Drama, Applied Theatre and Education, BA: Writing for Performance

Duration: 3 years full-time, October start

UCAS code: Institution code: C35, Course code: W490

Award: Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Drama, Applied Theatre and Education

Drama, Applied Theatre and Education, BA: Writing for Performance

Part of Central’s long established and highly-regarded BA (Hons) Drama, Applied Theatre and Education (BA DATE) programme, this course develops performance writing skills, technical understanding and personal identity. There is a particular focus on creating theatre to inspire change in a wide range of theatre and non-theatre settings.

About the course

Launched in 2015, this new pathway provides students with the opportunity to learn how to make theatre while also focussing particularly on the role of the writer within a wide range of performance contexts. Building on its close relationship with the BA DATE degree, Writing for Performance focuses on socially engaged practice whilst introducing students to the dramaturgical skills of writing.

Students will participate practically with the processes of writing for performance, whilst also engaging with the different theories and practices of theatre making and performance.

Leverhulme Funding for Applied Theatre students

Find out more about how The Leverhulme Trust is providing major funding for the many exciting Applied Theatre student projects in 2017.

Course Detail

Year 1

Students explore concepts and ideas relating to applied theatre and writing for performance in lecture programmes and workshops using a number of different approaches. Students are introduced to drama and writing in a range of performance and community contexts, undertake practical units such as devising and playwriting, and are also involved in a production. Currently, this production is a major project spread over the entire summer term and is a devised performance.

Year 2

Students engage in a series of workshops and masterclasses with professional playwrights and theatre makers and produce a short extract of script to be presented at a rehearsed reading. Further lecture programmes are based around writing for performance, playtexts and the role of drama as a force for change in contemporary society. Students will experience the role of the writer in an applied theatre context through study units and a collaborative outreach project, working as a group creatively in London or beyond, including overseas.

Year 3

Students pursue their own specialist interests further. Units include a dissertation, and a final performance writing-focused practical project. The degree concludes with a specialist lecture series delivered by artists, academics and researchers, who are pioneering the field of drama, theatre, performance and applied theatre.

Download BA (Hons) Drama, Applied Theatre and Education Course Specification, 2016-2017 (984.99 KB)

Professional Focus

Throughout the degree students have the opportunity to work in collaboration with a wide range of industry professionals from visiting lecturers, professional playwrights and workshops by leading practitioners and academics in the field of theatre and performance, to creating projects and performances with professional companies and artists.

The pathway nurtures relationships with local, national and international community and educational arts organisations, from Rewrite in south London (which uses drama to bring young people together and support young people who have English as an additional language) to SNEHA, India (a Mumbai based NGO supporting mothers and children across India).

The student experience with industry varies from masterclasses with some of the country’s leading theatre practitioners and playwrights to interaction with small-scale companies doing innovative work.

Professional companies are also invited to create new practice with students, either onsite at Central, on tour in various parts of the UK, or at off-site theatre venues and performance spaces.

Over the past few years, students have worked with a number of different theatre companies at the Minack Theatre Cornwall, including Cartoon de Salvo and Twisted Yarn. Students have also participated in staff-led research projects and workshops led by artists from companies such as Graeae Theatre Company, Theatre Company Blah Blah, Ice and Fire Theatre Company, Punchdrunk Theatre Company, National Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre.

All students attending placements will be required to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. This is a mandatory government safeguarding scheme for all those seeking to work in any capacity with minors or vulnerable adults.

Visiting Staff

Throughout the pathway, students work alongside professional writers and engage with an exciting range of visiting theatre practitioners from a wide range of different disciplines.

The pathway interrogates the role of the writer within the creative process and invites students to engage in new and diverse approaches to writing for performance, including genres such as documentary and verbatim theatre, solo and group devised performance as well as writing for live art and digital media.

Central works closely with major organisations internationally and in the UK and has formed excellent partnerships with a range of professional new writing organisations and many innovative and cutting edge practitioners and writers. Organisations include the Royal Court Theatre, National Theatre, Headlong, York Theatre Royal, Clean Break, Shakespeare’s Globe and London Bubble Theatre Company as well as other innovative, community based theatre organisations such as Scene and Heard, Little Fish Theatre Company and Apples and Snakes.

Recent visiting staff include: Alecky Blythe, Playwright (London Road); Rachel De-lahay, Playwright (The Westbridge, Routes), Bola Agbaje, Playwright (Gone Too Far!, Off The Endz); Ola Animashawun, Associate Director, Royal Court Theatre; Professor James Thompson, author of Performance Affects; Professor Helen Nicholson, author of Applied Drama: The Gift Of Theatre; Jenny Sealey MBE, Artistic Director, Graeae Theatre Company; Rob Watt, Youth Programme Manager, National Theatre; Pete Higgin, Enrichment Officer, Punchdrunk Theatre Company; Terry O’Leary, Associate Artist, Cardboard Citizens.

Learning Experience

Writing for Performance is a pathway on the BA (Hons) Drama, Applied Theatre and Education programme and shares core learning elements.

Throughout the three years of study students will encounter a wide range of learning and teaching styles, engaging with learning through practical workshops and theatre making, as well as lectures and seminars. A key component of the pathway is an emphasis on collaboration and its engagement with a broad range of performance practices and with diverse participant groups and communities.

Assessment is carefully connected to the experience of learning and students are encouraged to position themselves at the heart of their learning. The assessment methods adopted by the pathway include presentations, practice, drama and writing workshops, research projects, traditional essays, a dissertation and the creation of new writing, some of which will be viewed by professionals working in the industry.

Throughout this pathway students will encounter a broad range of performance practices, key practitioners and writers within the field of theatre, drama and performance. Students have the opportunity to participate and create projects in collaboration with other students and to explore the role of the writer within a range of different community-specific creative projects. Central is a vibrant, contemporary theatre-making institution; it is an exciting and supportive environment for learning to write for performance.

As well as focusing on writing for performance, students on this pathway will also experience the process of making theatre as a performer and will also be introduced to workshop and facilitation skills. Students participate in a fully-realised directed production presented to different audiences and will have the opportunity of generating their own scripts presented at rehearsed readings in front of supportive audiences.

Entry Requirements and Admissions

Minimum Entry Requirements

3 A Levels at B (preferably including English, Drama and Theatre Studies, Performing Arts, Communications or Media Studies), or equivalent, 5 GCSEs at C or above (must include English).


For details of admission with academic credit see Undergraduate Applications.

Application Details

This programme is still accepting applications for 2017 entry, and you are likely to be offered an interview (although UCAS will mark your application as ‘late’).

We look for these qualities in applicants:

  • an interest in theatre and performance in different social and cultural settings (e.g. community theatre and theatre in prisons)
  • good academic abilities in reading, analysis and writing
  • an enquiring mind
  • a collaborative, supportive approach to practical work
  • practical drama skills (e.g. in performance)
  • the ability to reflect constructively
  • a commitment to equality of opportunity in society
  • leadership skills
  • creativity, flexibility, focus and professional conduct.

We particularly encourage applications from groups currently under-represented in higher education, such as students with disabilities and members of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups. Find out more information on Central’s commitment to equality and diversity.


Find out more about the interview process for this course.

International Interviews

Each year Central hosts a number of interviews outside of the UK, with a team of tutors from Central traveling to meet applicants. The international interviews are designed to replicate the London-based interview experience in every aspect (other than a tour of our site!). See our Event Finder for listings of upcoming interview locations and dates.

International Students

Visit the International Students section to view details of English language requirements for Central's courses.

Related Courses

Register for email updates