Lewes Youth Theatre





On Friday the 5th of June 2015, the vast echoing tunnels of Newhaven Fort will be an experience to remember, as the Beowulf story is re-lived with a modern interpretation…

Production Arts, TV and Film Production and Performing Arts Students from Sussex Downs College and Lewes Youth Theatre (LYT) have recreated the Beowulf story into a fantasy film and a live, interactive experience. 

Come and watch Beowulf retold in a one-off screening of the film, not to be missed…

Fire, Blood, Drums and Mystical Creatures are to be expected…

Be ready.

DATE:  Friday 5th June 2015
TIME: 7.00pm – The Experience 
TIME: 7.30pm – Screening

COST: £4.00 per child (concessions) / £6.00 per adult

Parental Guidance 12A

For more information please contact:  

Tickets available from: 

or contact: 07923982814

An LYT Production


The Performing Arts Centre at Sussex Downs College, Lewes, welcomed leading drama schools to its annual Careers Day on Wednesday 22nd October.

Mark Shayle chats to students at the Rose Bruford stand

Mark Shayle chats to students at the Rose Bruford stand

The College played host to top drama schools including the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and London’s International Drama School: Rose Bruford College of Theatre & Performance. The day was also attended by Bournemouth and Chichester University which currently run successful courses in Acting, Dance and Production. Workshops in dance, drama and stage management were held throughout the day, open to existing Sussex Downs College Performing Arts students interested in pursuing a career in the arts.

Pat O’Toole, of Rose Bruford Drama School, led a session for performers on space and awareness and audition technique. For students interested in behind-the-scenes work on theatre or TV/film, Mountview’s Andy Franks (Production Director) and Kate Hall (Stage Management tutor) hosted a production workshop, giving students a taster on working in the field. Claire Coleman, lecturer in Dance at Sussex Downs College, led a class of 30 students through induction, technique, and repertoire and choreography sessions.

Rose Bruford Drama School’s Pat O’Toole leads a space and awareness workshop

Rose Bruford Drama School’s Pat O’Toole leads a space and awareness workshop

Central School’s Ben Eagle, commented about the day, saying: “There’s high quality acting here [at Sussex Downs College]. The students are asking the right questions and showing potential. This event is great in preparing students for auditions and teaching them more about the industry.”

On the day, students were given an insight into the profession and what to expect from studying at a professional Drama School. The Careers Day allowed students to get a real taster of a further academic course or a professional career in performing arts. Talking about the transition to acting as a professional career choice, Ben comments: “Unsurprisingly, it’s a lot more intense. Acting is often six days a week and working long hours. It’s a great chance to learn from industry professionals and really give an insight into the realities of being an actor.”

Linda Banks (Curriculum Leader, Performing Arts) with Ben Eagle (Central School)

Linda Banks (Curriculum Leader, Performing Arts) with Ben Eagle (Central School)

During the Careers Day, Ben Eagle from Central worked with students on their monologues. “They were really perceptive and took our comments on board,” he says of the experience. “It’s important for students to prepare a monologue [or audition] that suits them. We saw a lot of them here today, including Shakespeare, and none of them felt put on. Students showed a real commitment to the words and how they were delivered.”

As a competitive industry to enter (Central School takes on just 50 students) the careers day allowed students to make vital contacts for their future and experience life in performing arts after college.

Mark Shayle, freelance Production Manager from Rose Bruford, has been meeting potential students at Sussex Downs College for the past 10 years. “Meeting students at this event is excellent as we know the student is committed to carving a career in this industry. Some of them are not sure about what they want to do in the world of performing arts, and that may be down to their age and level of experience. They just know they want to do something.”

Production workshop led by Andy Franks and Kate Hall (Mountview)

Production workshop led by Andy Franks and Kate Hall (Mountview)

Among Sussex Downs College students were Year 11 Lewes Priory and Downlands School students. Maisie Chalk and Helen Wood, first year Drama and Theatre A-Level students at the Sussex Downs College Lewes campus, visited the Careers Day, keen to see the options available to them.

Helen says: “I’m thinking about a Drama degree combined with English after College, as I’m still undecided on whether to go into teaching.”

To the same question, Maria responds: “I want to act, so I definitely want to study Drama in Higher Education.”

With former Sussex Downs College alumni including actress Hetti Bywater (EastEnders’ Lucy Beale), this careers day was a true showcase of some future stars.


Friday 7th November 2014

Theatre Royal Brighton


In partnership with the Theatre Royal, the Performing Arts Department are holding another Creative Choices event in Brighton.

Exploring the skills, ideas and career opportunities available offstage this event continues to be a great success as we invite local partner schools to bring along students interested in a career in technical theatre.

Our Production Arts Btec course is a great first stepping stone for them on that journey and this exciting event at the Theatre Royal gives them not only an idea and taste of what they can do, but also gives them the opportunity to share that experience alongside our technical students and staff.

With our students progressing onto RADA, Guildhall and Mountview, amongst others, there can be no better place in this area to begin your offstage career.

For further information about this event contact


15th, 16th & 17th December 2014

MPH, Lewes Campus

7.00pm all performances


The festive period sees the return of our ever popular pantomimes. Touring to primary schools in the Lewes and surrounding areas, and then pitching up at the MPH for a run of evenings, this year promises to be as fun and enjoyable as any previous.

On Monday 15th we present Aladdin, followed by Peter Pan on Tuesday 16th, and finishing on Wednesday 17th with our version of Cinderella!

All shows of course have the essential ingredients of panto including, of course, fun for all the family.

Ticket prices are £5/£4 concessions

For further information about Panto season contact: 



1st, 2nd, 3rd December 2014

Studio Theatre, Performing Arts Centre, Lewes

7pm all performances


Our Performing Arts Diploma students present a selection of Theatre styles. Incorporating Naturalism, Political and Absurdist theatre, the first year students on our Double A level course showcase the range of styles and genres they have been studying during their first term. It is their opportunity to present their work and to demonstrate their ideas and development, and if you are interested in studying with us the chance for you to experience the work we do.

For further information about Fragments contact

For any further information about the Performing Arts Academy contact either: or

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