EDUC 756 : Applied Theatre: Performance of Hope

Education and Social Work

2024 Semester Two (1245) (30 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Applied theatre describes a range of performance practices that address significant social issues. Students will engage with practical approaches to applying theatre in diverse community contexts. Building on an historical overview of applied theatre, students will critically consider political, ethical, aesthetic and pedagogic problems and possibilities inherent to theatre practices that actively contribute to social change.

Course Overview

This course is for theatre makers, artists, educators, social workers, youth workers and others interested in ways to explore issues with groups and communities using theatre and performance.

Delivered by Professor Peter O’Connor and Dr Molly Mullen, with some expert guests, this course provides students with:
•    Practical approaches to participatory theatre and performance in community and institutional contexts.
•    A historical overview of this area of practice in Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally.
•    Critical understanding of key political, ethical, aesthetic and pedagogic issues.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Graduate Profile: Master of Education

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Contextualize examples of practice in relation to contemporary and historical education, theatre and social movements. (Capability 3.1 and 4.1)
  2. Develop, design and justify a proposal for an applied theatre/performance project, process or event in a specific community, context or to address a significant social issue (Capability 3.2 and 4.3)
  3. Critically evaluate the political, ethical, aesthetic and pedagogic tensions that are inherent in the creation of applied thetare and performance. (Capability 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Essay 50% Individual Coursework
Presentation 50% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3
To pass this course students must submit all assessments and achieve at least 50% for the overall course

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 30 point course and students are expected to spend 20 hours per week involved in each course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 3 hours of workshop/seminars/lectures, 10 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 7 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation (per week).

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including seminars and studio workshops will not be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events.
Attendance on campus is required for the presentation.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable delivery.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

"The range of areas with the field covered through the course alongside the flexibility within the assignments to explore my own interests helped my learning. It was also really helpful to listen to / work with a range of practitioners / visiting lecturers as it provided a sense of the work beyond the classroom."

"The content was presented in a very engaging way. Theory was accompanied by practical sessions of exploration which helped make it more accessible. International experts in the subject were also brought in to teach directly, helping bring clarity to some difficult readings and ideas."

"There was a friendly learning atmosphere."

Other Information

This course involves practical theatre workshops as well as lectures and seminar discussion. Students should come prepared to work practically and collaboratively.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.