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Applied Theatre MA,PgDip,PgCert

MA Applied Theatre

The Course Programme Structure Staff Profiles Why YSJ ? Student Voices


Why study MA Applied Theatre at York St John University?

Your own practice is at the centre of the programme - A central focus is your own individual practice, with specialist modules providing the opportunity to develop new skills and techniques in different locations and contexts.

Establish a professional profile - This programme will offer you the chance to develop your professional profile within the growing field of applied theatre activity, building on your existing skills and knowledge.

Engage with applied and community based projects - Central to the programme are workshop and project opportunities with established partners and locations in the wider community.

Work with people who use mental health services - The Faculty of Arts has established a formal relationship with local mental health services. The project, called Converge works in partnership with the NHS to deliver courses in theatre and other arts. Students on the MA in Applied Theatre will have the opportunity to run courses and workshops for mental health service users. You can see a short film about Converge below.


You may also be involved in supporting Out of Character, a theatre company comprising service users and students. More info... or watch a documentary of their production at The York Theatre Royal. More info... or watch a documentary of their production at The York Theatre Royal.

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Make exciting work and develop creative approaches - As part of York St John University’s Creative Practice hub, this MA programme shares some of its modules with companion MA awards in Music Composition, Theatre and  Performance and Fine Arts. This offers exciting cross-disciplinary opportunities to develop creative skills.

Study at a centre of expertise - Applied and community practice at York St John University is well established across a range of art forms. Experienced lecturers have expertise and research activity in the fields of health, youth, education and community contexts.


What will I study?

The programme is designed to focus on developing your abilities and capacities for professional, vocational and academic innovation. We emphasise relationships between practice and theory, reflection and documentation. This degree is structured to enable candidates who already have some experience of theatre, drama and performance practice to expand their artistic horizons, encounter related knowledge and discourses and develop specific skills in applied theatre.

You will follow two strands of modules through the programme:


Reflective Practice

This element of the MA award consists of two 40 credit modules, which are discipline specific modules particular to MA Applied Theatre. These modules will be primarily focused around students’ own practice, contextualised by examination of various key practitioners, modes or epistemologies.

 The first of these modules, Applied Theatre Practice, invites students to interrogate the processes – from conception and implementation to evaluation and analysis – employed in applied theatre practice. Students will be invited to critically consider and evaluate a range of methodological strategies of making, thinking and doing as utilised in applied theatre practice. Emphasis will be placed on reflexive approaches to practice in order to heighten students’ appreciation of the impact of their work. Accordingly the political, ethical and aesthetic dimensions of applied theatre work will be foregrounded so that students deepen their awareness of the contexts in which their work takes place and the implications of the choices made in their own practice.

The second module in this element, Critical Concepts in Applied Theatre, provides students with the opportunity to critically explore, test and model approaches to applied and community arts practice. Students will engage in the claims made for the ‘efficacy’ of applied theatre practices seeking to understand their underlying assumptions. The focus will be on the exploration of how the concepts and rationales at play in applied and community practice manifest themselves in the ethics, impacts and aesthetics of applied practice. This module will provide students with the opportunity to engage with conceptual and theoretical issues relating to applied theatre at an advanced level.


Creativity & Knowledge

This strand, consisting of two 20 credit modules, is designed to deepen students’ understanding of key interdisciplinary questions, concepts and methodologies in the arts.

Creativity and Knowledge 1 invites students to interrogate a range of key themes relating to the relationship between art and the wider cultural, social, economic circumstances of its production and reception. Creativity and Knowledge 2 consists of investigation into concepts of practice-based research in the arts and the examination of the epistemological and ideological implications of the widening of traditional concepts of research that such developments entail.

This strand of modules is taught cross-disciplinarily with students on the MA programmes within Creative Practice.


Masters Independent Project

Together these taught elements lead into the final Independent Project module, where MA students undertake an extended period of supervised practice-based research.



The programme is offered in the following modes of study:

  • Full-time: One year
  • Part-time: Two years

The programme begins in September each year. The taught modules will normally consist of weekly sessions scheduled on one day a week. There may also be the occasional intensive weekend sessions.



Students would normally enrol onto the MA programme (180 credits). However there is the possibility of undertaking the Postgraduate Diploma (consisting of 120 credits of taught modules but not the Independent Project) or exiting with the Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits).

These routes may be attractive if you wish to update or consolidate your existing qualifications but do not wish to carry out extended research into applied theatre practice.


Degree programme information

Programme specifications »