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1 or 2 Years
Full time/part time
Master's degree
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About this program

MA Applied Theatre

This course provides an opportunity to explore applied theatre via one of two specialist pathways: Drama in the Community and Drama Education or Drama and the Criminal Justice System. Each pathway is designed to support current practice at work, or a particular field of interest in applied theatre and drama. Students will develop their own practice and scholarship, learn key practices in applied theatre, engage with new ideas in the field, undertake project-based study examining specific professional work with a range of client groups, or specialize in working with people whose lives have been affected by the criminal justice system. The 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 MA and BA applied theatre students to undertake projects and placements in the UK and abroad.

Admission requirements

Invitation to interview and admission will be based on the reasonable expectation from your application that you have the potential to complete and contribute positively to the degree and that you would benefit from master’s level study. You will normally have a degree or equivalent qualification in an arts-related subject and/or two years relevant professional experience. Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to prove their English language proficiency by gaining an overall score of 7.0 in an IELTS test.

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Program content

"During Terms One and Two on both pathways, 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 problematizing these terms. You will participate in workshops and seminars to explore practices that make a difference to people by engaging with issues, dramatizing relevant stories, representing role models or possibilities for action, and involving participants in processes that they find useful, informative or exciting. This 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 in the form of industry placements. Learning will be guided by tuition from professional specialists involved in theatre in a variety of community settings, including the academic experience of Central’s renowned applied theatre and drama education tutors.

You will have the opportunity to engage with relevant research methods in your field, usually presenting your work at Central’s annual postgraduate conference.

During Term Three, you may undertake project work (or further placement/professional practice) as part of an assessed unit.

On the Drama in the Community and Drama Education pathway, you may work individually, or as part of a small group, on a practical project, such as 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 System pathway, you may 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, or creative playwriting workshops with prisoners or ex-prisoners.

On both pathways, you will theories this work, interrogating its relationship within current and seminal discourses in the field.

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 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 center 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 HMYOI Felltham,
a variety of performance-related work at Thameside Prison working with Second Shot in the areas of restorative justice,
making theatre with the residents of a prison in Malta,
Theatre-in- Education (TIE) for those at risk
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 the third term, or use their own work-based practice. In addition, students have the option to join one of Central’s many cross-School optional courses.

At the end of the year, you will consolidate your knowledge and understanding through a Sustained Independent Project (SIP). This is a dissertation about an area of particular interest in applied theatre."


Full tuition for EU students 9164 GBP

Full tuition for Non-EU students 19458 GBP

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About this institute

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama is a small specialist institution of the theatrical and performing arts within the University of London. With a long history of educating and training leading practitioners and have extensive connections across the...

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