Community & Applied Drama Lab (CADLab)

Newman University CADLab has secured a grant from BBC Children in Need to develop its Drama department's work in Applied Theatre and Wellbeing to improve the lives of young sick children in local hospitals.

The grant, worth £49,349 over three years, will see the university’s CADLab (Community and Applied Drama laboratory) research centre bringing specially-developed drama performances to children’s bedsides while they are in hospital undergoing treatment. The performances and arts activities will explore the impact of theatrical experience on children’s perception of illness and wellbeing in both healthcare and educational environments. The project will start in 2016, in the West Midlands, before being rolled out to hospitals and schools in partnership with NHS Trusts and the Local Educational Authorities across the UK. To find out more, view the news story here.

CADLab goes paediatrics! Newman University and CADLab ran storytelling sessions with children in paediatrics at Heartland hospital, NHS Trust, in April 2015. Previously they performed 'Breathing with Love' bedside for children in the same hospital several times throughout 2014 and 'The Boy nad the turtle' at Birmingham Children's hospital, NHS Trust (cardiac, cancer nad paediatrics). Cadlab not only outreaches for children in hospitals and schools in the Uk but also abroad. Drama students performed to children in primary schools in Gambia in January 2014.

Newman Drama students explore the impact of Applied Theatre on children's wellbeing in education and in healthcare, in the UK and abroad, gaining valuable experience, and making valuable connections between the relevant modules they take on their Drama degree and the work they were undertaking in the community. CADlab offers eye-opening and enriching learning experiences which our Drama students remember for years.

CADLAB in the news: Newman University Drama students perform bedside at Heartlands

A BIG THANK YOU goes to the Heartlands Hospital Arts Department, The Grimmitt Trust and W.A. Cadbury Trust for supporting CADLab.

CADLab - developing Newman Drama students


As a Drama student at Newman, you have the opportunity to get involved with the Community & Applied Drama Lab (CADLab). CADLab is a research unit established within Newman's Drama department in 2010. Most of the CADLab projects are linked to empirical-led research in the field of Applied Drama/Theatre, evaluating drama and theatre's effectiveness in developing social awareness, learning through theatre, promoting health and supporting the wellbeing of children, young people and those suffering from illness or medical conditions.

Students with an interest in Applied Drama/Theatre, Devising, Community Drama, Theatre-in-Education, Theatre and Society, Theatre for Development, Voicing stories, Arts in Health & Wellbeing, Medical Humanities and, in the sister field of Dramatherapy, get the chance to take their work into a range of disciplines across the West Midlands .In CADLab you will explore the techniques and methodologies needed to facilitate Verbatim Theatre and Forum Theatre work with a range of community groups and organisations.

'CADLab initiative is an excellent resource for student learning, as is the involvement of professionals from NHS and other contexts.  External Examiner's report 2012.

 'All of the judges were impressed by your work and thought that your project had made a significant impact.' Director Creative Health CIC

Benefits of CADLab

The advantages to students of participating in CADLab are that it gives you the opportunity to:

  • Work with experts in Applied Drama/Theatre from across the region.
  • Work with experts in medicine, healthcare, social work, youth and community work.
  • Gain a wide range of experiences and skills, including planning, devising, performing, filming and evaluating portable theatre performances.
  • Learn to produce work for a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, clinics, hospices, homes, arts centres, and community and theatre venues.
  • Have their volunteering accredited through the HEAR Newman Volunteering Awards scheme.
  • Network, and obtain work experience with, companies and organisations which could lead to future employment.

In CADLab projects, our students work on the principles of interactive participatory theatre, and learn Forum and Image Theatre techniques and new skills. They gain knowledge transfer experience and they network with host organisations and future employers in the community.  View details of a recent project, a production of two devised monologues about mental illness.


CADLab was founded in 2010 with an Entrepreneurship Award from HefCE & UnLtd in support of the Applied Drama work in the department. CADLab operates in partnership with Birmingham Children's Hospital, NHS Trust and Heartlands Hospital, NHS Trust.

Further information

For further information, see the CADLAB Report 2014-2015.



Contact us

If you are a current or prospective student, a colleague, a drama teacher or a community artist and would like to find out more about CADLab, please contact:







pdf  Bedside Theatre performance and its effects on hospitalised children
Last updated: 15 August 2017

pdf  Birmingham Children’s Hospital Bedside Theatre Pilot Study
Last updated: 26 September 2011

pdf  Devising monologues on domestic violence for
Last updated: 07 May 2015

pdf  Hospital theatre: promoting child wellbeing in cardiac and cancer wards
Last updated: 07 May 2015

pdf  Theatre, Society and Stigma: Mental Illness onstage
Last updated: 07 May 2015

pdf  CADLab Report 2014-2015
Last updated: 21 January 2016

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