Applied Theatre

What is Applied Theatre?

Applied Theatre is the use of theatre and drama skills for the purposes of teaching, bringing about social change and building a sense of community.

Where is Applied Theatre used?

  • Teachers use Applied Theatre in the classrooms to teach drama and a variety of other core subject areas using dramatic skills.
  • Applied Theatre is used in the education and training of health practitioners, lawyers, and many other areas to role-play career-related situations (whether a reenactment of a trial or medical symptoms) to identify and practice interpersonal relations.
  • Seniors centers work with Applied Theatre practitioners to devise educational and entertaining performances to address issues in gerontology, bring personal stories to life and build community.
  • Museums hire Applied Theatre practitioners as interpreters to enact historic moments in exhibition settings.
  • In communities, Applied Theatre performances can be used as an intervention or public awareness tool to address social issues – like addiction, recycling or racism – as a way of engaging a specific audience in a dialogue about these issues.

What do you learn?

  • acting, role-playing and improvisational skills based on real-life scenarios
  • leadership and directorial skills
  • using improvisation and group collaborative skills to create scripts
  • how to build a sense of community within a group of people
  • alternative ways of presenting information
  • research skills
  • communication, public speaking and presentation skills
  • how to purposefully adapt your information and presentational approach for specific audiences and environments.
  • organizational and strategic planning skills
  • creative curriculum planning
  • historical examples of Applied Theatre applications

Our program:

  • offers a combination of theoretical foundations and practical applications
  • creates opportunities to work with diverse groups across campus and in the community
  • focuses on group project work in the second and third year
  • provides you with the knowledge and skills to research, design and implement your own self-directed project in the fourth year.

Program Outline

Applied Theatre Focus

Students may enter the Applied Theatre Focus after completing the first-year Theatre requirements. The Applied Theatre program allies the art of the theatre with effective pedagogy to build upon the growing recognition of theatre as an educative methodology in matters of social, political, economic and therapeutic concerns. The program provides the theoretical and experiential foundations that will serve those who wish to examine the use of theatre forms as they apply to teaching and/or non-theatrical settings, such as cultural, recreation and community centres, historic and environmental sites, museums, prisons, hospitals, social service and health agencies.

Students considering careers in elementary, middle or secondary schools are urged to consult with the Teacher Education Advising Office early to plan their undergraduate programs.

NOTE: This page is provided as general informaion. Degree and program requirements are determined by the UVic Calendar in effect when you are admitted to the Faculty. Returning students should read this important notice.


  • All courses should be taken in the sequence indicated. Failure to follow the course listings suggested for each year and for each Focus may jeopardize the ability to complete the BFA degree within four years.
  • THEA 132B is strongly recommended for students interested in pursuing the Applied Theatre Focus.
  • Electives*: English 135 and an additional 1.5 units of English electives must be taken before 30 units are completed.
Third and Fourth Years


  • At least 1.5 units of THEA 394/EDCI 487 are required to complete the Applied Theatre Focus. May be taken more than once.
  • Electives*: Of these electives, a minimum of 1.5 units must be Theatre courses (at any level) to satisfy the degree requirement of 36 Theatre units.

Professors and Instructors

 Warwick Dobson
, MA Lancaster, MA (Education) & PhD Sussex
Associate Professor

Kirsten Sadeghi-Yekta, BA Utrecht, MA Utrecht, PhD Manchester
Assistant Professor

Alumni Profiles

  Geoff Gustafson (BFA '00)
Acting instructor for several years and recently developed School Creative's Theatre Conservatory program for which he is the Department Head.

Chelsea Haberlin (BFA’07)
Student’s theatre company develops into alumna’s budding career as “Most Promising New Director” for Vancouver’s “Favourite New Theatre Company”.

  Will Weigler (PhD’11)
Applied theatre research from director, playwright, producer and author informs transformative and meaningful community-initiated theatre.

Project Examples

Project Examples

  • In partnership with Applied Theatre Consulting Services, mounted two Reminiscence Theatre Festivals (March 2006 and March 2007) which including two plays (BURNT TOAST and ALPHABET SOUP) devised and performed for seniors by Applied Theatre undergraduates; 
  • Theatre-in education programme for middle school students, entitled WOBBLE;
  • Ongoing collaborations with the university's Centre on Aging, Law Faculty, School of Nursing, Equity and Human Rights Office and Department of Psychology;
  • Community collaborations include work with the Eldercare Foundation and the Royal BC Museum;
  • Applied Theatre students have worked in a variety of different contexts, including: workshops with new immigrant women at Victoria's Intercultural Association; work with indigenous women; classroom projects in elementary, middle and high Schools; a conference for The Force (Families Organised for Recognition and Care Equality); work with prison populations.