Riverside Performing Arts offers a full time Drama training course for Christians aged 18 – 30, with opportunities for developing other aspects of the performing arts. Running from the start of October to late June, this gap year opportunity offers training which is designed to stretch and develop trainees into creative, versatile and confident actors who are inspired to use their gifts in acting to share the Gospel message. Training is progressive, with trainees taking greater responsibility in their work as the year goes on.

The training is made up of the following elements:

  • Major Projects: trainees undertake a major performance project each term.
  • Core Performance Skills: Spoken voice work, singing, song writing, dance, script writing and directing.
  • Community Projects: The training has a heavy practical weighting as trainees apply their learning by serving local schools, churches and youth groups through assemblies and projects.
  • Re:Act: trainees are encouraged to take leadership of Re:Act, a summer holiday drama club for 7-12 year olds from the local community.
  • Discipleship: Bible teaching and pastoral support is provided to encourage trainees in their faith, equipping them for practical serving.

Trainees tour outside of Birmingham during the third term, building on the expertise they have acquired. We partner with other Mission-hearted Christian organisations to actively impact the community.  This is an opportunity to develop relationships and create an effective platform to spread the gospel, as well as gaining valuable experience of working as a touring theatre company. Trainees have the opportunity to apply for an internship with the Riverside Performing Arts theatre company.

‘I continue to be astonished by the incredibly high levels of excellence, creativity and energy that Riverside Performing Arts bring to every performance. God has used their fantastic performances and workshops to open doors into schools which we have been able to build on and grow’ – Peter Munroe, Brighton & Hove City Mission.

For more information, check out our FAQs page.

The Riverside Performing Arts course invests in you as a person, and is designed to help you to discover God’s unique purpose for your life… I have come out of my year being secure in my identity in Christ, sure of my gifting, and completely on fire for God, knowing that God has a purpose for my life and can, has and will use me to do His work.

– Martha Petty, Riverside Performing Arts graduate 2010-2011

Major Projects

Term 1 – Story Theatre

Performance training focuses on ensemble work, improvisation and Story Theatre. As trainees begin to explore their gifting, they are encouraged in their creativity to craft an imaginative, vibrant show for primary age children. The dynamic piece of physical theatre created is then toured around primary schools, the term concluding with a public performance at a local community venue.

Term 2 – Documentary Theatre

Trainees research and devise from original source material to produce a thought provoking, issue-based piece of Documentary Theatre. Guided by expert tutors as they grow in confidence and skill, interns create an engaging performance to challenge and inspire a teenage audience. The production is then taken on an exciting tour around secondary schools, with an extended version of the piece being performed at a local theatre.

Term 3 – Original Drama

Trainees receive specialist drama training in character development, script work, writing and directing as they each write and direct their own innovative end of term performance. Coming together as a team, the final celebratory production is performed at a local theatre. The trainees also undertake a two week mission tour outside of Birmingham, putting into practice what they have learnt over the year as they use the performing arts to communicate God’s love, as well as gaining further experience of leading drama workshops in a variety of different settings.


Firmly rooted in our faith in Jesus Christ, the discipleship programme is a key part of the training course, allowing trainees to reflect on their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Bible teaching is provided to further trainee’s understanding of the Bible, allowing them to delve deeper into God’s word and to discover how it affects every aspect of their lives. The course is taught by staff and members of Riverside Church, and includes:

  • Basic Christian Doctrine

    A look at the fundamentals of the Christian faith.

  • Equipped to Serve

    Helping trainees to discover their spiritual gifts and passions.

  • Practical Christian Living

    Biblical principles for everyday life

  • Christian Disciplines

    A look at some of the major spiritual disciplines.

  • Issues of faith

    An introduction to the difficult questions asked about God and Christianity. Also includes the Contagious Christian course. Trainees also meet to worship and pray as a team before the start of each day and are invited to share in the leadership of the sessions throughout the year.
    In addition, the discipleship programme provides pastoral support for trainees by members of Riverside Church. This individual mentoring supports the trainee, wherever they are in their walk with Christ, helping them to discover and develop their unique gifts, potential and purpose.
    Equipped to serve by the foundations laid down in the Bible teaching and pastoral support, trainees are encouraged to get involved in practical serving in the church. There are a wide range of opportunities to serve, from worship bands to children’s work, refreshment teams to evangelism.

Riverside Performing Arts isn’t simply about performing, but about you; who you are, what you believe, who you want to become. The daily devotional times and twice weekly discipleship sessions encouraged me to get to grips with a God who’d sometimes felt too big. All this has prepared me for my next steps in life.

– Riverside Performing Arts graduate


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