Drama, Applied Theatre and Education, BA

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

BA Drama, Applied Theatre and Education at Denshaw School.

This course explores performance that takes place outside of traditional theatre buildings, which can bring about change and transformation with the participants who create it.

About the course

Students on the Drama, Applied Theatre and Education (BA DATE) course learn to make theatre and 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, in the UK and abroad – 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.

The BA Drama, Applied Theatre and Education course receives substantial support from The Leverhulme Trust. This unique funding of over £60,000 a year (from September 2016) is specifically to enable both BA and MA applied theatre students to undertake projects and placements in the UK and abroad. Find out more

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 study and explore concepts and ideas relating to applied theatre and performance in lecture programmes, using a number of different approaches. They are introduced to drama in a range of community and educational contexts, undertake practical units such as devising, 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 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 filmmaking options using Central’s 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.

Year 3

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 in the field of applied theatre.

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

Professional Focus

Collaboration with professional organisations and practitioners is a key part of this course, and BA DATE students have the opportunity to undertake drama projects and to participate in placements and outreach work in a wide range of community, health, education and arts settings within the London area and beyond.

In addition, students have the opportunity to acquire skills in areas such as devising, directing, performing, playwriting and filmmaking, and will also develop and produce their own devised projects that will be presented at Central. They will also participate in a fully-realised directed production presented to different audiences.

Examples of previous productions include site specific theatre commissioned by the Fuse Medway Festival in Kent, a touring ensemble piece for the under-fives, a touring theatre in education show and open-air performances at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall.

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.

Recent Visiting Staff

Alecky Blythe, Playwright (London Road); Oladipo Agboluaje, Playwright (The Hounding Of David Oluwale, The Christ Of Coldharbour Lane), Performance Artist; 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; Bola Agbaje, Playwright (Gone Too Far!, Off The Endz); Vicky Ireland MBE, Director and Founder of Action for Children’s Arts; Karen Tomlin, Director; Vishni Velada-Billson, Director and Assistant Head of Education (Learning) at Clean Break Theatre Company.

Learning Experience

This 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.


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.

In order to support project activities, currently students have the opportunity to apply for funds secured by Central from the Leverhulme Trust. These funds are competitively available to help with travel and living expenses for particular outreach projects. Find out more

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.


Notable Graduates

Chloe Marriott (2013) Education officer, London Fire Brigade.

Roxan Kamali (2006) Participation Officer, Polka Theatre.

Laura Woodward (2013) Programming and Participation Assistant, Arts Deport.

Emma Friend (2012) Assistant Producer, National Theatre Connections.

Becky Warnock (2010), Head of Arts, Only Connect.

Shereen Phillips (2010), Playwright ( Oval House, Talawa Theatre Company).

Chris Stafford (2002) is currently Chief Executive of Curve Theatre.

Recent Graduate Employment

Director, Fabricate London, Advocreate. Drama Worker, Immediate Theatre. Education and Drama Facilitator, Open Minds Theatre Company, Capita Education. Education Associate, York Theatre Royal. Project Support Officer, Greenwich Council. Workshop Leader, Exeter Northcott Theatre. Creative Arts Teacher, Kemnal College. Drama Educator, Bigfoot Theatre Company. Project Manager, Young People Programmes, Royal Shakespeare Company. Education Events Officer, Shakespeare’s Globe. Assistant Director, Royal Court Young Writers’ Programme. Youth and Outreach Worker, Playwright and Youth Worker, Almeida Theatre. Animateur, C&T Theatre Company, Harrow Arts Centre. Assistant Director, Oxford Playhouse. Creative Projects Facilitator, MakeBelieve Arts. Trainee Director, Salisbury Playhouse. Head of Theatre Studies, The Corwin-Russell School, Massachusetts, USA. Head of Education, Hall for Cornwall. Broadcast Production Assistant, BBC Extend Scheme. Freelance Director and winner of the 2011 Elsa Roberts Prize for Directing. Playwrights, Ovalhouse, Tamasha Theatre Company. Creative Projects Manager, Sheffield Theatres. Executive Producer, dreamthinkspeak. Co-Artistic Director, Little Fish Theatre Company. Establishing own performance companies, Milk Presents.

Recent Graduate Further Study

PGCE courses; master’s degrees in Performance Practices, Development Studies, and Drama and Movement Therapy; a number of graduates are undertaking research degrees.


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

Dr. Stephen Farrier, BA, MA, PhD, FHEA

Reader in Theatre and Performance

Dr Nicola Abraham, BA, MA, PhD, PGCert TLHE, FHEA

Lecturer, Applied Theatre Practices

Ben Buratta BA, MA, FRSA

Lecturer, Applied Theatre Practices

Dr Selina Busby, BA, PGCE, MA, PhD

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

Dr. Tom Cornford, BA (Hons), PhD, FHEA

Lecturer, Theatre and Performance

Diana Damian Martin, BA, MA, AFHEA

Lecturer, Performance Arts

Dr. Katharine Low, MA (Hons), MA, PhD

Lecturer, Community Performance and Applied Theatre

Prof. Sally Mackey, BA, PGCE, MA, PhD, FRSA, FHEA

Professor of Applied Theatre and Performance; Associate Director (Research and Projects)

Dr Amanda Stuart Fisher, BA, PGCE, MA, PHD

Reader in Contemporary Theatre and Performance

Dr. Gareth White, BA, PhD, FHEA

Reader in Theatre and Performance

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Segun Olaiya
Segun Olaiya

Graduated 2012, currently a Drama Facilitator, recently working with Talawa Theatre Company.

As a mature student, I never thought university was for me. If you had asked me a few years ago what I’d be doing, I would not have thought that I would have gone to Central to study. It goes to show that if you have the right support systems and networks around you, anything is possible. For me, the journey was about expecting the unexpected and embracing it with optimism, accepting the challenge. I feel that many doors have opened that were once closed to me.

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