This MA addresses the historical, political, theoretical and ethical issues of applied theatre and develops your ability to contextualise, critique and create.
Our aim is to prepare students to be collaborative, responsive, imaginative, politically engaged and culturally aware artist practitioners. The course is aimed at newly-emerging practitioners with a background in theatre, education, activism or social change, as well as at more established practitioners who want to reflect, refresh and develop their skills. We actively encourage the sharing of skills and expertise among our multi-national group of students. We prioritise applicants with some experience in the arts, education, activism or social care, and it is rare that we take applicants directly from their first degree.
Together we explore the ways in which theatre and performance is created by diverse groups of people in a variety of community, social and educational settings: in schools or on the streets, in children’s homes and elderly care, in conflict zones, conferences, crèches and youth clubs, pupil referral units and prisons, women’s refuges and refugee centres, hospitals and hostels – anywhere groups of people meet and interact.
Applied theatre is an umbrella term for a range of exciting worldwide performance forms concerned with personal and social change.
The term embraces: theatre of the oppressed, community theatre, theatre-in-education, drama in education, theatre for development, prison theatre, intercultural arts, intergenerational arts, theatre in museums, archives and heritage sites, story-telling, reminiscence theatre, conflict resolution. The work often moves across art forms. This is not a definitive list, as it is a field that is dynamic and changing.
The MA considers case studies from the UK and from across the globe. Central to this investigation are: questions of identity; representation; discrimination; health; equality; human rights; opportunity; access; social inclusion/exclusion; participation; ethics; evaluation and documentation; aesthetics and the role of the artist.
The course is structured so that practice and theory constantly respond to one another, through practical classes and seminars. All students undertake a placement in a recognised host organisation where you'll work with experienced practitioners, and learn from the inside how participatory arts organisations function.
We have active partnerships with many companies, and the majority of the tutors, including the convenor, are active artists, with a variety of arts practices in performance, community and social settings.
In the autumn term we look at the roots of Applied Theatre in Education, in Social and Political Change, and in Community. Classes include work with Geese Theatre on their use of mask in Prisons, Drama and Theatre in Education techniques with Gail Babb of Talawa Theatre, intergenerational arts practices with Convenor Sue Mayo, and the use of Drama to explore Domestic Violence, with Tender. Throughout this term students are also engaged in skills-sharing sessions in order to pool their knowledge and expertise.
In the Spring Term Tutor Raj Bhari, from Talk for Change, leads a module on creative approaches to Community Cohesion, Conflict Resolution, and the artist as activist. We have a short festival of art forms, with classes in song, puppetry and dance- and a residency shared with students of the MA in performance making, working across modules with artists of distinction from within the Goldsmith’s staff and beyond.
Throughout the practical sessions we work with students to develop their facilitation, devising,- project planning and management skills with attention to issues such as group dynamics; power and leadership; inclusion; accessibility; equality; conflict; intercultural practice; safe space and the ethics of touch.
In the summer term students design and lead a weekend of workshops for a public audience.
Histories, Theories and Contexts seminars
This contextual strand enables us consider the thinking behind our embodied knowledge. Through a series of seminars, we consider: the development of applied methods from political theatre; radical and celebratory arts; drama and theatre-in-education; community theatre; prison theatre; therapeutic creative practices and the legacy of Augusto Boal. We study the growing body of writing on applied theatre and its practitioners, and theatre theory. We consider local and international case studies; we read, discuss, watch videos and experience live performances.
Complementary Contextual lectures
Students also choose a lecture based Option module from one of the other exciting MA programmes. Previous modules have included, African Theatre, Performance Praxis, Radical Performance, and The Reflecxtive Practitioner. Our students can also take a specialist applied module led by Danny Braverman, on Disability Theatre, examining the scope and radical nature of disability theatre.
The Convenor, Sue Mayo, supports students to locate and develop a placement in a recognised host organisation. On the placement students further the skills they have practiced on the programme, whilst dealing with the challenges of a professional context. Placement hosts include London Bubble, Magic Me, Resonate. Greenwich & Lewisham Young People's Theatre, Talawa Theatre, Pan-arts, Crisis, Ovalhouse, Green Shoes Arts, The Young Vic, MIND, CEN8, Lewisham Youth Theatre and Spare Tyre.
As part of our commitment to student’s employability, we offer up to five workshops covering various areas directly relevant to workplaces where drama may be applied; for example: planning and managing projects, child protection and working with vulnerable adults, ethics, evaluation, setting up a theatre company or working as an independent artist.
The MA Applied Theatre has five points of assessment:
These assessments count towards 80% of the final mark.
The remaining 20% is derived from assessment of the two shared complementary/contextual modules, which include Disability Theatre, Performance Praxis, African Theatre, Musical Theatre and Cultural Theory.
Explore the potential of performance design with this wide-ranging programme.
You’ll develop an awareness of the performance events and experiences that can be created with the aid of lighting, projection, settings and objects, puppetry, props, costume, sound as well as newer technologies such as digital and pervasive media. You’ll have space to experiment and come up with innovative and creative ideas for performance, while learning more about the theories and concepts that are shaping emergent forms of theatre, art and performance practice.
As you build up your MA portfolio you’ll engage with contemporary performance and arts practices – including immersive and participatory forms of performance, as well as those outside of the theatre – while considering the role they play in their wider social, cultural and economic landscape. This is the only research-orientated programme in the UK tailored towards academic and practical engagement with performance design.
You’ll be based in our purpose-built landmark building [email protected], with two professional-standard and publicly licensed theatres that regularly host works by students and visiting theatre companies. One of these is a technically advanced research facility, and both are fully equipped with the latest technology. A dance studio, dressing rooms and box office are also in the building, and our School includes rehearsal rooms, two black-box studios, costume construction and wardrobe stores, a design studio and scenic workshop, video editing and sound recording suits as well as computer aided design.
But our biggest strength is our links with external organisations, which give you the chance to get outside the theatre and explore performance in different environments. Our partners include Opera North, West Yorkshire Playhouse, the National Media Museum, Leeds City Council, Red Ladder Theatre Company, Limehouse Productions, Phoenix Dance Theatre, the National Coal Mining Museum for England, HMP New Hall, Blah BlahBlah Theatre Company, the BBC and HMP Wetherby.
Throughout the programme, you’ll develop an awareness of research methods and approaches in performance and the cultural industries. In Semester One, you’ll also take a core module which introduces you to key concepts, theories and ideas in performance design, exploring ideas such as visuality and the theatre, spectacle, audience experience and multi-sensorial performance.
This foundation will inform the rest of your studies, including your practice. In Semester One you’ll also work with a range of scenographic materials to develop your own creative practice, spending time in practical workshops alongside lectures where you’ll consider current issues and debates in performance design and the role of practice-led research.
In Semester Two you’ll apply all the knowledge and skills you’ve gained to an independent research project, which could be practice-led or a written dissertation on a topic of your choice. You’ll also be able to spend more time on your practice – you’ll have the chance to complete an individual project, or to collaborate with fellow students from across the School, or work on another small-scale research project based on a two-week placement in an external organisation. Alternatively you could choose from optional modules on topics such as audience engagement or debates on culture and place.
If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
We use different teaching and learning methods to help you develop your skills and make the most of our tutors’ expertise, including, practicals, seminars, tutorials, lectures and group learning. Independent study is also integral to the programme, since it helps you to form your own ideas and build skills in research and analysis.
The assessment methods you experience will vary depending on the module. However, to allow you to develop skills in a range of areas they will include essays, performances, visual documentation, verbal presentations, critical evaluations and reports.
This programme will give you the knowledge and skills to become an articulate and creative performance design practitioner. This could include; working as a designer or director in theatre, live performance, festivals or the events industry (either within a company or freelance), creating your own performance events or performance company, or working in community arts.
You’ll also gain a range of transferable skills in research, analysis, interpretation and communication, as well as imagination, independence and cultural awareness. This will equip you to work for a variety of roles across the cultural and creative industries, for example, in administration, marketing and management.
Because of the emphasis on research, it’s also good preparation for PhD-level study and teaching.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
This exciting programme of study, which aims to develop the craft and philosophy of costume design for live performance, screen, or site-specific installation, is unique in its approach.
You will develop your concepts and creativity by interpreting a text or exploring a theme, thinking about character, movement and the performance environment. Instruction in the skills of pattern cutting, textile manipulation, millinery, puppetry, set design, Computer Aided Design (CAD), welding, knitting, illustration and life drawing help you expand your skills base.
You will work on developing a comprehensive understanding of fabric, costume design and cutting, while exploring the historical and dramatic perspectives of the discipline and the process of performance. This creative freedom and the combination of the practical developing alongside the conceptual, will provide you with a wide range of skills and a flexibility valued and highly respected by the industry.
Postgraduate students are ideally placed to study the interaction between costume and the other arts such as fashion, textiles, jewellery, film and TV, animation, illustration, installation, music and dance, and to take part in collaborations inside and outside of the University.
Thanks to our extensive national and international links with theatre, dance, film, television and opera companies, plus our network of freelance designers, you’ll be supported in sourcing work experience and other hands-on opportunities that will give you real-world skills and experience.
This project-led programme is assessed by the production of a body of practical and written work on an agreed, self-initiated topic which can take advantage of the many local and international performance-based opportunities.
Your project could be led by narrative, theme, or performance medium. It should offer scope for sustained research and design development for costume design. Your study will combine practical studio work with theoretical and written studies, including professional practice elements to prepare you for employment in the industry, and a lecture/seminar series which will examine the wider context of your studies.
Postgraduate studies in performance costume open up access to a wide range of work for the stage and screen. You will benefit from the superb reputation of this programme and may find employment within the spheres of drama, opera, film and television.
Graduates of performance costume have an outstanding record of success within the industry, most recently including a costume designer for British television series Downton Abbey, and costume workers on TV series Game of Thrones, Outlander, Poldark, Endeavour and The Halcyon, and on the films Star Wars and Doctor Strange.