Course information


1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Course overview

We will be making some changes to the way our programmes will be delivered in 2021-22 to ensure we continue to respond to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. All programmes will be delivered in-person on campus with some specific sessions within each programme being delivered online in a pre-recorded format. Where necessary, changes will also be made to assessment formats.

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

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.

Professional development

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

Download the programme specification. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

For 2021-22 and 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.

What our students say


"I chose Goldsmiths because I wanted to steer clear of the mainstream."

"I chose Goldsmiths because I wanted to steer clear of the mainstream, and engage with people that don’t frequently have their stories told. Living and studying in the South East really helped me to achieve this ambition.

Prior to Goldsmiths, I was working in conflict resolution with a trade union in New Zealand. However, ever since I discovered the possibilities of theatre a tool for individual and community development, I knew I wanted to return to studying, grounding my practice in robust theory and reflection.

In April 2016, I was lucky enough to travel to Malawi, funded by a Goldsmiths Spring Encounters Grant. This gave me a chance to engage with a diverse cross-section of Malawian society. We worked with young people and prison inmates, and built professional relationships with our colleagues at Solomonic Peacocks Theatre. I'm hoping to return and continue to promote social change. Already Solomonic and I have been discussing a possible collaboration for the New Zealand Festival.

The course provided opportunities to engage with diverse groups of people, practitioners and pertinent social issues. I hope to apply the knowledge and experience I gained at Goldsmiths, by returning to New Zealand and strengthening the Government’s refugee resettlement programme."

Aviva Neff

"Studying the MA in Applied Theatre at Goldsmiths was a life-changing decision for me. This program grounded my arts praxis in community-engaged ethics and sharpened my scholarly abilities so that when I began a PhD, I felt confident and well-prepared."

"After spending my undergraduate years at a small liberal arts college in the American Midwest, Goldsmiths' MA in Applied Theatre was a life-changing decision for me. This program grounded my art praxis in community-engaged ethics and sharpened my scholarly abilities so that when I began a PhD, I felt confident and well-prepared. The close-knit cohort made this a supportive place to learn and grow as an artist, and the vibrant, political community of Goldsmiths inspired me to think locally and globally about my impact.

My dissertation has become a living document that continues to grow and influence my current work. I felt empowered to explore Practice-as-Research methodologies as a means of developing my study as a stage performance one that I think embodies the bold, provocative nature of my experience at Goldsmiths.

I am a recipient of the Ohio State University's "Global Arts and Humanities: Discovery" grant, which has allowed me to develop a solo performance based on my dissertation research about mixed-race women in America. My play, entitled "The Blood, the Earth, and the Water", draws from archival and psychogeographic research that was conducted throughout the Southern United States. This performance will serve as a critical aspect of my PhD dissertation which focuses on cultural trauma, erasure, and the representation of the "tragic mulatta" stereotype in American literature, history, and performance."

Lindsay Bytof

"Studying Applied Theatre at Goldsmiths meant that when I returned to the USA, my resume stood out from the crowds of others looking for full-time work in higher education."

"Studying Applied Theatre at Goldsmiths meant that when I returned to the USA, my resume stood out from the crowds of others looking for full-time work in higher education.

Goldsmiths taught me the importance of collaborative and active learning, and I enthusiastically bring this into my work. Creating a safe space in each room for every student while encouraging exploration of pre-conceived ideas about theatre and holding individual voices with equal weight is only something I could've learned from the Faculty and my fellows at Goldsmiths.

Additionally, Goldsmiths provided tools to be an agent of change in difficult and divisive times, to free myself from the importance of product-based work, to embrace process, and approach each new theatrical venture with passion, awareness and consideration."

Entry requirements

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.

International qualifications

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

If your fees are not listed here, please check our postgraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time if you require a 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.

Additional costs

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.

Funding opportunities

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
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online

Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

  • 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. 

Selection process

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:

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.

Student work



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