Applied Theatre with Young People, Postgraduate Certificate

Duration: One year, part-time, September start. Directing Text pathway: National Theatre scheme.

Award: Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Theatre with Young People (60 M Level credits)

Applied Theatre with Young People, Postgraduate Certificate - Mask workshop.

An applied theatre course with one route, Directing Text in association with the National Theatre. Students work in partnership with young people and the theatres as part of the National Connections Scheme.

About the course

This course is designed to provide a qualification based on work undertaken in partnership with external theatre organisations in facilitating, or directing theatre and drama with young people (up to the age of 25 years). There is currently one route available:

  • Directing Text at the National Theatre

Students follow the same teaching schedule at Central. Practical specialisms are undertaken within the schedule of the external theatre organisation. For the second unit students join Central’s MA Applied Theatre students for ‘Critical Contexts’, a theoretical unit engaging them with contemporary issues in applied theatre discourses.

National Theatre Connections Scheme

The Connections Scheme is one of the world’s largest celebrations of Youth Theatre. Produced by the National Theatre Learning Department, Connections was established in the mid-1990s as a response to a demand for new plays by highly respected contemporary writers for young people to perform.

In each cycle of Connections the National Theatre commissions a number of new plays. Playwrights previously featured in the project include Dario Fo, Jackie Kay, Judy Upton, Andy Hamilton, Sarah Daniels, Sharman Macdonald, Bryony Lavery, Ali Clark and Mark Ravenhill. Hundreds of youth theatre and school groups from around the UK, Ireland and, increasingly, abroad apply to take part. Those selected (currently around 200) are asked to choose one text from the portfolio of plays that the National Theatre has provided.

Productions that result from the first phase of the Connections programme transfer to other venues, appearing within a series of regional festivals across the country. Some 12 productions nationally are presented in a final festival of work on the stages of the National Theatre.

As directors of young people, students on this course select a new play and produce it with a youth company. Some productions also transfer to other venues. This work is likely to be tough, challenging and creative, and it calls for artistic and strategic decisions geared to the selection of a particular piece for a specific context. Students on this course will make choices about rehearsal techniques and staging possibilities, and will oversee the pragmatics of production, continually interacting with the members of the company to ensure that they are developing both as young artists and as responsible members of a project for a public performance.

Together with an accompanying portfolio, this forms the content of the larger of two units on this course.

Download PGCert Applied with Young People Course Specification 2015-2016 (216.4 KB)


Please download the application form available below. Once completed this should be sent to:

Directing Text (National Theatre) pathway - send application form to Central*

* For the Directing Text pathway, an application should ONLY be made by a prospective student once they have been accepted onto the National Theatre Youth Connection scheme

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.


Application form (PDF, 150KB)

Reference form (PDF, 497KB)

Application form (Word, 462KB)

Reference form (Word, 195KB)


View profiles of the academic staff who teach on this course. Click on each staff member to see their CV.

Dr Selina Busby, BA, PGCE, MA, PhD

Principal Lecturer, Course Leader MA Applied Theatre, Course Leader PG Cert Applied Theatre with Young People.


Notable graduates of this course include:

Gemma Woffinden (2009) Youth Theatre Director at West Yorkshire Playhouse

Sylvan Baker  - Associate Director People’s Palace

Emma Dennis-Edwards  - Actress Clean Traverse Theatre Company / 59e59 Theatre New York

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Adam Boden
Adam Boden

Graduated from the PG Certificate Applied Theatre with Young People in 2013, then successfully graduated from Central’s MA Applied Theatre in 2014, now running his own youth theatre and drama school, Bodens.

Already a practitioner with my own successful performing arts school, Boden’s Performing Arts, I revisited my studying at Central as continued professional development. I graduated from the PGCert last year and left with a completely different approach to working with young people, one I have absorbed into my practice. What I learned about using theatre as a tool for development and change has infiltrated passionately into my life and work as an Applied Theatre Practitioner.

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