Applied Theatre MA

MA Applied Theatre is an exciting practice-based programme that offers students the opportunity to develop advanced skills and knowledge in the use of theatre in participatory, community and social contexts. Through workshops, studio practice and community-based projects, this MA provides students with compositional, reflective and research strategies through which to develop their portfolio of practice as thinking & doing practitioners.


York St John University
Course fees
2019 - 20 Full-time Home & EU students: £5,000, International (non EU) students: £12,750 per annum
Full-time & Part-time options available
Start date
September 2019
Humanities, Religion & Philosophy

Course overview

Why study Applied Theatre at York St John?

  • 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 University 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. You will have the opportunity to run courses and workshops for mental health service users.

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

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.

Course structure

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.

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 your own practice, contextualised by examination of various key practitioners, modes or epistemologies.

The modules are:

Applied Theatre Practice. This module invites you to interrogate the processes – from conception and implementation to evaluation and analysis – employed in applied theatre practice. You 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 your appreciation of the impact of your work. Accordingly the political, ethical and aesthetic dimensions of applied theatre work will be foregrounded so that you will deepen your awareness of the contexts in which your work takes place and the implications of the choices made in your own practice.

Critical Concepts in Applied Theatre. This module provides you with the opportunity to critically explore, test and model approaches to applied and community arts practice. You 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 you 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 your understanding of key interdisciplinary questions, concepts and methodologies in the arts.

The modules are:

Creativity and Knowledge 1. You will be invited 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 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.

Programme specification

Further information on this course is available in the programme specification. Please note that the programme specification relates to course content that is currently being studied by students at the University. For new programmes, the programme specification will be made available online prior to the start of the course.

Disability Advice

York St John University works hard to create an inclusive environment for all our students. We offer a range of disability advice services to assist students throughout their studies.

Entry requirements


Candidates are considered on the combination of all elements of their application, including existing arts practice, evidence of critical and reflective engagement and academic qualifications.

For all candidates there will be an interview and consideration of a portfolio of work. This is a central element of our consideration of applications and also an opportunity for you to find out more about the programme. At interview you will be asked to give a presentation which will:

  • demonstrate your readiness for graduate level practice
  • show evidence of your engagement with critical thinking.

We are happy to arrange interviews by Skype for overseas students.

You must normally possess one of the following:

An honours degree at 2:1 or above in a related subject (eg Drama, Theatre, Live Art, Place/Space/Time Based Art). You will normally register for the MA.


An honours degree from another discipline plus you will be working in a professional arts environment or have extensive experience of arts practice. Academic tutors will consider such applications on an individual basis

Applicants not meeting the above criteria may be considered for the Postgraduate Certificate. If successful in work at postgraduate level, you may be permitted to enrol for the Masters’ degree. In particular applicants with a 2:2 degree may be considered according to relevant practice based or professional experience.

Applications from candidates with disabilities are always considered and assessment of their abilities and needs are undertaken sensitively. The safety of the potential student and our ability to fulfil his/her learning needs and experiences are important in the decision to offer a place on the programme.

International Students

International students will need to demonstrate that they have equivalent experience /qualifications as home students (ie same entry criteria as above). If their first language is not English they must show evidence of English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.


For certain activities a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check may be required (for instance if working in schools or with young people). It is your responsibility to obtain DBS checks as appropriate.

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.

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Fees and funding

Tuition fees

UK & EU 2019 / 20

The tuition fee for 2019 entry to this postgraduate course is £5,000 for full-time UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

For part-time options, see the Fees & Funding webpages for more information 

Postgraduate Loan: A Postgraduate Loan is available to help you pay for your Master’s course. Find out more about the postgraduate loan.

A 10% discount is applicable to all YSJU Alumni (subject to a minimum of 120 credits and achievement of a recognised award) undertaking PG level study (excludes PGCE).

Overseas 2019 / 20

The tuition fee for 2019 entry to this postgraduate course is £12,750 for international students.

Due to immigration laws, International Students on a Tier 4 visa must be studying full-time. For more information about Visa requirements and Short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration webpages.

International Fees & Funding

How to Apply

You can apply directly to the course via our ‘Apply Now’ links. Please select the variant of the course that you intend to undertake (e.g. full-time or part-time) as the link will take you to a customised form for the specific course. You will need to create a login and password and complete the online form. Please contact two referees in advance of submitting your application as an automated request will go out as soon as you submit, and your application will not be reviewed until both references are in place.

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