What does the Applied Theatre Director do? Directorial intervention in theatre-making for social change

  • Geoffrey Readman

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis critically interrogates the practice of artistic directors within applied theatre companies in the United Kingdom. ‘Applied theatre’ describes the process of theatre-making in which commitment to ethical, pedagogical, philosophical and social priorities are integral dimensions of theatre-making designed for specified participants, communities and locations. The research views the term director as encompassing any individuals with designated responsibility for the artistic coherence of theatre in both community and rehearsal room contexts. It argues that directorial processes in applied theatre have rarely been the focus of systematic research and that a theoretical framework to conceptualise practise will contribute new knowledge. The research design gathers evidence of directorial contributions, examining ‘why’ and ‘how’ interventions are constructed. The various theories, techniques and methods used by directors to shape and effect positive interventions are observed and interrogated, through a systematic research approach, in five director case studies. The case studies reflect discrete areas of theatre practice. Published research is sparse and literary evidence is occasionally drawn from historical, cultural and mainstream theatre contexts, from developments in Alternative and Political theatre and from Drama in Education praxis. The thesis concludes with a theoretical framework that articulates applied theatre directing as a process that shares some common ground with mainstream theatre directing, but which retains discrete alternative practices and philosophies that define an alternative directorial model.
Date of Award2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Northampton
SupervisorJumai Ewu (Supervisor), Victor Ukaegbu (Supervisor) & R Prior (Supervisor)

Cite this