This article uses reflective dialogues to consider the complex expertise of those who work in applied theatre, with the objective of informing training for the role. Operating across a range of differing locations and practice genres, applied theatre prioritises responsive approaches and resists secure identification with a fixed set of practices. Characterisation of an applied theatre practitioner is also hard to delineate. They function beyond the craft, spaces and processes of theatre alone, working with artistic and social factors generated in practice within the context, facilitating both performance and participants’ personal outcomes, negotiating ethically within communities for potential social gains. These specialised practitioners demonstrate interactive qualities whilst in the role which can appear intuitive, and consequently challenging to teach/train. To explore the question of how to make a ‘good’ applied theatre practitioner, a dozen experienced practitioners were invited, through reflective conversations, to consider what makes up their expertise and how they trained for practice. The article also examines ways to conceptualise the role, and a model of skilful ethical comportment is drawn from nursing training to illuminate how professional capacities can be identified and acquired in the development of expertise. The role emerges as responsive, dialogically negotiated, embodied, and not prescribed.