Throughout the degree you will engage with a range of practitioners, performance styles and different playtexts. This work will be explored from both a practical and a theoretical perspective. You will debate issues related to many areas of performance and applied theatre and will have the opportunity to work on a range of devised and ‘written’ texts.
You will have the opportunity to undertake drama projects in a wide range of different contexts. In recent years, students have worked within prison and probation organisations, theatre education departments, hospitals, schools and with many other young people and community arts based projects both within the London area and beyond.
In addition, you will also develop and produce your own devised projects that will be presented within the School. You will also have the opportunity to participate in a fully-realised directed production presented to different audiences externally to Central. Examples of previous productions include: site specific theatre commissioned by the Fuse Festival in Kent, a touring ensemble piece for the under-fives and open-air performances at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall.
The course draws on the specialist experiences of the other courses at Central, including working with designers, voice, movement and puppetry specialists and costume and construction students. You will learn in a variety of ways: practical improvisation and devising sessions; voice and movement classes; craft workshop experience; lectures; placements; seminars; residencies; tutorials; and reading and writing assignments.
This course offers the opportunity to create drama in a number of different environments, within a range of different communities. Students encounter a number of specialist practices and processes designed to engage with diverse participant groups, whilst simultaneously investigating and interrogating the ways in which participation takes place in theatre and performance.
Throughout the degree students are asked to consider theory within practice and the practice of theory, engaging in a rigorous approach to thinking and reflecting about applied theatre.
Central works closely with major organisations internationally and in the UK, and has formed excellent partnerships within the applied theatre industry. In the UK, companies include the Royal Court Theatre, National Theatre, York Theatre Royal, Unicorn Theatre for Children, Graeae Theatre Company, Half Moon Young People’s Theatre, Clean Break, BBC Education, Shakespeare’s Globe, English Touring Theatre, London Bubble Theatre Company and a number of smaller innovative community-focused theatre organisations, such as Big Fish Theatre Company and Apples and Snakes.
In addition, some students have the opportunity to travel, using drama with different groups abroad, having worked on a diverse range of projects in Azerbaijan, Kosovo, Moscow, Kenya, Costa Rica, New York, South Africa and Mumbai, for example. Directors and practitioners from companies regularly contribute to the course, and students may work with them on placements.
To support placement activities, currently Drama, Applied Theatre and Education students have the opportunity to apply for funds secured by Central from the Leverhulme Trust (see further information page 106). These funds are competitively available to students to help them with travel and living expenses for particular outreach projects in which they might be involved.
There is one major placement in Year Three and a similar experience in a professional context in Year Two. These will be in community arts contexts, such as community arts centres, theatre-in-education companies, television and theatre education departments and statutory education settings such as schools and/or colleges. Half- or whole-day visits to other settings will also take place within other units across the three years.
All students attending placements will be required to complete a Criminal Records Bureau check and register with the Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS). This is a mandatory government safeguarding scheme for all those seeking to work in any capacity with minors or vulnerable adults.
You will study and explore concepts and ideas relating to applied theatre and performance in lecture programmes, using a number of different approaches. You will be introduced to drama in a range of community and educational contexts, undertake practical units such as improvisation, and also be involved in a production. Currently, an option for this production is a major project spread over the entire summer term, which generally consists of a devised performance.
You will undertake fully-realised performances in Central’s studio theatres (e.g. Peter Weiss’s Marat/Sade; Heiner Müller’s Explosion of a Memory; Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis; Genet’s The Balcony; Harold Pinter’s Mountain Language), and playwriting and film-making options using Central’s excellent facilities. Further lecture programmes are based around playtexts and the role of drama as a force for change in contemporary society. You will experience applied theatre contexts through study units and a collaborative outreach project, working as a group creatively in collaboration with an organisation in London or beyond.
You will pursue your own specialist interests further. Units include a dissertation, a final student-led practical project and a term-long placement. The degree concludes with a specialist lecture series delivered by artists, academics and researchers, who are pioneering the field of applied theatre.