Applied Theatre – artistic theater practice & society

Applied Theatre

The study of contemporary theatre practices at the Thomas Bernhard Institute conveys extensive practical and theoretical knowledge that enables students to develop their individual working methods to situate themselves aesthetically in a historical and social context.

Study & Occupational Fields

Citizen stage, participatory theater, theater of intervention, theater and community, theater pedagogy or even: Applied Theatre - many names describe developments in the international theater landscape in which the relationships between actors and spectators as well as rehearsal and production processes are being reformulated.

Applied Theatre means transferring the art of theater to social fields of action that are not necessarily art or theater related. The Master's program includes the exploration and invention of participatory, immersive, interventionist, collaborative and site-specific forms and formats. Students are invited to search for the theatrical in the everyday, to translate interests into action and to "read" spaces and people beyond theatrical conventions.

General study information

The program is explicitly aimed at theatre- and performance professionals from almost all fields of study and work. The completion of a specific theatre degree is not necessary, but relevant practical experience in theatre is.

The study program aims to familiarize students with both the theory and practice of various processes of research, facilitating and directing, including those that transcend current conventions.  Students will learn to work artistically with practitioners from diverse professional, cultural and social backgrounds and to use theatre boldly and skillfully to intervene in the world. The core of the two year MA program is there for the students‘ individual project work accompanied by an expanded engagement with theatre and performance in a variety of societal contexts. For this the Thomas Bernhardt Institut provides laboratory working conditions that offer students both space and feedback in order to develop as artists.

The goals of the Master's degree program in Applied Theatre are artistic maturity and independence, ability for critical reflection and self-evaluation, artistic ability to open up participatory, immersive and inclusive theater practices and dramaturgies, and the ability to fulfill artistic, pedagogical and organizational tasks within cultural life. It serves to deepen and complement the artistic, pedagogical and scientific professional preparation on the basis of subject-related Bachelor's studies.

The master's program qualifies students for artistic professional practice in the fields of theater pedagogy, directing, dramaturgy, performance, curating in the areas of community-based performing arts (e.g. youth work). Students should be enabled to perceive and help shape artistic and overall social developments.

The curriculum is competency-based. Students should, after completion of the Master's program Applied Theatre:

  • be free and independent in their artistic work critically
  • engage with artistic and scientific issues
  • be able to transfer the performing arts into different artistic, pedagogical and sociological fields of action
  • be able to work artistically with different actors from different professional, cultural and social backgrounds
  • be able to initiate and implement research, instruction and staging processes in different social contexts
  • have the ability to, to apply traditional performative forms and formats and to reflect on them in their mentality-historical and social context
  • be able to independently and confidently apply theater pedagogical methods and practices of aesthetic education in the corresponding work contexts own inclusive
  • be able to invent their own inclusive, participatory and immersive forms and formats
  • be able to develop the ability to form teams
  • be able to master scientific working techniques and analyze, interpret and elaborate artistic content in writing
  • be able to further develop their individual interests beyond their own subject area through targeted in-depth study in the context of (free) elective subjects, in the spirit of lifelong learning

The focus is on the students' independent project work, accompanied by an in-depth examination of theater and performance in various social contexts. To this end, the Thomas Bernhard Institute offers laboratory-like working conditions that provide students with space and resonance for their artistic development. Special importance is also attached to the collaborative aspects of Applied Theatre, which play an important role in collective processes of experience and learning.

In concrete terms, students develop their projects within the framework of practice-oriented focus modules dedicated to performers and actors, spaces and fields of action, as well as aspects of artistic research. This corresponds to theoretical and discursive events on performance theory, educational psychology, dramaturgical practice, applied theory, and artistic group and individual instruction in the areas of body/movement, voice/speech, and improvisation, among others.

The smooth transition to professional practice is a major concern. Central to this is the opportunity for students to present their own projects in public while still in the program.

The Master's programme in Applied Theatre has a modular structure. A module is the combination of teaching and learning content into thematically and didactically meaningful units of study. The names and content descriptions (study objectives) of the individual modules as well as the number of ECTS credits to be achieved for each module and the type of performance assessment are specified in the curriculum. The module descriptions refer to the corresponding learning outcomes and competencies.

Link to semester plan

The Master's program is a face-to-face program and cannot be offered - not even in parts - as a distance learning program. The courses from the Central Artistic Subject (ZKF) as well as the other Individual Artistic Instruction (KE) are designed to build upon each other. Prerequisite for enrollment in courses from the ZKF or KE is in each semester - with the exception of the first - the positive evaluation of the previous semester.  

The prerequisite for admission to the Master's program Applied Theatre is the completion of a Bachelor's degree or another equivalent degree in a (scenic) artistic, pedagogical or scientific subject at a recognized domestic or foreign post-secondary educational institution. For internal and external applicants, admission to the Master's program Applied Theatre is only possible after fulfilling the qualitative admission requirements ( admission examination ) and according to the available study places. Within the framework of this examination, applicants must also prove their artistic/social/pedagogical potential to master the Master's program.

In any case, the completion of a bachelor's degree in voice, composition, music theory, choral conducting, orchestral conducting, elementary music and dance pedagogy or the completion of a diploma program in acting or directing as well as a bachelor's degree in instrumental-singing pedagogy, an instrumental subject (concert subject) or a teaching degree program at the Mozarteum University is considered to be eligible for the Master's degree in Applied Theatre.

The Rectorate decides on the admission to the master's program in accordance with the provisions of the University Act on admission if another study program is available that is suitable in terms of subject matter or if a study program at a recognized domestic or foreign post-secondary educational institution is equivalent.

The application procedure for the MA "Applied Theatre - artistic theater practice and society" is divided into three steps:

1.  The online application and submission of the portfolio from 1st February 2024 to 28th March 2024

2.  Online workshop after invitation 5th and 6th April 2024

3.  Admission examination in the form of a practical workshop on site in Salzburg, after invitation 3rd and 4th May 2024

The following documents must be uploaded completely in the course of the online application:

  • Bachelor's degree certificate (or degree certificate of an equivalent study program). If a Bachelor's degree is not yet available, a confirmation of enrollment or an official confirmation of the planned graduation must be uploaded.
  • Complete overview of subjects and grades (Transcript of Records) of the Bachelor's degree. Applicants with foreign documents must attach an official translation of their documents in German or English in addition to the respective original.
  • Proof of positive completion of a course from the area "Introduction to Scientific Work". If no corresponding course of at least one hour has been completed, this must be made up for within the first two semesters at the Mozarteum University (subsequent enrollment).
  • Proof of English (at the time of admission: A2).
  • Tabular curriculum vitae and letter of motivation.
  • Proof of an internship of several months (possibly an assistantship) in a relevant field of practice.
  • If applicable, a letter of recommendation (e.g. a well-founded recommendation or an expert opinion from a teacher or a theater practitioner).
  • Artistic application portfolio in the form of a pdf document.

The following documents must be submitted as part of the artistic application portfolio in a pdf document including a cover sheet:

  • A portfolio with one (!) artistic work (e.g. videos or documentations of own works) with the aim to get also a visual impression of the respective works. Not only written concepts should be submitted. Audio and video material must be made available in the application folder via link.
  • A concept of a possible master thesis in the context of the MA Applied Theatre, e.g. a participatory project, a youth project, a performative intervention. The concept is to be limited to a maximum of one DIN A4 page plus possible visual material.
  • A bachelor thesis or equivalent scientific work.
  • Tabular curriculum vitae as well as a letter of motivation.
  • Proof of an internship (possibly an assistantship) of several months in a relevant field of practice.
  • If applicable, a letter of recommendation (e.g. a well-founded recommendation or an expert opinion from a teacher or a theater practitioner).
  • A statement to the effect: "I certify that I have produced and conceptualized the work submitted in the portfolio."

The work/documents must be digitized (scans, photo, etc.) and uploaded with a cover sheet (photo, name, zip code, city, date of birth, street, phone number, high school diploma, mail and a statement of previous professional training, date and signature) as a coherent pdf document. Only one upload will be accepted.

Admission workshop

Examination content: The second part of the admission examination consists of several practical parts in the form of a workshop as well as an interview with the examination commission.

Examination: Compulsory for all applicants with a positive portfolio examination. The invitation to the entrance examination is sent out approx. 2 weeks before the examination date.

Examination waiver: Not possible.

Examination requirements: The admission examination in the form of a workshop consists of several practical parts (e.g. in the areas of improvisation, movement, instruction practice, research). In addition, the scenic/social imagination, discursive competence and conceptual potential will be assessed in an interview with the examination committee.

Deviating examination method

Please note that the University Mozarteum Salzburg offers various support options for the admission examination and during your studies if you have a disability or a chronic illness.

If this applies to you and you would like to take advantage of counselling, please contact Claudia Haitzmann: or +43 676 88122 337.

Students of the Master's programme are recommended to complete a semester abroad. Semesters 5 and 6 of the degree programme are particularly suitable for this. In addition to the subject-specific competences, the following qualifications can be acquired through a study period abroad:

  • Acquisition and deepening of subject-specific foreign language skills
  • Acquisition and deepening of general language skills (language comprehension, conversation, etc.)
  • Acquisition and deepening of organisational skills through independent planning of everyday study life in international administrative and university structures
  • Getting to know and studying in international study systems as well as broadening one's own subject perspective
  • Acquisition and deepening of intercultural competences

The recognition of examinations taken during studies abroad as compulsory subjects, elective subjects or free elective subjects is carried out by the Director of Studies. The documents required for the assessment are to be submitted by the applicant immediately after the stay abroad.

Details at International Affairs.

  • Our examination rooms are barrier-free. The department has a lift to the upper floors and a stair lift to the basement.
  • On exam days, our students are available to assist you if necessary, if desired.
  • If you have any questions regarding the admission test and your studies, please contact our office: +43 676 88122 445. You will then be put in touch with a person from our department with whom you can discuss your specific needs.
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