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Unit information: Applied Theatre in 2018/19

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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. This work leads to the devising of a workshop and performance for a selected community or educational setting.

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

Weekly 2-hour Seminars; Weekly 3-hour Workshops; a 30-hour intensive period culminating in a performance and a workshop in a community/educational setting.

Assessment Details

Group workshop in a community/educational setting for formative assessment

One 2000 word essay (40%) ILO 1, 2, 3, 5

Group performance of no more than 20 minutes, for a group mark (60%) ILO 2, 3, 4, 5

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.