Applied Theatre research cluster

The Applied Theatre research cluster in Drama at Manchester builds on our reputation for developing theatre practice and research beyond the University in a variety of education and social contexts.

What is applied theatre?

'Applied Theatre' refers to theatre practice that engages with areas of public health, social welfare, education, criminal justice, humanitarian crisis and war. At Manchester, our research and teaching in applied theatre focuses on theatre in education, prison theatre, theatre in places of conflict, socially engaged theatre and performance, and community theatre.


Applied theatre performance
Applied theatre performance

This diverse range of research and practice exists at the intersection of theatre and performance studies, and community, participatory, educational and political theatre. As part of this, we have worked collaboratively with a range of external partners located in local and international sites.

Researchers associated with the Applied Theatre research cluster at Manchester are committed to developing critical awareness of the aesthetic, ethical and political issues arising from practice. Building on funded research projects that have focused on the role of theatre in places of war, in museums and heritage sites, and in contexts of economic injustice, we aim to explore the methodologies and histories associated with this field of practice in new and challenging ways.

University teaching

We teach a range of applied theatre options at undergraduate level, on our BA Undergraduate Drama programmes. Undergraduate teaching includes an intensive third year practical option delivered in partnership with TIPP, an arts organisation hosted by the University of Manchester that develops and implements participatory arts projects in the criminal justice system.

We support a number of PhD researchers carrying out original research in the field of applied theatre, via our PhD Drama and PhD in Applied Theatre programmes.

PhD research

Current and recent PhD researchers are completing research projects in the following areas:

  • theatre, participation and community;
  • applied theatre and early dementia care;
  • grassroots performance networks with young people in post conflict Guatemala;
  • theatre and the Afghan nation;
  • theatre and additional language learning;
  • theatre as an enrichment tool in prison education settings;
  • theatre, gender and power in developing nations;
  • applied theatre facilitation;
  • theatre and meaning-making with young people;
  • theatre and restorative justice;
  • leadership and learning disabled theatre.

Institute for Cultural Practices

Our postgraduate programmes take place under the umbrella of the Institute for Cultural Practices.

Our people

More information about academic staff in the Applied Theatre research cluster at Manchester is available here: