Course details

Study options

Full-time: 1 year, Part-time: 2 years

UK fee

£6,300 for the full course or £700 per 20 credits* (2022/23)

International fee

£14,700 for the full course (2022/23)

Course level




Start date



Derby Theatre

Course description

Applied Theatre refers to the practice of theatre and drama in non-traditional settings and/or with marginalised communities. It encompasses theatre practices which tackle areas of social and cultural policy such as public health, education, housing, social welfare, and the care system. 

This course provides a specialist route for graduates who wish to develop as educational practitioners using theatre and drama. 

  • You will deepen your knowledge and practice in the field of Applied Theatre
  • This course enables you to engage in real-life practice within and alongside a professional producing theatre
  • You will develop your ability to interpret, understand and conduct practice as research relevant to the theatre and education at a masterly level
  • You will become industry ready for employment in Theatre Education
A student facilitates a Theatre study group
A woman in a red tracksuit jumps in front of a stage set of a brick wall
A  group takes part in a workshop, a woman has her hand on another woman's shoulders
A headshot of a smiling female with shoulder length brown hair wearing a blue top leaning against a brick wall

Changing my career and doing this MA was the best decision I could have made. The knowledge, experience and connections that I've gained have enabled me to start freelance theatre work and I am applying for funding for my own research and development project.

Clare Snape
Applied Theatre and Education MA student

Derby Theatre
The UK's unique professional, producing and learning theatre 

As a Learning Theatre, Derby Theatre provides a unique opportunity for students to learn to their craft by working alongside both academics and theatre professionals in the heart of a professional producing theatre, to develop your skills in technical theatre or performance. 

Students, academics and artists work, create and learn side by side at Derby Theatre. All decisions about the development of both the art and the learning opportunities are made together. At every stage, there is huge potential in the crucible of the arts, learning and research combining to both underpin and inform our future work.  

Derby Theatre provides an extraordinary platform for real life learning to take place, not only through the exciting main stage and studio programmes, but also through the work that the Theatre does with young people, young people in care, emerging artists and the community. Graduates of the programme can also be supported by our Artist Development Programme, In Good Company, which is part of a large regional funding programme. 

#ThisIsDerby award winning project
Derby Theatre has won the Excellence in Arts Education Award at the UK Theatre Awards in 2019 and the Guardian University Award 2020 for Social and Community Impact in recognition and celebration of the #ThisIsDerby project. Delivered by Derby Theatre and other cultural and sports organisations in the city, including Derby County Community Trust, Cultural Campus: Derby's Cultural Education Partnership and the City's Sports Forum, the project provides opportunities for young people to take part in high-quality arts, sports and cultural activities across the city and aims to develop their essential life skills. 

Winner of the Creativity for Good category at the Mainframe Awards 2022

Senior Lecturer and MA Applied Theatre and Education Programme Leader Ava Hunt won the Creativity for Good category at the Mainframe Awards 2022 for the Destinies theatre and music production. The project, a partnership between Ava Hunt Theatre, Sinfonia Viva, Orchestras Live and co-created with young people and Derbyshire County Council Virtual School, celebrates the stories and creativity of young refugees and asylum seekers living in Derbyshire.

Mainframe, based at QUAD, is an initiative that aims to bring together a community of digital and creative business across Derby and Derbyshire, enabling real business growth and jobs. The Mainframe Awards were launched to highlight and celebrate the talented digital and creative businesses that call Derby and Derbyshire home.

Team from Derby Theatre stand for their photo at the UK Theatre Awards

Derby Theatre wins Excellence in Arts Education Award at UK Theatre Awards

Derby Theatre has won recognition of its learning theatre vision and innovative This is Derby project.

View the full storyView the full story
A female student facilitates a session with a group of school children
A female teacher holds a discussion with school children
School children take part in a theatre workshop with a stage in the background
A group of children and 2 adults sit pointing to themselves smiling as they kneel and sit in a group

Programme Leader Ava Hunt wins at Children and Young People Now Awards

Journeys of Destiny and companion piece Destinies have been awarded The Arts and Culture Award with judges praising the way the projects used drama and music to help people understand cultural issues.

Explore Ava's award winning projectsExplore Ava's award winning projects
Multi-Faith Centre, Kedleston Road

Postgraduate Open Event

Join us at an upcoming Postgraduate Open Event, where you will get the opportunity to meet our expert academics and find out more about your course.

Book your Postgraduate Open EventBook your Postgraduate Open Event

What you will study

You will study modules such as:

Applied Theatre Context and Work-based Learning (20 credits)

This module will ground your understanding of Applied Theatre practice, drama methodologies and historical context. This will include an historical overview of the legacies of key practitioners Healthcote, Spolin, Way and Boal critically reflecting on and how these contribute to contemporary developing practice and academic discourse including Balfour, Dolan, Nicholson and Thompson.

Crafting Your Masters Study (20 credits)

This module is concerned with identifying and developing the key personal and academic competencies associated with successful study at Masters Level in a global context of continuous educational change. Through crafting of a journal in which you will address what you are doing professionally (and/or academically) with what you are experiencing as a person will encourage the critical reflection and development of your own academic needs. 

Applied Educational Thinkers and Theorists (A) (20 credits)

This module provides the opportunity for participants to consider the role, purpose and contribution of educational theory on and for educational practice. Drawing on a range of theorists, for example but not exclusively, Etienne Wenger, Paulo Freire and Pierre Bourdieu, the module invites participants to critically consider their contributions to the practices of contemporary education across a range of learning environments.  

Performance and Practice as Research (40 credits)

This module provides the opportunity for you to develop a supported practical performance piece which could be delivered in multiple locations or the opportunity to have a longitudinal experience in a community or school environment. The module will provide you with the opportunity to work in small teams to devise material and deliver off-site, as well as development of performance and facilitation skills under direction from the tutor. 

Applied Educational Thinkers and Theorists (B) (20 credits)

This module provides the opportunity for participants to consider the role, purpose and contribution of educational theory on and for educational practice. Drawing on a range of theorists, for example but not exclusively, Etienne Wenger, Paulo Freire and Pierre Bourdieu, the module invites participants to critically consider their contributions to the practices of contemporary education across a range of learning environments.  

Optional Education Module (20 credits)

You will study these modules alongside students from other MA Education programmes. This brings an advantage in terms of being able to discuss common themes across the different but related discipline areas.

Independent Study (Major Project) (60 credits)

Whilst working in project groups’, this module provides you with the opportunity to consider a specific Applied Theatre role as actor, facilitator, or director delivering a high quality educational project within a community setting. Understanding the reciprocal relationship between research and practice, you will draw together Education theorists and Applied Theatre studied throughout the programme to critically evaluate your project whilst assessing impact with your chosen client group.

Optional Education Module (20 credits)

You will study these modules alongside students from other MA Education programmes. This brings an advantage in terms of being able to discuss common themes across the different but related discipline areas.

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

How you will learn

The sessions are designed to be interactive, utilising a variety of teaching and learning strategies such as lectures, seminar discussions and ‘hands on’ practical activities related to theatre and education. Working alongside industry professionals, you will gain a wide range of skills and understanding over and above the course content e.g. fundraising and marketing. 

A view over the shoulder of a student at the sound and light controls of a theatre stage

Explore Derby Theatre through our virtual tour:

A 360 look around Derby Theatre

How you will be assessed

You will be assessed through both written and practical assessments, which could include essays, portfolios, performances, workshops and presentations.

Who will teach you

Ava Hunt

Ava Hunt
Programme leader

Ava is a Senior Lecturer in Theatre Arts. She also works as a professional actor, director, programmer and producer. She has worked in theatre, film, commercials and television.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Entry requirements

You will normally be expected to have a first degree appropriate to apply for the MA (minimum 2:2 or above), or a professional qualification of equal standing, or significant practical or professional experience gained following your initial qualification that would support your application. You will also be invited to an interview as part of the application process to ensure that this is the right course for you, and to demonstrate your prior or ongoing practical experience in the field, whether this may be paid or voluntary.

If English is not your first language, you'll also need an IELTS score of 6.0 or equivalent.

Fees and funding

2022/23 Fees (August 2022 - July 2023)


£6,300 for the full course or £700 per 20 credits*

£700 per 20 credits


£14,700 for the full course


Please note fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase after one year of study.

* UK full-time fees paid within one academic year are rounded down to the nearest £50 if applicable

Additional costs and optional extras

About postgraduate awards

Please note at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the respective awards. If you have any questions please contact us.

Postgraduate Certificate60 Credits
Postgraduate Diploma120 Credits
MA or MSc180 Credits

This means you will gain 180 credits in total to complete the full MA or MSc. If you are studying part time you will normally complete your studies over two or three years, depending on the course structure.

Funding your studies

Find out more about fees, postgraduate loans and support you may be entitled to.

Find out about funding your studiesFind out about funding your studies

Alumni discount for Derby graduates

We offer a discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.

Find out about the Alumni discountFind out about the Alumni discount

Students chatting to each other

International student scholarship

We're offering a £2,000 scholarship for all eligible international students studying a full-time postgraduate taught programme (PGT). Terms and conditions apply.

Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship

How to apply

Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.

This course is not currently accepting applications. Please refer back to this page at a later date for further information. 


Graduates of this programme are prepared for careers in a range of private and public sector opportunities for example: As creative learning officers in theatres, museums and other community-based organisations; education directors and managers for cultural organisations; facilitators of youth theatres and other projects; health and wellbeing theatre specialists; freelance practitioners working in a wide range of settings including schools, prisons and the care system. Graduates will develop a sense of confidence as artists, facilitators, project managers and those that will help develop arts policy of the future.

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

Please also note that due to the current Covid-19 situation, if your course offers fieldtrips, the location of these may change or be cancelled. If this happens, you will be communicated to in advance and we will do our very best to seek out other practical opportunities to ensure your experience is not affected.

The information provided on this page is correct at the time of publication but course content, costs and other individual course details do change from time to time and are updated as often as possible, so please do check these pages again when making your final decision to apply for a course. Any updated course details will also be confirmed to you at application, enrolment and in your offer letter.

Included in your fees
  • Here at Derby, we provide excellent learning resources, libraries and specialist laboratories and studios
  • You'll have additional access to wider University Arts' facilities
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
  • Correct clothing for practical classes - if not already owned (£20 - £30)
  • There will be occasions when you will be expected to attend exhibitions, screenings, performances and festivals. You will need to budget for these over each academic year
Optional costs not included in your fees
  • Additional course related publications (approx. costs £100)
  • Specialist software/hardware (costs up to £1500)
  • Final year project costs (costs determined by student £200 - £600)
  • Travel for work placement opportunities (costs will vary dependant on location)
  • We provide full details of all course fees, but extra costs may include field trips (approx. cost £200 - £400)

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.