A female in black top hat and black and white striped T-shirt, standing atop a ship deck and flexing her arms to a small crowd of children in school uniform

Mode of Study

Full-time, Part-time

Duration

1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Start date

September 2023

Overview

Use theatre and performance as 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 focusing 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.

Eligibility

This course accepts UK, EU, and international students.

Course highlights

  • 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 demographics
  • 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
  • Engage with 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
  • Attend monthly postgraduate seminars in theatre and performance, with invited guests from around the world
  • Utilise digital storytelling equipment such as GoPro cameras and iPads
  • Develop transferable skills and experience that will be invaluable in careers beyond theatre practice and teaching, such as science communication and cultural diplomacy

What you'll study

Each module on this course is worth 30 or 60 credits. You'll need to study modules worth a total of 180 credits to achieve your Master's degree.

Full-time

All modules on this MA Theatre: Socially Engaged Practice are core.

What you'll learn

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Articulate key issues related to the debates about research methods for Art, Design and Media and practice­ led research.
  • Critically evaluate and select appropriate research methods from a range of disciplinary and cross disciplinary models evidencing ethical awareness in research design.
  • Demonstrate individual research skills and techniques for developing, recording and analysing research enquiry through their application to a research question.
  • Demonstrate a high level of critical engagement with theoretical/historical/contemporary sources.
  • Make effective use of appropriate presentation tools for the communication of their research findings and offer personal reflection of the research journey.

Explore this module

What you'll learn

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Compare and contrast the design and facilitation of theatre workshops in a range of settings, incorporating an understanding of risk assessment processes and best practices for safe practice with participants.
  • Devise a series of creative community engagement opportunities and their desired engagement outcomes.
  • Synthesise and communicate critical awareness and understanding of socially engaged theatre that can be understood to both field experts and non-experts.
  • Evaluate the practice of critical reflection toward one's own art making process.

Explore this module

What you'll learn

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Critically evaluate theories of ethical arts practice, particularly as they are applied in the practice of socially engaged theatre and social justice theatre.
  • Analyse ethical considerations and challenges through a range of real-world case studies and hypothetical scenarios.
  • Outline an ethical approach to social justice theatre from the student's own perspective and positionality.
  • Synthesize a range of approaches to ethical arts practice from a variety of intercultural backgrounds.
  • Articulate, explain, and apply ethical considerations to experts in the field and non-experts alike.

Explore this module

What you'll learn

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Synthesise and creatively apply prior knowledge and skills to produce a new original programme of socially engaged theatre.
  • Recognize subjectivity in the development of socially engaged arts practice with respect to the relationship between the facilitator and the participant, and critically reflect upon one's own socially engaged arts practice from an ethical perspective.
  • Evaluate community processes and opportunities for engagement within a field-based learning environment, and apply problem-solving skills in unpredictable contexts.
  • Apply problem-solving skills to a range of complex and unpredictable contexts.

Explore this module

What you'll learn

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Apply advanced convergent and divergent thinking methods to develop a self-initiated brief/proposal contextualized within contemporary and historical professional practice markets and audiences, technology and ethics in the fashion and textiles discipline.
  • Critically evaluate, articulate and synthesise knowledge and understanding, attributes and skills in effective ways in the contexts of creative research and practice.
  • Select, test and make appropriate critical decisions on the use of materials, processes and technologies at an advanced level.
  • Articulate and present ideas and information in visual, oral and written forms at an advanced level, meeting and setting new standards within the discipline.
  • Demonstrate and evaluate autonomous learning and project management, in addition to feedback and critical judgments in order to improve their practice.

Explore this module

Part-time

All modules on this MA Theatre: Socially Engaged Practice are core.

What you'll learn

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Compare and contrast the design and facilitation of theatre workshops in a range of settings, incorporating an understanding of risk assessment processes and best practices for safe practice with participants.
  • Devise a series of creative community engagement opportunities and their desired engagement outcomes.
  • Synthesise and communicate critical awareness and understanding of socially engaged theatre that can be understood to both field experts and non-experts.
  • Evaluate the practice of critical reflection toward one's own art making process.

Explore this module

What you'll learn

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Critically evaluate theories of ethical arts practice, particularly as they are applied in the practice of socially engaged theatre and social justice theatre.
  • Analyse ethical considerations and challenges through a range of real-world case studies and hypothetical scenarios.
  • Outline an ethical approach to social justice theatre from the student's own perspective and positionality.
  • Synthesize a range of approaches to ethical arts practice from a variety of intercultural backgrounds.
  • Articulate, explain, and apply ethical considerations to experts in the field and non-experts alike.

Explore this module

All modules on this MA Theatre: Socially Engaged Practice are core.

What you'll learn

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Articulate key issues related to the debates about research methods for Art, Design and Media and practice­ led research
  • Critically evaluate and select appropriate research methods from a range of disciplinary and cross disciplinary models evidencing ethical awareness in research design
  • Demonstrate individual research skills and techniques for developing, recording and analysing research enquiry through their application to a research question
  • Demonstrate a high level of critical engagement with theoretical/historical/contemporary sources
  • Make effective use of appropriate presentation tools for the communication of their research findings and offer personal reflection of the research journey

Explore this module

What you'll learn

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Synthesise and creatively apply prior knowledge and skills to produce a new original programme of socially engaged theatre.
  • Recognize subjectivity in the development of socially engaged arts practice with respect to the relationship between the facilitator and the participant, and critically reflect upon one's own socially engaged arts practice from an ethical perspective.
  • Evaluate community processes and opportunities for engagement within a field-based learning environment, and apply problem-solving skills in unpredictable contexts.
  • Apply problem-solving skills to a range of complex and unpredictable contexts.

Explore this module

What you'll learn

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Apply advanced convergent and divergent thinking methods to develop a self-initiated brief/proposal contextualized within contemporary and historical professional practice markets and audiences, technology and ethics in the fashion and textiles discipline.
  • Critically evaluate, articulate and synthesise knowledge and understanding, attributes and skills in effective ways in the contexts of creative research and practice.
  • Select, test and make appropriate critical decisions on the use of materials, processes and technologies at an advanced level.
  • Articulate and present ideas and information in visual, oral and written forms at an advanced level, meeting and setting new standards within the discipline.
  • Demonstrate and evaluate autonomous learning and project management, in addition to feedback and critical judgments in order to improve their practice.

Explore this module

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Careers and opportunities

Careers this Master's prepares you for

As a successful graduate of this course, you'll have learnt to implement techniques from applied theatre, forum theatre, theatre for social change, and theatre for development within your own community.

You'll also have insight into the ethics of applied theatre and its implications as a community-building tool, as well as practical experience of working with different populations within the community.

Graduates of this course have gone onto roles in::

  • theatre
  • education
  • youth work
  • project management
  • science communication
  • museums and the cultural sector
  • civic engagement
  • applied theatre artist
  • teaching artist
  • creative aging
  • event planning
  • fundraising
  • community organising

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

During your course, you'll have expert career support from your tutors and from our Careers and Employability Centre, which you can access for 5 years after you graduate.

Female student standing at careers and employability help desk

Career support

You'll benefit from:

  • Networking events
  • 1-to-1 appointments
  • CV and cover letter advice
  • Interview preparation and practice
  • Workshops to enhance your employability skills
  • Recruitment events, including the Student and Graduate Opportunities Fair
  • Support starting your own business

Learn more about your career support

How you'll spend your time

We recognise that you'll probably be juggling more demands when you do your Master's degree, as you may be working or you may have family responsibilities.

We'll give you as much indication here as we can of how much time you'll need to be on campus and how many hours you can expect to spend in self-directed study, but please note that these indications are always subject to change. You should receive your full timetable several weeks before you start with us.

It is our expectation that all international students will join us here on campus in Portsmouth.

Course structure

This Master's degree will take:

  • 1 year (full-time study)
  • 2 years (part-time study)

Full-time study

Most timetabled teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings. There is usually no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.

You can expect:

  • 25-35 hours of recommended independent study each week

Part-time study

Most timetabled teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings. There is usually no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.

You can expect:

  • 15-20 hours of recommended independent study each week.

Teaching

Master's study is deeper and more specialised than an undergraduate degree. This means you'll focus on something that really matters to you and your career as you work closely with academics committed to the subject.

You'll spend more time in independent study and research than you did for your undergraduate degree, but the majority of your teaching time will be in-person and face-to-face.

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

Assessment

You'll be assessed through:

  • essays 
  • performances 
  • continuous assessment
  • presentations 
  • viva

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

Teaching staff

These are some of the expert staff who'll teach you on this course:

Erika Elizabeth Hughes Portrait

Dr Erika Hughes

Academic Lead

erika.hughes@port.ac.uk

PhD Supervisor

Read more
Matthew Roy Smith Portrait

Dr Matt Smith

Reader in Applied Theatre and Puppetry

Matt.Smith@port.ac.uk

PhD Supervisor

Read more

Term dates

September start

The Master's academic year runs from September to the following September. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter. Over the summer you'll be writing your project/dissertation.

See key dates

Graduation Class of 2021

Joining us as an international student

You'll feel at home in our international community and our diverse city. You'll be joining over 5,000 international students from more than 150 countries who are studying with us.

Learn more about international student life and how we can help you with visas, applications, arrival and settling in. 

Information for international students

Facilities

White Swan Building

Our drama and theatre hub was developed in partnership with Portsmouth’s esteemed New Theatre Royal. It has all the spaces and equipment you need for stage and performance productions: from rehearsal to final act.

Explore Building

City Guide - New Theatre Royal

New Theatre Royal

Established in 1854, New Theatre Royal is one of Portsmouth’s historic gems. Its recent upgrades include a fly tower and 15-piece orchestral pit for its main stage, a technical workshop with dressing and green rooms, and improved backstage facilities.

Supporting your learning

Master's study is more focused on independent learning than undergraduate study, but you'll get lots of support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

You'll have regular contact with your personal tutor in learning activities or scheduled meetings. You can also make an appointment with them if you need extra support.

In addition to the support you get from your personal tutor, you’ll also have access to a Faculty student support advisor. They can give you confidential, impartial advice on anything to do with your studies and personal wellbeing and refer you to specialist support services.
If you need support with software and equipment or you want to learn additional skills (including skills not covered on your course), our creative skills tutors provide free workshops, activities and one-on-one tutorials. Skills you can learn include life drawing, film camera operation and video production.

You'll have help from a team of faculty academic skills tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • understanding and using assignment feedback
  • managing your time and workload
  • revision and exam techniques
Computing support staff are always available to give technical support in the Faculty's computer suites during normal working hours. There's also some support available from 5.00pm to midnight at busy times of the year.

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (September 2023 start)

  • Full-time: £8,100
  • Part-time: £4,050 per year

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time: 8,100
  • Part-time: £4,050 per year
  • Full-time: £17,200
  • Part-time: £8,600 per year

University of Portsmouth graduates may receive a 20% alumni tuition fee discount

Fees are subject to annual increase. Read our tuition fees terms and conditions.

You'll be able to pay your fees in instalments. Find out how to pay your tuition fees.

Funding your studies

Explore how to fund your studies, including available scholarships and bursaries.

If you're a UK student, you may be eligible for a Government Postgraduate Master's Loan, which you can use to help with course fees and living costs.

If you're a UK student who achieved a first in your undergraduate degree you may be eligible for a £3,000 University of Portsmouth scholarship.

Loans, scholarships and bursaries

Browse funding such as the Government Postgraduate Loan, our scholarships for new and returning students, and subject specific loans.

Explore funding

Funding for international students

Learn more about sponsorships, scholarships and loans for students applying from outside of the UK.

international business students
Discover your options

Fees and funding for postgraduate taught courses

Discover how you can fund your postgraduate studies at Portsmouth – including loans, scholarships and bursaries – and read our guidance on topics like how to budget, and how to get support if you're disabled or have dependents.

Explore funding

Additional costs

These course-related costs aren't included in the tuition fees, so you'll need to budget for them when you plan your spending. Additional costs could include:

  • Accommodation: Accommodation options and costs can be found on our accommodation pages.
  • Recommended reading: You can borrow key texts from the library and if you choose to purchase these texts they may cost up to £60 each.
  • General costs: Such as photocopying, memory sticks, printing charges, binding and specialist printing. We suggest budgeting £75 per year.
  • Final project transport or accommodation: where necessary, which related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

Read more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Entry requirements

Eligibility

This course accepts UK, EU, and international students.

September 2023 start

Qualifications or experience
  • A minimum of a second-class honours degree in a related subject, or equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications.

Please get in touch if you're not sure if your undergraduate subject is relevant to this degree.

Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will also be considered, such as previous study, employment, voluntary work and training courses, including courses and qualifications you didn't complete. Learn more about our Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

If you're applying as an international student with a non-UK degree, you’ll need to show you meet the UK entry requirements listed above.

To find out if your non-UK degree or other qualification is accepted, please visit our page for your country and view the UK equivalent of your qualification. 

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 (or equivalent) with no component score below 6.0.

You do not need an IELTS or equivalent certification if:

  • you have a UK degree
  • you have a degree from a majority English speaking country (not taught by Distance Learning)
  • you are a national of a majority English speaking country

Degrees taught solely in English from non-majority English speaking countries will be considered on a case by case basis. Find out more about our English language requirements.

If you do not meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

An interview may be required as part of the selection process.

How to apply

Unlike undergraduate applications, which go through UCAS, applications for this Master's course are made directly to us.

There's no deadline for applications to this course. We accept applications right up until the start date in September, as long as there are places available. If you wait until September to apply, you may find that the course is full.

If you're applying as an international student, remember that you'll need to leave plenty of time to get your visa organised.

You can find more advice about applying in our Master's application checklist. International students and current students and recent graduates of the University of Portsmouth also have some different application options, which are detailed below.

Extra information for international students

If you're an international student, you can apply directly to us using the same application form as UK students.

You could also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region. To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.

If you don’t meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Standard applications

Start this course in September 2023

Apply now (Full-time)

Apply now (Part-time)

I'm a current Portsmouth student, or a recent Portsmouth graduate

If you're currently in your final year of study at Portsmouth, or you graduated since July 2021, you're eligible to make a fast track application. You'll have:

  • a shorter application form to complete
  • access to the 20% Alumni fee discount
  • a guaranteed conditional offer, for most Master's courses 

Learn more about fast track

After you apply

Once we receive your application, we may ask you for further information. We will then either make you an offer or suggest alternatives if your application is unsuccessful.

You'll usually get a decision within 10 working days, so you shouldn't have to wait too long. Some courses have an interview stage – we'll let you know if you need to prepare for one.

Learn more about how we assess your application.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.