The MA Theatre for Social, Political and Environmental Change offers a unique opportunity to study theatrical responses to climate change and other pressing social and political issues. This course will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to shake up the world around you through innovative performance practices. You’ll also gain a theoretical understanding of the role that performance plays in society and politics.
Throughout the programme we will explore the ways that professional theatre makers, applied theatre facilitators, and performance activists have responded to global challenges such as environmental degradation, migration, homelessness, sustainable development, and political engagement. Taught by world-leading academics and practitioners, you will learn about creative, socially-engaged practices and theories from a variety of global contexts. You will also have an opportunity to take optional modules within the Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts, or from other subject disciplines.
The course is taught through a combination of studio-based practical teaching alongside lectures and seminars. All students will undertake an independent Major Research Project, which may take the form of either a written thesis or a combination of practice-based work with a shorter written submission.
Delivered through blended modes of teaching, this MA is suitable for students living full-time on campus or for those spending portions of time based in other areas. This enables students to combine their study with relevant professional roles outside of the Lancaster area, or to fully immerse themselves in the rich cultural context of this region.
This programme will equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to provoke effective and long-lasting change through creative performance practice. It will also provide a foundation for further postgraduate study, or for careers in community, educational, and charity sectors.
2:1 (UK Hons) degree or equivalent in a relevant discipline
We may also consider non-standard applicants, please contact us for information.
If you have studied outside of the UK, we would advise you to check our list of international qualifications before submitting your application.
As part of your application you also need to;
- Take part in an interview
The interview may take place online.
English Language Requirements
We may ask you to provide a recognised English language qualification, dependent upon your nationality and where you have studied previously.
We normally require an IELTS (Academic) Test with an overall score of at least 6.5, and a minimum score of 6.0 in each element of the test. We also consider other English language qualifications.
If your score is below our requirements, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language programmes.
Contact: Admissions Team +44 (0) 1524 592032 or email email@example.com
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
Major Research Project: Theatre and Performance
The Major Research Project is the culmination of your studies on the MA Theatre for Social, Political and Environmental Change. It offers an opportunity to conduct extended, specialised research into a topic of your choice.
Performance for Society, Politics and the Environment
This module equips students with an understanding of key theories and practices that underpin the use of theatre and performance as a tool for social and environmental change. Topics to be explored might include, for example, environmental practices, activist performance, theatre for development, theatre in education, prison theatre, refugee theatre, live art, site specific theatre, environmentally-engaged postdramatic theatre, intergenerational theatre and more.
Research Methods in Theatre and Performance
Through lectures and seminars, this module will introduce a range of qualitative and creative research methods commonly employed in the arts and social sciences, and discuss their relevance to contemporary theatre and performance practice. This will include considerations of various models of practice-based research, and a critical examination of modes of knowledge production through creative practice.
Arts Management Practice
The module introduces you to the role of management in arts organisations and the systems and processes that are present in these businesses. We will explore the different challenges that arts organisations face and reflect on the implications that this has for traditional management concepts.
This module addresses applied performance projects that are co-created in collaboration with community groups. This may include people living within specific geographic areas, but it might also encompass shared identity traits, experiences, or interests. Students will explore a range of practices that facilitate collaboratively-designed theatre as a means of bringing about positive changes within these communities, and their broader social and cultural settings. Through a consideration of contemporary practitioners from a range of global contexts, students will learn techniques to develop effective community-based projects and to ensure equitable participation and accessibility. Practices studied might cover topics such as intergenerational theatre, street theatre, staged readings, puppetry, participatory arts, storytelling, environmental performance and more. Students will engage with the theories and practices of the module through a combination of lectures, seminar discussions and workshops, culminating in a short community performance project.
Students will be assessed by a combination of essay (50%) and group practical project (50%).
Environmental Crises and Societal Change
In times when hope and fear about the environmental crisis alternate in our minds, when social and political change play havoc with our interpretation of the historic worlds we inhabit, it is crucial that we examine critically and creatively the ways and means by which such a crisis has come into existence. To do so the module will build bridges across disciplines.
The module combines a place-based approach (Lancaster, the Morecambe Bay, and the Lake District) and an analytical focus centred on the dissonance of temporal scales. We seek to answer two questions in close dialogue with students:
- To what extent is the dissonance between the different timescales of the natural system, the social and built environment, and the human imagination a contributing factor to political inaction and cultural indifference?
- In what ways can we better integrate these timescales while retaining the rigour, criticality, and creativity of the disciplines used to study each?
The module will explore topics such as tidal systems, coasts and estuaries; floods; the rise, fall and rebirth of ecclesiastical institutions; ruins; transport infrastructures; memory; art, environments, and citizenship; and e-trading.
This module will equip students with a critical understanding of twentieth and twenty-first century performance practices that respond to anthropogenic climate change. Students will explore a range of theories and practices relating to ecocriticism and environmentalism.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research. Not all optional modules are available every year.
Fees and Funding
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Scholarships and bursaries
At Lancaster, we believe that funding concerns should not stop any student with the talent to thrive.
We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to help cover the cost of tuition fees and/or living expenses.
There may be extra costs related to your course for items such as books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation, you may need to pay a subscription to a professional body for some chosen careers.
Specific additional costs for studying at Lancaster are listed below.
Lancaster is proud to be one of only a handful of UK universities to have a collegiate system. Every student belongs to a college, and all students pay a small College Membership Fee which supports the running of college events and activities.
For students starting in 2022 and 2023, the fee is £40 for undergraduates and research students and £15 for students on one-year courses. Fees for students starting in 2024 have not yet been set.
Computer equipment and internet access
To support your studies, you will also require access to a computer, along with reliable internet access. You will be able to access a range of software and services from a Windows, Mac, Chromebook or Linux device. For certain degree programmes, you may need a specific device, or we may provide you with a laptop and appropriate software - details of which will be available on relevant programme pages. A dedicated IT support helpdesk is available in the event of any problems.
The University provides limited financial support to assist students who do not have the required IT equipment or broadband support in place.
Application fees and tuition fee deposits
For most taught postgraduate applications there is a non-refundable application fee of £40. We cannot consider applications until this fee has been paid, as advised on our online secure payment system. There is no application fee for postgraduate research applications.
For some of our courses you will need to pay a deposit to accept your offer and secure your place. We will let you know in your offer letter if a deposit is required and you will be given a deadline date when this is due to be paid.
The information on this site relates primarily to 2022/2023 entry to the University and every effort has been taken to ensure the information is correct at the time of publication.
The University will use all reasonable effort to deliver the courses as described, but the University reserves the right to make changes to advertised courses. In exceptional circumstances that are beyond the University’s reasonable control (Force Majeure Events), we may need to amend the programmes and provision advertised. In this event, the University will take reasonable steps to minimise the disruption to your studies. If a course is withdrawn or if there are any fundamental changes to your course, we will give you reasonable notice and you will be entitled to request that you are considered for an alternative course or withdraw your application. You are advised to revisit our website for up-to-date course information before you submit your application.
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