Applied and Participatory Theatre, M.A.

  • Application Deadline
  • 12 months
  • Tuition
    Tuition (Year)
    Tuition (Year)
  • English (take IELTS)
University rank #173 ,
The Applied and Participatory Theatre programme is offered at the Royal Holloway University of London. This innovative MA allows you to explore ways in which drama and theatre might be applied to educational, therapeutic and community contexts.
  • Overview
  • Programme outline
  • Key facts
  • Admission requirements
  • Fees and funding


Applied drama/ theatre is an umbrella term which includes the practice of drama in a wide range of settings, such as drama and theatre in education; young people’s theatre; drama, health and healing; reminiscence and heritage theatres; theatre in prisons; theatre for development and community theatre.

This course addresses the 'social turn' at the cutting-edge of contemporary theatre, where new forms of participation are blurring the boundaries between performer and spectator. During the course you will have the opportunity to explore creative and research opportunities in some of these diverse and dynamic contexts and analyse the politics and values of applied drama.

The Applied and Participatory Theatre programme is offered at the Royal Holloway University of London. This innovative MA allows you to explore ways in which drama and theatre might be applied to educational, therapeutic and community contexts.

You will experience radically different approaches to performance-making in both conventional theatre spaces and in non-theatrical settings, enabling you to consider the relationship between innovative performance practices and work in applied theatre. The programme considers the international dimension of applied and participatory theatre, and the local and global implications of artistic practice.

By the end of this degree you will be well prepared to work in different locations and have developed your own praxis and practical skills as a practitioner, workshop leader and artist.

Why choose this course?
  • The course is taught by world leading experts in applied theatre, whose published research includes theatre education, theatre and health, theatre and refugees, devised theatre and applied drama/theatre.
  • You will have the opportunity to benefit from our industry partnerships and our professional links with theatre companies. Previous students have benefitted from working with Age Exchange Theatre Trust, the Lyric Hammersmith, The Globe Theatre Education, Attic Theatre, Bravo 22 Company and many local schools, museums and hospital settings.
  • The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise ranked the majority of the Department's research activities as world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*).
  • Royal Holloway has the largest Drama Department in the UK with 25 academic members of staff working at the cutting edge of the discipline.
  • We foster an excellent research environment and support a vibrant community of postgraduate and doctoral students.
  • You will benefit from a range of unique performance spaces which include a traditional Japanese Noh theatre, the fully equipped Caryl Churchill Theatre and the substantial Victorian Boilerhouse.
Employability & career opportunities

Our graduates are highly employable and, in recent years, have entered many different drama and theatre-related areas, including careers in professional theatre, training and education. This course also equips you with a solid foundation for continued PhD studies and many of our students go on to advanced research.

Programme Structure

You will study three core course units and complete a dissertation.

Core course units

The MA in Applied and Participatory theatre will appeal to anyone who is interested in socially engaged art. It is focused on theatre in different institutional, therapeutic and community settings, and raises questions about how artists might encourage public participation in a range of different forms of theatre and performance-making. You will study three core course units and complete a dissertation.

You will follow a course called Applied and Participatory Theatre Workshop where you will develop your skills as a practitioner and artist, as well as engaging in critical debates about the field. The next specialist module is the Independent Practical Project, where you gain valuable professional experience in community settings.

In addition to the two modules above you will study a shared module for all MA students in the Drama and Theatre Department that considers the contexts for theatre and performance, its histories and practices. The details and assessment methods of this course are being updated for the new year and will appear in more detail on the department website once validated.

The fourth module is the dissertation on a chosen subject within your field of study with accompanying Research Methodologies course that supports students in independent research and writing.

On completion of the course graduates will have
  • enhanced and applied their skills as reflective theatre practitioners
  • explored the scope of theatre studies and its critical and research methodologies
  • developed their understanding of contemporary performance practices and its contexts
  • explored the links between theory and practice
  • developed their ability to undertake independent research and analysis.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Full-time duration 12 months
  • Study intensity Part-time, Full-time
    • Intensity Flexible
    • Duration part-time 24 months
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus
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English Language Requirements

You need the following IELTS score:

  • Minimum required score: 6.5

    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

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Academic Requirements

  • A minimum of a 2:1 UK honours degree in a relevant subject or overseas equivalent
  • Substantial experience of theatre in community, institutional or therapeutic settings will also be considered.
English Language Requirements
  • IELTS 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in all other subscores.
  • Applicants come from a diverse range of backgrounds and we accept a broad range of qualifications.
  • Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway International offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.
Additional requirements

You will be required to submit two pieces of critical writing to process your application. These can take the form of EITHER two academic essays that you have submitted for assessment on a previous course OR two analyses of professional theatre productions that you have recently seen (this should be an analysis of how meaning is created in performance in each example and not merely a description of the show).

The MA courses at Royal Holloway combine practical and academic modes of inquiry, and much of the assessment is in the form of academic writing. We therefore need to see examples of critical writing that are focused on professional work other than your own, before we can reach a decision on your application (approx. 2000 words each).

A successful applicant will usually have the following qualities
  • an interest in the ways in which theatre and performance is used to benefit distinct groups of people within today’s society
  • the potential to engage different groups in creative and innovative theatre practice
  • an interest in, and empathy for, people who may be experiencing difficult and sometimes challenging circumstances.

Tuition Fee Per Year

  • GBP 14200 International
  • GBP 5700 EU/EEA


Fees & funding for postgraduate students
Funding postgraduate study needs careful planning and we advise you check the various sources of finance available at an early stage in your application. All postgraduate taught courses have an annual fee and you’ll also need to take into account your living costs.
Postgraduate student loans
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has now confirmed details of student loans of up to £10,000 for postgraduate study. Masters degrees in all disciplines and subject areas will be covered by the new postgraduate loans scheme, which will be administered by Student Finance England. Loans will be available in plenty of time for the 2016/17 academic year.
Bursaries and scholarships

We also directly support 100 postgraduate students through a variety of scholarships, bursaries and assistantships. Our sources of funding page gives you a full list and eligibility criteria for these awards, which vary in the level of funding provided. Some cover both tuition fees and living expenses in full: others make a contribution towards a portion of the cost of study. In some cases, a combination of funding is possible, for example if a Departmental Assistantship is held with a Research Scholarship.

As well as our awards, a wide range of funding is open to postgraduate students from different sources. Competition for these awards is intense and there are often strict deadlines. Our Directors of Graduate Studies in each department will offer guidance on how to make an application.

We also provide financial advice and support to ensure your time here is as stress-free as possible when it comes to money.

StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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