Key features of the MA Applied Theatre are: exploration of theatre work in specific settings; key practices in applied theatre; project-based study examining specific professional work with a varied range of client groups; or specialising in working with people whose lives have been affected by the criminal justice system.
This course develops your knowledge of the ways in which drama and theatre are used to benefit a range of distinct groups that are key to today’s evolving cultural landscape. Each pathway is specifically designed to support your current practice at work, or your particular field of interest in the developing landscape of applied theatre and drama in the UK. You will have the opportunity to develop your own practice and scholarship. Previous students have included theatre education officers, drama or dance teachers, community outreach arts workers, graduates from undergraduate drama courses (including Central), drama workshop leaders, and other arts and education workers.
In both pathways during Terms One and Two you will investigate applied theatre in a variety of contexts, communities and settings. You will explore the field’s diverse practices and engage creatively with the forms and aesthetics of applied theatre, the transformative potential of theatre and the ethics of intervention and notions of inclusive practice when working with specific groups. The units will focus on theatre practices that promote inclusion and will address the ways in which theatre can be an agent for change, enablement and transformation while problematising these terms. You will participate in workshops and seminars to explore practices that make a difference to people by engaging with issues, dramatising relevant stories, representing role models or possibilities for action, and involving participants in processes that they find useful, informative or exciting. You will also develop an understanding of the social and cultural contexts of applied theatre.
For both pathways, study is undertaken through traditional academic means as well as hands-on learning. Your learning will be guided by tuition from professional specialists involved in theatre in a variety of community settings, as well as the academic experience of Central’s renowned applied theatre and drama education tutors. Students will have the opportunity to engage with relevant research methods in their field, usually presenting their work at Central’s annual postgraduate conference.
Based in London, Central can offer optional industry support in terms one and two with an extensive choice of placement opportunities selected from the city’s wide array of innovative professional companies (including, Clean Break, Cardboard Citizens, The Almeida Theatre, Graeae, Synergy Theatre Project – see Central’s Partnerships for more details. For example:
Applied Theatre (Drama in the Community and Drama Education)
- Theatre and Disability – previous placement hosts include: Graeae Theatre Company, Kazzum Theatre and Extant Theatre Company
- Young People’s Theatre – previous placement hosts include: PAN Centre for Intercultural Arts, Polka Theatre, DreamArts, Big Fish Theatre Company and Half Moon Young People’s Theatre
- Drama in the Community – previous placement hosts include: Spare Tyre Theatre Company, London Bubble, Cardboard Citizens (Manchester or London), Education Departments of the Gate Theatre (London) and the Crucible Theatre (Sheffield), the National Theatre, Globe Education.
- Drama Education - specific drama departments within secondary and primary schools and further education colleges, Pupil Referral Units in London.
Applied Theatre (Drama and the Criminal Justice System)
Theatre in Criminal Justice settings – previous placement hosts include: Clean Break Theatre Company, Escape Artists, Kestrel Theatre Company, Second Shot based at HMP Doncaster, YOI Feltham and Synergy Theatre Project
During Term Three students may undertake project (or further placement/professional practice) work as part of an assessed unit. On the Drama in the Community and Drama Education pathway you could work individually or as part of a small group on a practical project, which might include an arts residency in a primary or special needs school, a devised play and workshops for refugee children in the UK or abroad, creative playwriting workshops with selected client groups, or a performance and workshop on Bertolt Brecht’s theatre practice for post-16 students in schools and colleges in and around London. On the Drama and the Criminal Justice pathway you could work individually or as part of a small group on a practical project which might include a residency in a prison or young offenders institution; a devised play and workshops with fathers in prison for their children; creative playwriting workshops with prisoners or ex-prisoners. In both pathways, you will theorise this work, interrogating its relationship within current and seminal discourses in the field.
The work in Term Three may lead to a performance with a specified community, or may be more process orientated. Recent examples of project work include a community radio project in Brazil, a series of workshops with the young platform dwellers of Jaipur station in India, working with the students in a hospital school in London, teaching English as a second language through drama with hotel staff in Thailand, working on Shakespeare in performance with a youth theatre, developing a range of theatre activities within a centre for the homeless in London, and introducing drama techniques to a special needs school in Ghana. Recent examples of work within the criminal justice system have included an arts residency in Feltham HMYOI, and a variety of performance related work at Doncaster prison working with Second Shot in the areas of restorative justice, TIE for those at risk and devising and performing plays for invited audiences.
You may also work alongside a professional host or in one of Central’s partner placement institutions in your third term (see examples above) or use your own work-based practice, In addition, you have the option to join one of Central's many cross-School optional courses.
At the end of the year, students on both pathways consolidate their knowledge and understanding through a dissertation about an area of particular interest in Applied Theatre.
Routes onto the MA Applied Theatre: Central runs a PG Certificate Applied Theatre with Young People. (60 M level credits) either in 'Directing Text' in association with the National Theatre as part of their National Connections scheme, or 'Facilitation' with The Almeida Theatre as part of their Workshop Leader Scheme. These two routes offer direct entry onto either pathway of the MA Applied Theatre with 60 credits acquired out of the 180 required for the MA. Students with 60 M level credits from a PGCE in a closely related area may also join the MA Applied Theatre with 60 out of 180 credits acquired (see below for further details.)
Each unit has a written and/or practical assessment. Submission of a dissertation addressing your specialist area of interest.
PG Certificate in Applied Theatre with Young People
Central runs a PG Certificate in Applied Theatre with Young People (60 M level credits) in Directing Text in association with the National Theatre as part of their National Connections scheme, or in Facilitation in association with the Almeida Theatre Workshop Leader Scheme. See the Course Detail page for further information.