Applied Theatre and Social Change MA

Year of entry

Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
12 months full time
24 months part time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) or higher, in a relevant subject.
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component
UK fees
£11,500 (Total)
International fees
£24,500 (Total)

Course overview

MA Applied Theatre and Intervention

This course is centred on the belief that applied theatre has the ability to create individual, community and social change.

On this course you will explore the application of theatre practice as a tool to effect social change. It allows you to develop your own practice with a specific focus on the role of the facilitator in community contexts. You will have opportunities to apply your learning through workshops and practice-led research.

In addition to this, your practice will be supported with expert guidance from established practitioners. The course aims to introduce students to the wide array of practices that form applied theatre including Theatre in Education, Theatre with Refugees and Asylum Seekers, Intergenerational Theatre and Theatre for Development.

As well as practice, you will investigate current issues, debates and theories around applied theatre in diverse contexts such as education, health and mental health, community work and the criminal justice system. You’ll gain a critical understanding of issues relating to applied theatre such as ethics, boundaries and evaluation, alongside structures of good practice in workshop and project planning.

Facilitation training is a core element of the master’s degree. You will undertake facilitation training as part of your induction process to the course, and one-to-one support will be offered throughout the year by staff with expertise in theatre for social change. Leading practitioners from the field will also hold sessions throughout the year to share their experiences, practices and learning.

Leeds has a thriving applied theatre scene, and we have partnerships with many organisations that are engaged in applied theatre practice including Leeds Playhouse, Mind the Gap, Mafwa Theatre, and Fall into Place. We also work closely with local institutions like schools, hospitals, and Leeds City Council, as well as a range of third sector organisations. You will have the opportunity to deliver a project in collaboration with an external partner, allowing you to focus on a particular form of applied theatre practice and its implementation.

Additional highlights

Our greatest resource is our links with the local community. Partnership working is fundamental to applied theatre, and the unique requests and needs of our community partners inspire and shape our work with them. Whilst celebrating the word class facilities on-campus, you will be encouraged to be working off campus with local theatre companies and community groups to practise what is being studied in the workshop space.

Specialist facilities

Our School is based in stage@leeds, a purpose-built landmark building that sits at the heart of campus. As our student, you’ll have access to its two professional standard, publicly licensed theatres: the main space seats 180 and is equipped with the latest technologies, and the theatre studio provides a technically advanced performance research facility.

stage@leeds hosts a range of work by students and visiting theatre companies all year round. Within the building you’ll also find rehearsal rooms, two black-box studios, costume construction and wardrobe stores, a design studio, a scenic workshop, computer aided design facilities and video-editing and sound recording.

Take a tour of our School

Join current student, Eva, on a tour of our building and its specialist facilities to get a feel for life as a student in the School

In addition to stage@Leeds, Leeds University Library is one of the UK’s major academic research libraries, and has extensive holdings to support your studies including Special Collections offering a huge range of rare books, manuscripts and art. You’ll have access to materials relating to Red Ladder, Leeds Playhouse, Phoenix Dance Theatre, and more.

Course details

You’ll study compulsory modules that will ground you in the practical and theoretical knowledge necessary for studying and working in applied theatre practice. You will also undertake modules that allow you to develop high level research skills.

You will also choose an optional module, giving you the ability to tailor your studies to suit your interests and career ambitions.

Outcomes from core and optional modules could be creative workshops, toolkits of best practice, or performance processes with participants. This can be with an organisation engaged in applied theatre, or in a setting where applied theatre is practiced, giving you the chance to apply your learning in context.

As you progress through your studies, you’ll apply what you’ve learned in an independent research project on a topic of your choice. This can be a written dissertation or a piece of practice-led research with a written commentary.

If you choose to study part time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Applied Theatre and Social Change MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Applied Theatre and Social Change MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Compulsory modules

Independent Research Project MA – 60 Credits

This module will provide you with the theoretical and methodological knowledge that will enable you to carry out an independent piece of research in the field of Performance and Cultural Industries. Through lectures and seminars, you will consider the roles and responsibilities of Arts and Humanities research, ethical considerations in research and resources in data gathering/analysis amongst other research skills.

Through supervision, you will conduct your own independent research project. Practice-based research or written dissertations are the main element of assessment, and make up 100% of the assessment for this module.

Applied Theatre Practices – 60 Credits

The module explores a range of practice-based workshop techniques and practices and will introduce you to a range of established practitioners working in the field of Applied Theatre, as well as key practices. The module will enable you to develop your practical skills, and reflect on your development as facilitators of Applied Theatre in a community setting.

The module will begin with a series of tutor-led practical workshops where applied theatre methodologies will be explored, critiqued and evaluated. You will have the opportunity to develop your own facilitation skills in a supported environment, before beginning to plan your own series of applied theatre workshops that are to be delivered in a professional or community-based setting.

The assessment for the module includes a written portfolio and practical assessment. Practical assessment is an observed workshop and makes up 40% of the module assessment. The written portfolio is a reflective document on the work of the modules and the various practices explored. The portfolio makes up 60% of the module assessment.

Critical Concepts in Applied Theatre and Intervention – 30 Credits

This module will introduce you to a range of critical concepts that underpin applied theatre and interventionist practice in a seminar-based format. It will explore a set of key theoretical principles and provide opportunity for you to critique a variety of perspectives, and consider how core debates and discourse have shaped and influenced contemporary Applied Theatre practice.

The module requires you to select one area for further development and investigation, to be assessed in a presentation format making up 60% of the module assessment. Assessment also includes a 2500-word essay, which makes up 40% of the module assessment.

You will have the option to undertake one optional module as part of your study, whether you are full-time or part-time. Optional modules are extensive and cover a wide range of expertise and specialism, including policy management, arts and health practice as well as arts and activism.

A list of all optional modules can be found in the module catalogue here.

Learning and teaching

On this course you'll benefit from a variety of teaching methods including practical workshops, group learning, lectures, seminars and fieldwork. In addition to this, personalised one-to-one support is provided through tutorials on all compulsory modules. This ensures that your learning is centred on your own ambitions and interests.

Reflective learning is a key aspect of applied theatre, and this is also used throughout to ensure that learning experiences support the development of your practice and critical engagement with the sector. You'll also undertake significant independent study, which will help you to develop your research skills and build on what you learn in the taught components.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


You’ll be assessed using a range of methods including creative practice, written work, presentations (alone and in groups) and portfolios reflecting on practice. Practical assessment is predominantly aimed at facilitation practice with the aim of providing feedback that can be used in the applied theatre sector. The content of all assessments are framed to enable you to pursue specific interests that will benefit your academic and creative development. This diversity allows you to begin to integrate theory and practice, in order to develop a range of skills and become a reflective practitioner.


Entry requirements

A bachelor undergraduate degree with a 2:1 (hons) or higher.

You may have a first degree in theatre and performance, media, education, social work, sociology, liberal arts or languages. Applicants would benefit from an existing interest in, or experience of, socially engaged pedagogies or arts, in community or educational contexts.

Applicants must demonstrate understanding of the course by responding to the five questions in the personal statement section of their online application. Please ensure you respond to the questions asked in the supporting statement section of the application. On occasion, we will invite you for interview with the programme leader.

Applicants without a degree may also be considered, if they can demonstrate significant relevant industry experience.


Our admissions team are experienced in considering a wide range of international qualifications. If you wish to discuss whether your qualifications will meet the necessary entry criteria, contact the School’s admissions team.

You can also check the accepted qualifications for your country or region.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Arts and Humanities (6 weeks) and Language for Social Science and Arts: Arts and Humanities (10 weeks).

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. Find out more about our six week online pre-sessional.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply

Please see our How to Apply page for information about application deadlines

The ‘Apply’ link at the top of this page takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.

If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Documents and information you'll need

A copy of your degree certificate and transcripts, or partial transcripts if you're still studying (please submit an official English translation if necessary)

Evidence of your English language qualifications, if English is not your first language

A personal statement in response to the questions asked in the supporting statement section of the application form.

A full up-to-date CV.

Please note that, although there are no limitations on registration for those with criminal records, candidates for the MA Applied Theatre and Social Change in the School of Performance and Cultural Industries should understand that Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) checks will be needed for some practical contexts in some modules. If you have specific questions please contact the School.

Next steps

We usually invite candidates for interview whenever possible – if you’re an international student, this can be done by phone.

The Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures receives very large numbers of high-quality applications and regrets that it cannot make offers to all of its applicants. Some particularly popular schools may have to reject many that hold the necessary academic qualifications.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Admissions Policy 2025

Contact us

Postgraduate Admissions



UK: £11,500 (Total)

International: £24,500 (Total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Part-time fees
Fees for part-time courses are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

You may need to visit partner organisations off-campus. In these cases you would be expected to cover the cost of transport. The precise cost will vary, and may not apply to all students. Most organisations will be in the Leeds City Region but could be elsewhere in West Yorkshire.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

Career opportunities

You’ll be able to set up, lead and facilitate workshops as an applied theatre practitioner with diverse groups of people in a variety of contexts. Applied theatre is a wide field that is constantly developing in response to social and economic changes, and there is a growing jobs market in learning and participation in cultural organisations worldwide for freelance practitioners and for full time employees. A freelance career is also very feasible with a wide range of partnerships available due to applied theatre practice working beyond the cultural sector and working with colleagues in health, education and the criminal justice system.

This course will equip you with a range of skills within the area of applied theatre. You’ll have an understanding of applied theatre and its use to effect social change as well as advanced skills in communication, collaboration, presentation, analysis and research.

You may decide to apply your learning in the context of arts administration or arts policy work. You may wish to further your understanding by undertaking specialist professional training in areas like arts therapy. Graduates from this degree would be well suited to teaching, or to pursue research interests at PhD level.

Previous graduates have gone on to work for highly reputable companies such as Collective Encounters, develop their own companies like Bradford-based company Bloomin Buds or worked as freelance facilitators.

Reach your potential

Hear more about the School and Faculty support you can access from our employability lead, Professor Karen Burland.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Alumni profile: Katie Mahon

There were lots of opportunities to attend employability sessions, some of which have stayed with me and allowed me to make contacts I work with today.
Find out more about Katie Mahon's time at Leeds