Taught course

Theatre: Socially Engaged Practice

University of Portsmouth · School of Art, Design and Performance

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Entry requirements

A minimum of a second-class honours degree in a related subject, or equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. An interview may be required as part of the selection process.

English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Months of entry


Course content

Theatre and performance can be powerful tools for social change, whether it's bringing historic events to life in museums or working with local councils or the NHS to highlight new health initiatives.

If you're looking to build on your undergraduate degree, and want to use the tools of drama to make a positive difference to the world, then this Master's degree in Theatre, which focuses on Socially Engaged Practice, is the ideal choice for you.

You'll explore methods and techniques for using drama in the community, such as in youth groups, mental health support settings, schools, museums, and centres for older people and those with illnesses. You'll get practical experience in the community, building a portfolio of work you can showcase to employers when you graduate.

By focussing on using drama as a community-building tool, you'll learn how to use your dramatic skillset in a new context, opening doors in your career, and helping you to make positive changes in society.

What you'll experience

On this Master's degree, you'll:

  • Learn to implement techniques from applied theatre, forum theatre, theatre for social change, and theatre for development within your own community
  • Learn the ethics of applied theatre and work with different populations
  • Be taught by staff that have established connections to local community and heritage sites – you'll have a wide range of performance venues and audiences to choose from
  • Gain practical experience developing, leading and facilitating drama activities across different communities and groups
  • Use the professional-grade equipment and facilities at White Swan Studios, including lighting equipment, costume and prop facilities, music practice rooms and musical instruments
  • Get experience with digital storytelling equipment such as GoPro Cameras and iPads
  • Gain transferable skills and experience that will be invaluable in careers beyond theatre practice and teaching, such as science communication and cultural diplomacy

Work experience and career planning

We'll help you to identify internships, voluntary roles and opportunities that will complement your studies. Potential destinations for work experience include local venues and events, such as:

  • History museums
  • Preservation sites
  • Local civic government
  • Charities
  • Schools
  • Youth groups and centres
  • Science museums

Roles you can work in include:

  • Applied theatre facilitator
  • Education officer
  • Dramaturge
  • Arts practitioner
  • Consultant
  • Director
  • Deviser

What you'll study

Core modules:

  • Socially Engaged Theatre: Advanced Facilitation – 30 credits
  • A Question of Research – 30 credits
  • Staging Social Justice: Ethics, Community, and Engagement – 30 credits
  • Performance With Communities – 30 credits
  • Major Project – 60 credits


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • Performance planning and development – with support from your supervisor
  • Performance – this can be applied theatre, an investigation into musical forms for performance, excerpts from a play script, or something similar, performed to an audience at community sites
  • Reflection on performance and feedback – both verbally, and as written work

How you're assessed

You'll be assessed through:

  • Essays
  • Performances
  • Continuous asses

Fees and funding


Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Admissions Team
023 9284 5566