For 2020–21, we have made some changes to how the teaching and assessment of this programme are delivered. Find out more
Develop your ability to contextualise, critique, and create. This MA addresses the historical, political, theoretical and ethical issues of applied theatre, and explores the ways in which theatre and performance are created by diverse groups of people.
Why study the MA Applied Theatre at Goldsmiths?
- The Masters is aimed at early-career 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.
- Develop your skills as a collaborative, responsive, imaginative, politically engaged and culturally-aware artist practitioner.
- Explore how theatre is created in schools, on the streets, in children’s homes, care homes, conflict zones, creches, youth clubs, prisons, women’s refuges, and refugee centres – anywhere groups of people meet and interact.
- The degree is structured so that practice and theory constantly respond to one another through practical classes and seminars. You will undertake a placement in a recognised host organisation, where you'll work with experienced practitioners and learn how participatory arts organisations function, from an insider’s perspective.
- Learn about the dynamic and ever-changing field of applied theatre: an umbrella term for a range of performance forms concerned with personal and social change. The term embraces everything from the theatre of the oppressed and prison theatre, to theatre-in-education and theatre for development.
- You will have the opportunity to explore case studies from the UK and around the globe, using them to inform discussions on questions of identity, representation, health, equality, human rights, aesthetics, and the role of the artist, among many others.
- You will work with and learn from tutors who are practising artists in a variety of performance, community and social settings.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Sue Mayo.
What you'll study
For 2020–21, we have made some changes to how the teaching and assessment of certain programmes are delivered. To check what changes affect this programme, please visit the Programme Changes page
Histories Theories and Contexts
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 masks in Prisons, Drama and Theatre in Education techniques with Gail Babb, intergenerational arts practices with Course Director Sue Mayo, and the use of Drama with Refugees and Asylum Seekers. Throughout this term, students are also engaged in skills-sharing sessions in order to pool their knowledge and expertise.
Practice-based classes are linked to a contextual strand, taught through seminars, that enables us to consider the thinking behind our embodied knowledge. Through a series of seminars, we consider the development of applied methodologies from its roots in political theatre; radical and celebratory arts; drama and theatre-in-education; community theatre; prison theatre; therapeutic creative practices and the legacy of Freire and Boal. We study the growing body of writing on applied theatre and its practitioners, and theatre theory.
In the Spring Term, the module Analysing Practice focusses on the practices of Applied Theatre. 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.
Tutor Raj Bhari from the Peaceful Change Initiative leads a module on creative approaches to Community Cohesion, Conflict Resolution, and the artist as activist. At the end of the term, students design and lead a weekend of workshops for a public audience.
Complementary Contextual modules
Students also choose two lecture or practice-based Option modules from one of our other exciting MA programmes. Previous modules have included, Disability Theatre, African Theatre, Performance Praxis, Radical Performance, Cultural Theory, and The Reflexive Practitioner (which is open only to Applied Theatre students). These are taken in Year 2 by part-time students.
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 practised 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.
Full-time students are in Goldsmiths Monday to Wednesday in terms 1 & 2.
Part-time students are in Goldsmiths Tuesday and Wednesday in terms 1 & 2 of year 1, and Mondays only in year 2.
In the summer term, for both years, there are 5 days of teaching in April and May, dates to be confirmed.
The MA Applied Theatre has five points of assessment:
- a 6,000-word essay based on material covered in Term 1
- a 6,000-word reflective portfolio on the placement
- a 12,000-word research project/dissertation
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.
|Compulsory modules||Module title||Credits|
|Applied Drama: History, Theory, and Contexts||30 credits|
|Analysis of Practice||30 credits|
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
What our students say
You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least second class standard in a relevant/related subject.
You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.
Priority is given to applicants with experience in the applied theatre field. This could be volunteering or assisting in work that is about working collaboratively through drama, using drama as a learning medium, or using drama for social change, among others.
Please note: You must also fulfil our Fitness to Train requirements.
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.
If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.
Fees, funding & scholarships
Annual tuition fees
These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2021/2022 academic year.
- Home - full-time: £8990
- Home - part-time: £4495
- International - full-time: £16950
It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time if you require a Tier 4 student visa, however this is currently being reviewed and will be confirmed in the new year. Please read our visa guidance in the interim for more information. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.
If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.
In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.
There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments. Please check the programme specification for more information.
Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.
Goldsmiths also offers a range of international scholarships including Humanitarian Scholarships for prospective Masters students from Palestine.
How to apply
You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system.
Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:
- Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
- The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
- A personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online
- If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)
You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.
When to apply
We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September.
We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification.
Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.
If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.
Admission to the programme is by interview (in person, or via Skype), where we will discuss your work experience. Please note we prioritise applicants with a minimum of one year of relevant work experience. We will also discuss some reading, which you will be sent in advance if doing a Skype interview.
Find out more about applying.
Staff who contribute to the programme include:
- Sue Mayo- Programme Convenor
- Danny Braverman
- Gail Babb- Partnership Convenor
- Andrea Tuijten
- Raj Bhari- Conflict resolution specialist
Find out more about staff in the Department of Theatre and Performance.
The MA aims to equip you with the appropriate background knowledge and understanding to work creatively and critically within the broad remit of applied theatre. Recent research identified three core skills for participatory artists working in socially engaged theatre practice. These are:
- critical thinking (the ability to contextualise and interrogate practice in the light of current thinking and practice)
- creativity (the ability to take creative risks based on a strong skill base)
- responsiveness (the ability to reflect and adapt)
The course works with these core skills threaded through its methodology, while also offering opportunities to look at the hard skills of planning, documenting and evaluating work.
Our students go on to work in a range of roles including setting up and running community/participatory theatre companies, as freelance drama workshop facilitators, lecturers, heads of education or participation producers within established theatre companies.
Previous students have gone on to carry out:
- setting up independant companies
- working as freelance director and facilitators
- arts projects with refugees and migrants
- arts work with people with learning disabilities
- theatre work with early years
- creative work in schools and pupil referral units
- cross-arts projects in a range of educational, community and social contexts
- theatre education and outreach
- community theatre
- museum education
- theatre in prisons and with youth risk
Previous graduates from the programme have also continued with research study towards the MPhil or PhD qualification.
We have graduates working at the Southbank Centre, the Royal National Theatre, The Young Vic, Brighton Dome, Pan Arts, Rewrite, Ovalhouse, Battersea Arts Centre, the Albany and Talawa Theatre; with MIND, Tender, Magic Me, and Headway.
Companies set up by past students include:
Graduates are also working in India, the Caribbean, Brazil, Columbia, Estonia, Greece, Germany, Italy, Russia and the Philippines.
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.