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Course content

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 and 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.

Learning support

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


Visit the Applied Theatre (MA) page on the York St John University website for more details!

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