TP5004 - Applied Theatre Practice

What will I learn on this module?

As a staff research led module, you will work in close collaboration with a client organisation to explore the role of the applied theatre practitioner. Concentrating on the needs of the chosen organisation and the aligned expertise of staff, you will learn skills and understandings appropriate to their audience and/or participant group. You will further develop your ability to plan, research, make and evaluate your performance work. This will involve interrogating a variety of performance styles and devising methodologies. This practice will be undertaken in dialogue with your tutors and with representatives of the client organisation, who will help you explore your relationship with the audience and the art form. You will be encouraged to investigate the relationship between the performer and the participant, the staged and the non-staged, and how theatre making functions in spaces other than conventional theatres. The module will familiarise you with the work of some key practitioners and movements within the applied field, enabling you to appreciate how your individual experience relates to the wider cultural arena.

How will I learn on this module?

The lessons will be seminar-workshop based and highly discursive, with the ratio of workshops and seminars dependent on the staff delivering. You will engage in a series of workshops taught by academic staff in responses to live briefs offered by client organisations. The teaching will focus on exploring forms and aesthetics of theatre making appropriate to the chosen audience, and familiarising yourself with the ethical, theoretical and educational concerns of your participants and collaborators.

You will work in small groups that will necessitate you developing and adhering to policies of good working practice. You may work from a live brief designed by both your tutor and the client organisation. You will be encouraged to create and critique work on the basis of that brief or provocation. Visits to collaborate with external partners directly may also feature.

Lessons may also include watching and discussing examples of related professional work and engaging with the working protocols of a select organisation. There will be regular 'show backs' of your work-in-progress providing you with the opportunity to engage in discussions about your own work and that of your peers, which will further extend your skills of observation and your ability to articulate your ideas in relation to aesthetic choices.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module is structured around regular show backs and critiques - processes which support your development as a deviser, and encourages you to further develop your critical vocabulary of theatre making. Small group tutorials will provide you with a supportive structure for peer and individual evaluation of the work in progress, as well as offering an environment for discussing how the work engages with the wider field of applied theatre.

Information and resources will be available to you on Blackboard and the 'Reading List' contains links to websites and online video material which can help you develop appropriate knowledge and understanding.

Written assessment feedback will be provided within 20 working days of summative assignment submission. Access to library facilities is available 24-7 all year round.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
? To develop and challenge your knowledge and understandings of the theatre making techniques appropriate to a specific community audience/client/participants

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
? To propose and/or realise an applied theatre project which demonstrates an understanding of the needs of its audience/client/participants.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
? To work in effective collaboration with both peers and/or client organisation, contributing to the cultural, social and regional community of Applied Theatre practice

How will I be assessed?

Students will share their initial idea for their practice research project as a short oral presentation in class. Staff and peers will offer feedback in class.

Practice Research project (100%) comprising:
• A demonstration of practice (c. 5 – 10 minutes, as appropriate to form of practice and in discussion with tutor);
• A 1000-words (or equivalent) statement contextualising the practice research demonstration.

In response to a staff provocation or live brief, you will work in small groups to develop, rehearse and realise a practical response (such as performance, workshop, installation or another agreed other format) that investigates the intersection of practice and theory.

The format of the practical demonstration will be agreed in discussion with the module convenor. The 1000-word (or equivalent) research statement will outline the critical and creative references that have informed the project, and how they have done so.





Module abstract

This module invites you to participate – and help others participate – in places where theatre is unfamiliar or unexpected. ‘Applied theatre’ is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of practices which are socially engaged and which illuminate issues faced by specific communities. Applied theatre might be equally at home in a school or a prison or a care setting. Working in collaboration with a client organisation (for example a school or museum or youth provision) and to a real-world brief, you will explore the role of the applied theatre practitioner. Concentrating on the needs of the chosen organisation, you will learn how to be responsive to a participant group and refine your ability to research and evaluate your work. The module will familiarise you with the work of key practitioners, such as Augusto Boal, enabling you to appreciate how your individual experience relates to wider cultural questions.

Course info

UCAS Code W405

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Arts

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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