Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Drama, Applied Theatre and Education


Program Description

Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Drama, Applied Theatre and Education


This course explores performance that takes place outside of traditional theatre buildings, which can bring about change and transformation with the participants who create it.

About the course

Students on the Drama, Applied Theatre and Education (BA DATE) course learn to make theatre and acquire a practical knowledge and understanding of how theatre-making can be harnessed to change lives and inspire new possibilities.

Focusing on a wide range of practices that take place in numerous and diverse settings – such as schools, hospitals, prisons, pupil referral units, refugees camps, community centres, playgrounds, parks, and nursing homes, in the UK and abroad – the course has a long heritage of innovative and cutting-edge research and practice. BA DATE graduates are highly employable and lead the field in applied theatre internationally.

The BA Drama, Applied Theatre and Education course receives substantial support from The Leverhulme Trust. This unique funding of over £60,000 a year (from September 2016) is specifically to enable both BA and MA applied theatre students to undertake projects and placements in the UK and abroad.

Course Detail

Year 1

Students study and explore concepts and ideas relating to applied theatre and performance in lecture programmes, using a number of different approaches. They are introduced to drama in a range of community and educational contexts, undertake practical units such as devising, and are also involved in a production. Currently, this production is a major project spread over the entire summer term and is a devised performance.

Year 2

Students undertake fully-realised performances in Central’s studio theatres (e.g. Peter Weiss’s Marat/Sade, Heiner Müller’s Explosion Of A Memory, Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis, Genet’s The Balcony, Harold Pinter’s Mountain Language), or playwriting and filmmaking options using Central’s facilities. Further lecture programmes are based around playtexts and the role of drama as a force for change in contemporary society. Students will experience applied theatre contexts through study units and a collaborative outreach project, working as a group creatively in London or beyond, including overseas.

Year 3

Students pursue their own specialist interests further. Units include a dissertation, a final student-led practical project and a term-long placement. The degree concludes with a specialist lecture series delivered by artists, academics and researchers, who are pioneering in the field of applied theatre.

Professional Focus

Collaboration with professional organisations and practitioners is a key part of this course, and BA DATE students have the opportunity to undertake drama projects and to participate in placements and outreach work in a wide range of community, health, education and arts settings within the London area and beyond.

In addition, students have the opportunity to acquire skills in areas such as devising, directing, performing, playwriting and filmmaking, and will also develop and produce their own devised projects that will be presented at Central. They will also participate in a fully-realised directed production presented to different audiences.

Examples of previous productions include site-specific theatre commissioned by the Fuse Medway Festival in Kent, a touring ensemble piece for the under-fives, a touring theatre in education show and open-air performances at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall.

All students attending 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 Staff

Alecky Blythe, Playwright (London Road); Oladipo Agboluaje, Playwright (The Hounding Of David Oluwale, The Christ Of Coldharbour Lane), Performance Artist; Ola Animashawun, Associate Director, Royal Court Theatre; Professor James Thompson, author of Performance Affects; Professor Helen Nicholson, author of Applied Drama: The Gift Of Theatre; Jenny Sealey MBE, Artistic Director, Graeae Theatre Company; Rob Watt, Youth Programme Manager, National Theatre; Pete Higgin, Enrichment Officer, Punchdrunk Theatre Company; 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 Assistant Head of Education (Learning) at Clean Break Theatre Company.

Learning Experience

This degree incorporates a wide range of styles and approaches such as formal lectures, essay writing, drama workshops, movement and voice classes, seminars, performance work, group and individual practice and placement learning.

Students benefit from the specialist expertise and resources made available by the course’s unique positioning within a drama school, enabling students to work alongside professional designers, voice tutors, movement and puppetry specialists, and costume and construction students.


Central works closely with major organisations internationally and in the UK, and has formed excellent partnerships within the applied theatre industry.

In the UK, companies include the Royal Court Theatre, National Theatre, York Theatre Royal, Unicorn Theatre for Children, Graeae Theatre Company, Half Moon Young People’s Theatre, Clean Break, BBC Education, Shakespeare’s Globe, English Touring Theatre, London Bubble Theatre Company and a number of smaller, innovative, community-focused theatre organisations, such as Little Fish Theatre Company and Apples and Snakes.

Some students 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 Azerbaijan, Kosovo, Moscow, Kenya, Costa Rica, New York, South Africa 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 appropriate projects.

In order to support project activities, currently, students have the opportunity to apply for funds secured by Central from the Leverhulme Trust. These funds are competitively available to help with travel and living expenses for particular outreach projects.

Entry Requirements and Admissions

Minimum Entry Requirements

3 A Levels at B (preferably including English, Drama and Theatre Studies, Performing Arts, Communications or Media Studies), or equivalent, 5 GCSEs at C or above (must include English).


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.

Interviews in London

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.


Segun Olaiya

Graduated 2012, currently a Drama Facilitator, recently working with Talawa Theatre Company.

As a mature student, I never thought university was for me. If you had asked me a few years ago what I’d be doing, I would not have thought that I would have gone to Central to study. It goes to show that if you have the right support systems and networks around you, anything is possible. For me, the journey was about expecting the unexpected and embracing it with optimism, accepting the challenge. I feel that many doors have opened that were once closed to me.

Last updated Jan 2018

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About the School

Central stands at the forefront of training and research in the Dramatic Arts. Graduate employment statistics are amongst the highest in our sector, and our research has recently been assessed as ‘Wor ... Read More

Central stands at the forefront of training and research in the Dramatic Arts. Graduate employment statistics are amongst the highest in our sector, and our research has recently been assessed as ‘World Leading’ – and is unique in the realm of drama conservatoires. The ratio of undergraduate applications to places is the highest of any UK university. Read less