Drama, Applied Theatre and Education, BA

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Explore Central's Applied Theatre, Performance, Production, Social and Study spaces in a VR tour




3 years full-time, October start


Institution code: C35, Course code: W490


Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Contemporary Performance Practice

About the course

On the Drama, Applied Theatre and Education (DATE) course, you can:

  • Perform in, direct and devise theatre, explore performance that takes place outside traditional theatre environments 
  • Make theatre to change lives and inspire change in communities 
  • Build industry contacts worldwide through placements and outreach projects 
  • Develop skills in areas such as facilitating, devising, directing, performing, playwriting and filmmaking. 

Join an international world leader in Applied Theatre

Applied Theatre at Central is highly regarded internationally and the Drama, Applied Theatre and Education (DATE) is a world leading course that will train you as a highly adaptable theatre maker. You will focus on performance making in diverse settings such as community centres, parks, prisons, pupil referral units, refugee camps, hospitals, playgrounds, schools and nursing homes, in the UK and abroad. Such innovative work aims to bring about change in communities and participants from all walks of life.  

We believe that excellent professional applied drama theatre makers are skilled practically, intellectually  and come from a diverse set of backgrounds themselves. We work with you to help you meet the challenge of developing your practice and intellectual abilities. You will have the opportunity to develop skills in areas such as facilitating, devising, directing, performing, playwriting and filmmaking.

An experience tailored to you

The course offers an unparalleled breadth of experience, tailored to your developing aspirations. Whilst lively debate and energetic discussion are a cornerstone of the course, you will have the opportunity to participate in professional quality, fully-realised directed productions, for example a commissioned site-specific show and touring ensemble works, a show for young audiences, or a theatre in education show in the north of England. Alongside performance work in the community, you will have the opportunity to make and show work at Central.

Work alongside industry professionals

As you progress, you develop your own creative performance making skills and show, in small groups, performance-based projects for specific communities and groups.

You will work alongside visiting professional practitioners, playwrights, filmmakers and applied theatre specialists from organisations which have, in the past, included Tamasha Theatre Company, Royal Court Theatre, Complicite, Talawa Theatre Company, London Bubble Theatre Company, Greenwich and Lewisham Young People’s Theatre and Synergy Theatre Project. 

You will learn through a programme of performance making, formal lectures, essay writing, workshops, skills sessions, movement and voice classes, seminars, group and individual practice and placements. Being at Central means you benefit from the specialist expertise and resources available because of the course’s distinctive positioning within a drama school. 

Variation and exploration

You may have the opportunity to travel and explore the use of drama in diverse community settings. In recent years, students have undertaken projects in places such as New York, Johannesburg, Bulawayo, Hong Kong, Santiago de Chile and Mumbai. Most of this work is undertaken in partnership with international arts organisations, which work closely with course tutors and students to design, develop and deliver projects. Central has the only applied theatre courses on which students have access to funding from the Leverhulme Trust to support these distance projects (see below).  

As an Applied Theatre Graduate

Graduates from this course are uniquely placed for a broad range of different career paths, going on to pursue careers in performance, directing and drama facilitation, and educational roles in theatre companies, for example. DATE graduates are highly employable and lead the field in applied theatre internationally. They have high-level professional skills because Central works in collaboration with many professional organisations and practitioners. There is also financial support available for participation in placements and outreach work in many arts, community, health or education settings within London and beyond. 

Leverhulme Funding for Applied Theatre students

Find out more about how The Leverhulme Trust is providing major funding for the many exciting Applied Theatre student projects.

Interested in applying for 2020?

You can still apply for this course and be considered through UCAS despite them classing your application as 'late'. You can also register your interest in 2020 entry here and our Admissions Team will then contact you about interview options and further details. 

Course Detail

YEAR 1: Exploration of practical and theoretical perspectives

  • Exploration of practical and theoretical perspectives: study practices, concepts and ideas relating to drama, applied theatre and performance.
  • You'll be involved in a full-scale production.
  • Understand how drama works in a range of community and educational contexts.

YEAR 2: Studio-based explorations of theatre texts

  • Studio-based explorations of theatre texts in Central’s studio theatres (e.g. Simon Stephens’ Pornography, Heiner Müller’s Explosion Of A Memory, Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis, Harold Pinter’s Mountain Language)
  • Or playwriting and filmmaking options using Central’s facilities
  • Develop your intellectual skills by studying units based on playtexts and the role of drama as a force for change in contemporary society
  • You will design and deliver a collaborative outreach project, working as a group creatively in London or beyond, including overseas.

YEAR 3: Focus on professional development

  • You will pursue your own specialist interests further as a creative professional. 
  • Work in a professional organisation for a term, collaborate one-to-one with a tutor on an extended piece of writing, and pitch, devise, perform and evaluate a final student-led practical project.
  • The degree concludes with a specialist lecture series delivered by artists, academics and researchers, who are pioneering in the field of applied theatre.


Assessment is carefully integrated into the experience of learning and you are encouraged to place your own experiences and practice at the heart of your studies. The assessment methods include presentations, practice, drama workshops, research projects, traditional essays, a dissertation and professional placement work, which is assessed by professionals working in the industry.

Download BA DATE Programme Specification 2019-2020.pdf (1.24 MB)

Entry Requirements and Admissions

Minimum Entry Requirements

Our standard academic entry requirements range between 120 and 96 UCAS tariff points. You can see how many tariff points your qualifications would gain on the UCAS Tariff Calculator. International qualifications and others not covered within the UCAS tariff can also be accepted. Please email us if you need further clarification.

Please note that we may make lower offers (including unconditional) to exceptional candidates and those who have alternative or prior experience to offer. All candidates are invited to interview, which is a key factor in determining who is accepted on to the course.


For details of admission with academic credit see Undergraduate Applications.

Application Details

We look for these qualities in applicants:

  • an interest in theatre and performance in different social and cultural settings (e.g. community theatre and theatre in prisons)
  • good academic abilities in reading, analysis and writing
  • an enquiring mind
  • a collaborative, supportive approach to practical work
  • practical drama skills (e.g. in performance)
  • the ability to reflect constructively
  • a commitment to equality of opportunity in society
  • leadership skills
  • creativity, flexibility, focus and professional conduct.

We particularly encourage applications from groups currently under-represented in higher education, such as students with disabilities and members of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups. Find out more information on Central’s commitment to equality and diversity.


Find out more about the interview process for this course.

International Interviews

Each year Central hosts a number of interviews outside of the UK, with a team of tutors from Central travelling to meet applicants. The international interviews are designed to replicate the London-based interview experience in every aspect (other than a tour of our site!). See our Event Finder for listings of upcoming interview locations and dates.

International Students

Visit the International Students section to view details of English language requirements for Central's courses.

Industry Placements

BA DATE works closely with major organisations internationally and in the UK, and has excellent partnerships within the applied theatre industry: 

  • Your experiences with industry will vary from small-scale collaborative practice to peer-professional placements
  • Professional companies are also invited to create new practice with you, either on-site at Central, or at off-site theatre venues and performance spaces
  • You will have one major placement in Year Three and undertake experience in a professional context in Year Two.

In the UK, companies have previously included the Royal Court Theatre, National Theatre, Unicorn Theatre, Graeae Theatre Company, Half Moon Youth Theatre, Clean Break, Shakespeare’s Globe, London Bubble Theatre Company and a number of smaller, innovative, community-focused theatre organisations, such as Little Fish Theatre Company.

Throughout the degree you will have the opportunity to work in collaboration with a wide range of industry professionals, from visiting lecturers and workshops by leading practitioners and academics in the field of applied theatre, to creating projects and performances with professional companies and artists.

The course nurtures relationships with local, national and international community and educational arts organisations, from Tender in London (involved in the prevention of domestic violence and sexual abuse) to Sibikwa Arts Centre in Benoni, South Africa, and from Camden Carers in London (involved in support and respite for family and unpaid carers) to Stage Left, supporting both teachers and slum dwellers in Mumbai, as well as a wide range of theatre, education and arts organisations nationally.

Students have also participated in staff-led research projects and workshops led by artists from companies such as Graeae Theatre Company, Theatre Company Blah Blah Blah, Ice and Fire Theatre Company, Punchdrunk Theatre Company, National Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre.

All students participating in placements will be required to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. This is a mandatory government safeguarding scheme for all those seeking to work in any capacity with minors or vulnerable adults.

Recent Visiting Professionals

Alecky Blythe, Playwright (London Road); Oladipo Agboluaje, Playwright (The Hounding Of David Oluwale, The Christ Of Coldharbour Lane), Performance Artist; Ola Animashawun, Artistic Associate, Royal Court Theatre; Stella Duffy, Co-Director of Fun Palaces; Divya Bhatia, Stage Left, Mumbai; Professor James Thompson, author of Performance Affects; Professor Helen Nicholson, author of Applied Drama: The Gift Of Theatre; Amit Sharma, Graeae Theatre Company; Rob Watt, Youth Programme Manager, National Theatre; Evan Placey, Playwright; Terry O’Leary, Associate Artist, Cardboard Citizens; Bola Agbaje, Playwright (Gone Too Far!, Off The Endz); Vicky Ireland MBE, Director and Founder of Action for Children’s Arts; Karen Tomlin, Director; Vishni Velada-Billson, Director and Deputy Head of Education (Learning) at Clean Break Theatre Company.

Graduate Employment

Graduate employment and career pathways include:

  • Director, Fabricate Theatre, Advocreate.
  • Drama Worker, Immediate Theatre.
  • Education and Drama Facilitator, Open Minds Theatre Company, Capita Education.
  • Education Associate, York Theatre Royal.
  • Project Support Officer, Greenwich Council.
  • Workshop Leader, Exeter Northcott Theatre.
  • Creative Arts Teacher, Kemnal College.
  • Drama Educator, Bigfoot Theatre Company.
  • Project Manager, Young People Programmes, Royal Shakespeare Company.
  • Education Events Officer, Shakespeare’s Globe.
  • Assistant Director, Royal Court Young Writers’ Programme.
  • Youth and Outreach Worker, Playwright and Youth Worker, Almeida Theatre.
  • Animateur, C&T Theatre Company, Harrow Arts Centre.
  • Assistant Director, Oxford Playhouse.
  • Creative Projects Facilitator, MakeBelieve Arts.
  • Trainee Director, Salisbury Playhouse.
  • Head of Theatre Studies, The Corwin- Russell School, Massachusetts, USA.
  • Head of Education, Hall for Cornwall.
  • Associate Director, Birmingham Rep.
  • Broadcast Production Assistant, BBC Extend Scheme.
  • Freelance Director, Ovalhouse, Tamasha Theatre Company.
  • Creative Projects Manager, Sheffield Theatres.
  • Executive Producer, dreamthinkspeak.
  • Co-Artistic Director, Little Fish Theatre Company.
  • Founder members of companies, Milk Presents, Full House.
  • Recent further study, teacher training courses, master’s degrees in Performance Practices, Development Studies, and Drama and Movement Therapy. PhDs at Central and other universities.

Notable Graduates

Kate Duffy (2013) co-runs, with fellow graduate Pavlos Christodoulou, Phosphoros Theatre, a London based company that makes political performance starring refugee and asylum-seeking actors. Their first show, Dear Home Office, was shortlisted for the Amnesty Freedom of Expression Award in 2016.

Romana Flello (2012) is Young Court Manager at Royal Court, encouraging young people to access the building and to create pathways into the theatre industry through providing new writing, performance and producing opportunities.

Liam Harris (2013) is Head of Drama at Hurstpierpoint College.

Noor Ishak (BA DATE 2013) is the Community Arts Manager of an NGO in Singapore, working to rebuild family relationships for people with dementia and their care givers, and is also directing and writing forum theatre for young people. 

Roxan Kamali (2006) is Community Engagement Producer for Talawa Theatre Company. Roxan has worked across the arts education field specialising in working with young people and those with additional needs. She has worked with Boundless Theatre, Kiln Theatre, The Ambassadors Theatre Group, and Hoxton Hall Theatre, and was also previously Artistic Director and CEO of the East End Shed.

Rob Lehmann (2014) is now Director of Lyric Hammersmith's Young Lyric, which has a national reputation for its ground-breaking work running extensive school initiatives and sector leading specialist programmes for young people. Prior to this he was Head of Participation within the award-winning Taking Part department of The Young Vic.

Kimberley Matthews (BA DATE 2008) is the Deputy Head at Primary Pupil Referral Unit in Hackney, teaching Drama and English to Year 1-13.

Bhavik Parmar (2014) is Senior Education Officer at Birmingham Repertory Theatre engaging with over twenty schools and universities all year round, providing one-off workshops and specially designed projects. He is also Director of Panorama Drama, creating tailor-made drama workshops for young people.

Shereen Jasmin Phillips (2010) is Director of The Young Vic's Taking Part, which engages over 15,000 young people a year, offering free tickets to Young Vic shows and running a wide range of outreach and widening participation projects. She is also a Trustee for Talawa Theatre Company, and as a playwright took part in the Royal Court Young Writers Programme.

Leo J Skilbeck (2010) is a Writer, Director, Creator and Screenwriter, and is the Artistic Director of Milk Presents, an Associate Company of Derby Theatre. From cabaret Chekhov (THE BEAR/ THE PROPOSAL, Young Vic) to drag king plays, (JOAN, winner of Off West End Award and Fringe First Award), Leo's work centres queer and trans experiences. Leo is also a leading trainer for venues and organisations to enable them to make positive change and welcome trans and queer audiences and artists into venues and spaces.

Chris Stafford (2002) was appointed CEO of Leicester Curve in 2015, and in partnership with Nikolai Foster, and is responsible for the strategic leadership of the organisation. Under Chris' leadership, Curve has developed a reputation as a leading producing theatre in the UK and a destination venue for producers to open major touring productions, recent productions launched at Curve include Miss Saigon and Matilda The Musical.

Staff on the Course

View profiles of the academic staff who teach on this course. Click on each staff member to find out more about them.

Dr. Stephen Farrier, BA, MA, PhD, FHEA

Reader in Theatre and Performance

Dr Nicola Abraham, BA, MA, PhD, PGCert TLHE, FHEA

Lecturer, Applied Theatre Practices

Ben Buratta BA, MA, FRSA

Lecturer, Applied Theatre Practices

Dr Selina Busby, BA, PGCE, MA, PhD

Principal Lecturer, Course Leader MA Applied Theatre, Course Leader PG Cert Applied Theatre with Young People.

Dr Sylvan Baker MA, PhD, FRSA

Lecturer Community Performance Applied Theatre

Dr. Tom Cornford, BA (Hons), PhD, FHEA

Senior Lecturer, Theatre and Performance

Dr. Diana Damian Martin BA, MA, PhD, AFHEA

Senior Lecturer, Performance Arts

Dr. Katharine Low, MA (Hons), MA, PhD

Senior Lecturer, Community Performance and Applied Theatre

Prof. Sally Mackey, BA, PGCE, MA, PhD, FRSA, FHEA

Professor of Applied Theatre and Performance; Associate Director (Research and Projects)

Dr Amanda Stuart Fisher, BA, PGCE, MA, PHD

Reader in Contemporary Theatre and Performance, Course Leader Writing for Performance

Dr. Gareth White, BA, PhD, FHEA

Reader in Theatre and Performance
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