Life in Essex

Our Essex campus is based in the heart of the county. With easy access to London’s vibrant creative network plus all the various theatres and performing arts venues across Essex, the campus is perfectly situated for our students to explore the exciting world of performing arts. One of the biggest advantages of training at our Essex campus is that we cater for the student that truly wants to focus on their training without distraction.

Essex’s diverse geography offers a variety of attractions, including a stunning 350-mile coastline with estuaries, beaches, cliffs, and opportunities for water sports.  The county’s rural areas offer picturesque countryside, farming, and outdoor pursuits, with hidden villages and country pubs waiting to be explored.

Essex offers a balance between access to the entertainment industry and a potentially quieter, more affordable lifestyle compared to living in the heart of London. This can be appealing for students who want to focus on their studies without the hustle and bustle of a major city.



For creatives, Essex and London host some of the best theatres and live venues throughout the UK. They boast key events each year for the performing arts sector, which pull international actors, musicians, artists and creatives to the cities. Music and dance events also occur regularly, as do countryside and craft days. There’s something to bring out the creative cultural side of everyone.

London’s West End is under an hour away from the college and you’ll be able to take full advantage of this. You will be able to experience all the entertainment on offer as well as being 20 minutes away from the beach.

For days out, you’ll be close to attractions like Adventure Island, by Southend PierSouthend Museum and Planetarium for the stargazers out there, Hollywood Bowl in Basildon, and many more just a short hop away. Both Basildon and Rayleigh have train stations with links to London for bigger days out.

Cliffs Pavilion

The Cliffs Pavilion in Southend is the largest purpose-built performing arts venue in Essex. It presents more than 300 performances each year, including West End productions, musicals, ballets and concerts.

Towngate Theatre

Just 10 minutes from campus is the Towngate Theatre in Basildon. It has been entertaining audiences for over 30 years and is the host of our end of year productions.

West End

Why not head into the heart of London’s West End to experience all it has to offer? There are 39 theatres showing the very best in musical theatre, world-class plays, dance and opera. There is something for everyone and incredible student discounts available.

Gary Lloyd Masterclass

Right on your doorstep in Basildon is the Towngate Theatre, home to an exciting programme of drama, musicals, comedy, gigs and children’s theatre that culminates in a huge panto season each Christmas. There’s also the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend which since 1964 has been home to touring theatre shows of many genres, even hosting music legends like Paul McCartney, Oasis and Blur in the 1990s. Twinned with that is the Palace Theatre, a delightful Edwardian-era building which features intimate performances, touring shows and local productions year-round.

Of course, we couldn’t talk about the Essex theatre scene without mentioning our immediate neighbour London – which has something of a performing arts scene itself. Home to legendary venues like The LyricThe Dominion, and streets like Shaftsbury Avenue lined with legendary theatres, London’s West End is the world’s leading musical theatre destination, rivalled only by Broadway in New York.

Oxford Circus at night


If you love to have fun there are many options for you. Head to London to experience the incredible areas of ShoreditchCamden and the legendary West End with the UK’s most high-profile bars, clubs and shows – or stay closer to home and experience the thriving nightlife locally in Basildon, Southend, Rayleigh and surrounding areas at venues like Unit 7 and The Loft.

Why not take in a show at The Cliffs Pavilion or Palace Theatre in Southend, or The Mercury Theatre in Colchester? There’s also the Towngate Theatre in Basildon. See a film at Curzon Colchester, Cineworld  Basildon, or OdeonSouthend.

There is also a thriving LGBTQ+ scene in both London and Essex renowned for its vibrant and friendly atmosphere with London’s annual gay pride celebrations demonstrating the heart of the culture.

Alongside the bustling high streets of Basildon, Southend, Colchester and more, you’ll also be conveniently located to two of the UK’s biggest shopping centres. With over 240 shops, restaurants and leisure attractions, including top brands like AppleZaraMACPuttshackHollywood Bowl, and H BeautyLakeside Shopping Centre has everything you need to keep you entertained from morning till night. Occupying 154,000 square metres, Bluewater Shopping Centre is the fourth largest in England and is just a short trip across the Thames. Containing 330 shops and restaurants, you’ll be spoilt for choice of dining and shopping options.

Within walking distance of the Corringham Performers location is Corringham town centre, which has Morrisons and Co-Op supermarkets and a selection of independent shops and cafés. If you’re living near our Rayleigh location, you’ll have access to ASDASainsburys and Tesco Local for groceries and a range of popular high street shops. Combine this with nearby areas like Stanford-Le-Hope and Basildon and you’ll be set for all of your day-to-day needs.

Rossie's Essex

London and Essex boast a flourishing and diverse restaurant scene, catering to all budgets and tastes; You really are spoilt for choice. Closer to campus, there is a beautiful selection of restaurants at Lakeside shopping centre as well as in neighbouring seaside towns, Leigh on Sea and Southend.

There is lots of green space in Essex, and popular destinations for a walk or picnic include the nearby One Tree Hill in Langdon Hills Country Park and around the village of East TilburyColchester Zoo and Hadleigh Castle are both great places to explore – and if you are feeling adventurous, you can visit Lee Valley White Water Centre.

Any Questions?

For any questions regarding Essex student life or if you’d like more information on how to apply to Performers College Essex please contact our Admissions Team on 0344 2 646 666 or email [email protected] 


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