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Unit information: Applied Theatre in 2020/21

Unit name Applied Theatre
Unit code THTR20002
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Jess McCormack
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Theatre
Faculty Faculty of Arts


In this unit students will consider a range of community-based and socially engaged performance practices that take place outside of traditional theatre spaces. Students will develop a critical understanding of the role of the applied theatre facilitator in community settings and educational contexts. Through a series of seminars, the unit will investigate a variety of applied theatre practices through the exploration of a range of contemporary theoretical and political concerns. It will also consider a range of creative approaches to applied theatre practices, looking at work by theatre companies and practitioners, working in the field of applied theatre. In workshop sessions students on the unit will explore the practice of performance-making in community settings and educational contexts.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course, students will:

1) be able to demonstrate a detailed understanding of the key theoretical and theatrical concerns within the field of applied theatre.

2) be able to demonstrate in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of the relationship between facilitator and participant and how this informs applied theatre practices.

3) be able to analyse and evaluate applied theatre practice both in terms of their own practice and the practice of others as appropriate to Level I.

4) be able to conceptualise and perform a collaborative group project suitable for a selected community/educational setting.

5) be able to demonstrate advanced knowledge of the range of skills necessary for facilitation in the field of applied theatre and an understanding of their practical application.


Teaching details

This unit will be taught through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous workshops, lectures and chaired discussions. Students will be introduced to the central concerns of Applied Theatre, both through practice and theory, before moving on to designing a proposed performance for a specific applied context.

Assessment Details

Group performance project proposal (100%)

Reading and References

Michael Balfour, Penny Bundy, Bruce Burton, Julie Dunn and Nina Woodrow (2015) Applied theatre: resettlement: drama, refugees and resilience. London: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama.

Augusto Boal (2002) Games for actors and non-actors. London: Routledge.

Paolo Freire (1996) Pedagogy of the Oppressed. London: Penguin Education.

Jenny Hughes and Helen Nicholson eds. (2016) Critical Perspectives on Applied Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Anthony Jackson (2013) Learning through theatre: the changing face of theatre in education. Abingdon: Routledge.

Helen Nicholson (2014) Applied Drama: The Gift of Theatre. 2nd ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Tim Prentki and Sheila Preston eds. (2009) The Applied Theatre Reader. Abingdon: Routledge.

Sheila Preston (2015) Applied Theatre: Facilitation: Pedagogies, Practices, Resilience. London: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama.