Search our site
Search our site

Special Study: Applied Theatre

  • Module code: DA6012
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 6
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: Successful completion of Level 5 Drama or equivalent
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

Applied Theatre is a placement-learning module, which investigates the process of making drama and theatre in communities and non-traditional performance spaces, both practically and critically.

The main emphasis of the module is on developing the practical skills and contextual understanding needed to facilitate theatre processes and/or performances in partnership with a local community group or organisation. The main feature of the module in Semester One is a structured experimentation with a range of applied theatre techniques, which are read against important critical questions. This part of the module is taught through seminars and practical workshops, exploring case studies, key concepts and techniques, critical questions, ethics, aesthetics, and project design. In Semester Two, the main feature of the module is the delivery of a practical drama, theatre or performance project, of a significant scale, and taking place in partnership with a chosen constituency within the local community. This part of the module is made up of independent, student-led research and practice. The student project is supervised practically through placement visits by Drama staff, ongoing creative laboratories, as well as by the submission of research, project design and planning materials. The module is assessed formatively through presentations in class of practice and research, and summatively through the delivery of the placement project, reflective writing, and, where necessary, an end of project viva.

Aims

This module aims to:

  • investigate the definition, history, concepts, and development of applied theatre in relation to key contextual factors
  • explore applied theatre practice through case studies, and experiment with a range of practical methodologies
  • train students in the skills needed to design, facilitate and evaluate an independent applied theatre project, within a chosen constituency in the local community
  • generate understanding of current practice and debates in applied theatre, and the ability to use understanding of key questions to develop effective community projects

Learning outcomes

On completion of the module students will be able to demonstrate:

  • a critically informed and contextualised understanding of the chosen methodology, or methodologies, of applied theatre practice used in the placement project
  • the knowledge and creativity needed to construct a practical applied theatre project based on research (Key skill: Research and Information Literacy)
  • the ability to lead applied theatre processes and/or performances in the community, through the effective application of skills in facilitation
  • an advanced ability to work independently as a professional in a community context, self-managing time, documentation, ethics, and legacy (Key skill: Entrepreneurship)
  • the ability to reflect meaningfully upon the personal praxis demonstrated in creating, launching, and delivering the placement project

Curriculum content

  • the historical development of the area, including key 20th-century practitioners such as Brecht and Littlewood, trends such as Drama-in-Education and Theatre-in-Education, important writings such as those of Erving Goffman and Richard Schechner, and concerns with identity and community leading to the emergence of "applied theatre"
  • current critical debates, including the contested definition of applied theatre, ethical questions around participation, aesthetics and the question of quality, how to evaluate impact, and the creation of legacy
  • key concepts relating to education, social action, and therapy
  • case studies taken from the field, covering key practitioners, companies, and methodologies, such as Augusto Boal and The Theatre of the Oppressed, Geese Theatre Company, TiPP, PETA, museum theatre, theatre for reminiscence, TYA
  • training in the skills needed to deliver effective placements, including project design, planning, implementation, management, workshops, facilitation skills, and evaluation
  • the creation in groups of a research-informed, applied theatre "company profile", which identifies the nature of the praxis involved
  • project pitches, and the presentation of project design and planning prior to commencement of placements
  • student-led identification of a constituency group with whom to conduct the project, and the development of effective relationships in that context, before, during and after the placement
  • the delivery of a practical project in Semester Two, involving 10-12 hours (minimum) of facilitation with the chosen constituency group
  • weekly sessions in Semester Two functioning as a "creative laboratory", an informal and safe space to test project ideas and get feedback from peers and tutors

Teaching and learning strategy

This module is delivered through a range of practical workshops and exercises, as well as seminars, independent rehearsals, research and placement project work.

In teaching block 1, there are three phases. Firstly, the emergence of applied theatre as a form of practice is placed into context through seminars on its historical trajectory of development. The key features of this development, and the critical questions it raises, are explored through practice and research. Practical work draws on case studies taken from the field, and research covers key concepts relating to education, social action, and therapy. In the second phase, students work intensively on the skills needed to design and deliver effective placement projects. Students are also responsible for arranging CRB checks at this stage of the module, well in advance of beginning placements. Simultaneously, students identify a constituency in the community, and undertake independent research relating to it. Phase three involves students being supervised in developing an applied theatre company profile, planning and presenting their project, and undertaking preparations to work in the community.

In teaching block 2, students work in the community to deliver their projects, involving 10-12 hours (minimum) of facilitation with their chosen constituency. This may involve workshops, drama processes, or theatre performances, or a mixture of methodologies appropriate to the aims of the project. The main medium will, however, remain within the parameters of drama, theatre, or performance. Student groups are assigned a tutor as a supervisor for their project, who will visit and observe their practical work in the community as appropriate. In parallel with the placement, supervisors host a weekly "creative laboratory" during class time, where students on placement can test project ideas and receive feedback on their work from peers and a tutor.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching 11x2hr seminars 22
Scheduled learning and teaching 11 x 2hr practical workshops 22
Guided independent study Individual independent study 106
Scheduled learning and teaching Group independent practical work 150
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

In Semester One, work is supported through a range of formative assessment which provide regular feedback in relation to learning. Students will create a theatre company profile and project pitch, reflecting their approach to the chosen constituency, and deliver this to the class in the form of a presentation. Practically, students will present their facilitation skills for review (such as leading part of a workshop), supported by research-informed planning documents. In Semester Two, supervisor visits to the placement will provide key points of formative assessment, and the creative laboratories running alongside the placement, will provide continuous feedback on projects as appropriate. Supervisors will tend to visit towards the beginning of the placement project.

In Semester Two, bespoke arrangements will be made for the summative assessment of practical work; some projects may require more than one assessment visit, others may not. All students will deliver a minimum of 10-12 hrs of facilitation in their chosen constituency. Students' practical skills in facilitation will be summatively assessed through direct observation by a visiting tutor on a minimum of one occasion, therefore. This visit will be scheduled towards the end of the placement. Students will also submit a piece of reflective writing, accompanied by project documentation (as appropriate); this element of summative assessment enables students to submit a research-informed evaluation reflecting their individual, practical contribution (5000 words including bibliography). Students may also be required to give an end of project viva in their group; this is not given a separate mark in the portfolio, but is used by tutors where clarification of the learning achieved seems necessary.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
a critically informed and contextualised understanding of the chosen methodology, or methodologies, of applied theatre practice used in the placement project Formatively through class presentation and submission of planning documents. Summatively through reflective writing
the knowledge and creativity needed to construct a practical applied theatre project based on research (Key skill: Research and Information Literacy) Formatively through class presentation and submission of planning documents. Summatively through reflective writing
the ability to lead applied theatre processes and/or performances in the community, through the effective application of skills in facilitation Formatively observed in class demonstration. Summatively observed in placement visit/s
an advanced ability to work independently as a professional in a community context, self-managing time, documentation, ethics, and legacy (Key skill: Entrepreneurship) Summatively observed in placement visit/s and through reflective writing
the ability to reflect meaningfully upon the personal praxis demonstrated in creating, launching, and delivering the placement project Summatively through reflective writing

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
CWK Portfolio with examination (60%) and essay (40%) 100
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

  • Landy, R.J., and Montgomery, D.T. (2012) Theatre For Change: Education, Social Action And Therapy. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan
  • Prentki, T., and Preston, S., eds. (2009) The Applied Theatre Reader. London and New York, Routledge

Bibliography recommended reading

  • Baim, C., Brookes, S., Mountford, A. (2002) The Geese Theatre Handbook: Drama with Offenders and Young People at Risk Waterside Press
  • Barker, C. (1977) Theatre Games: A New Approach to Drama Training. London, Methuen
  • Boal, A. (1992) Games for Actors and Non Actors Routledge: London and New York,
  • Chambers, R. (2002) Participatory Workshops: A Sourcebook of 21 Sets of Ideas and Activities. London, Earthscan Publications
  • Clifford, S., and Herrman., A. (1999) Making a Leap: A Practical Handbook for Creative Drama with Young People. London, Jessica Kingsley
  • Gersie, A., and King, N. (1990) Storymaking in Education and TherapyLondon, Jessica Kingsley
  • Govan, E., Nicholson, H., and Normington, K. (2007) Making a Performance: Devising Histories and Contemporary Practices. London and New York, Routledge
  • Heron, J. (1999) The Complete Facilitator's Handbook. London, Kogan Page Ltd
  • Hodgson, J. (1972) The Uses Of Drama: Sources Giving A Background To Acting As A Social And Educational Force. London, Methuen
  • Hogan, C.F. (2003) Practical Facilitation: A Toolkit of Techniques. London, Kogan Page Ltd
  • Leonard, R.H., and Kilkelly, A. (2006) Performing Communities: Grassroots Ensemble Theaters Deeply Rooted in Eight US Communities. Kamber,New Village Press
  • McCarthy, J. (2004) Enacting Participatory Development: Theatre-based Techniques. London, Earthscan Publications
  • Nicholson, H. (2005) Applied Drama. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan
  • Thompson, J. (1999) Drama Workshops for Anger Management and Offending Behaviour. London, Jessica Kingsley

Find a course

Course finder

>
Undergraduate study
Site menu