Students on the course learn to make theatre, but also acquire a practical knowledge and understanding of how theatre-making can be harnessed to change lives and inspire new possibilities. Focusing on a wide range of practices that take place in numerous and diverse settings, such as schools, hospitals, prisons, pupil referral units, refugees camps, community centres, playgrounds, parks, and nursing homes, the course has a long heritage of innovative and cutting-edge research and practice. BA DATE graduates are highly employable and lead the field in applied theatre internationally.
Throughout the degree students will engage with a range of practitioners, performance styles and different playtexts and this work will be explored from both a practical and theoretical perspective. Students will debate issues related to many areas of performance, community and applied theatre and will have the opportunity to work on a range of devised and text-driven projects.
Students on BA DATE have the opportunity to undertake drama projects in collaboration with a wide range of professional organisations and practitioners and participate in placements and outreach work in a wide range of community, health, education and arts settings both within the London area and beyond.
In addition, they have the opportunity to acquire skills in areas such as devising, directing, performing, playwriting and film making and will also develop and produce their own devised projects that will be presented at Central. Students participate in a fully-realised directed production presented to different audiences.
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. Throughout the course students work alongside an impressive range of visiting professional practitioners, playwrights, film makers and applied theatre specialists from a range of prestigious organisations such as: Tamasha Theatre, The Royal Court Theatre, Complicite, Talawa Theatre, London Bubble, Greenwich and Lewisham Young People’s Theatre and Synergy Theatre.
The learning experience of the degree incorporates a wide range of styles and approaches such as formal lectures, essay writing, drama workshops, movement and voice classes, seminars, performance work, group and individual practice and placement learning. Students benefit from the specialist expertise and resources made available by the course’s unique positioning within a drama school, enabling students to work alongside professional designers, voice tutors, movement and puppetry specialists and costume and construction students.
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. During their three years of study, 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.
Assessment is carefully integrated into the experience of learning and students are encouraged to place their own experiences and practice at the heart of their studies. The different assessment methods adopted by the course include: presentations, practice, drama workshops, research projects, traditional essays and a dissertation and professional placement work which is assessed by professionals working in the industry.
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 Little Fish Theatre Company and Apples and Snakes.
Some students have the opportunity to travel and explore the use of drama in diverse community settings. In recent years students have undertaken projects in places such as: Azerbaijan, Kosovo, Moscow, Kenya, Costa Rica, New York, South Africa and Mumbai. Most of this work is undertaken in partnership with international arts organisations, which work closely with course tutors and students to design, develop and deliver appropriate projects.
To support project activities, currently students have the opportunity to apply for funds secured by Central from the Leverhulme Trust (see www.cssd.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/scholarships). These funds are competitively available to help with travel and living expenses for particular outreach projects.
There is one major placement in Year Three and an 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 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.
Study and explore concepts and ideas relating to applied theatre and performance in lecture programmes, using a number of different approaches. 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, this production is a major project spread over the entire summer term and is a devised performance.
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), or 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. Students will experience applied theatre contexts through study units and a collaborative outreach project, working as a group creatively in London or beyond, including overseas.
Students pursue their 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.