Why GSA?

The training of an actor is an intensive process which requires curiosity, courage and commitment. At Guildford School of Acting, our philosophy of actor training is founded on the development of the individual and their growth within the practice of the ensemble, helping you to develop your imagination, range, skills and technique.

Programme overview

Drawing primarily on the teaching and practices of Stanislavsky and Lecoq, as well as the work of Mike Alfreds, Uta Hagen, Sanford Meisner and Rudolf Laban, our Acting programme will help you develop a clear set of individual technical skills, from singing to stage combat. Important critical and evaluative skills will then enable you to do the best work possible for stage and screen. 

Your imagination will be developed through play, improvisation and scene work. You will also take screen acting classes as well as film and radio projects to explore the unique processes needed in the contemporary world of recorded media.

Professional development classes and workshops with guest speakers will allow you to develop your professional network and maximise all employment opportunities. A final showcase presentation in a West End theatre, to invited agents and industry guests, will complete your transition from student to professional performer.

Programme structure

Year 1

Specific areas of study include storytelling, naturalism and American realism, as well as the practices listed above. Acting classes will focus on Stanislavsky and Lecoq.

You will have classes in voice, singing and movement.

Compulsory modules:

Year 2

Specific areas of study include Shakespeare, comedy and professional development.

Classes in acting for camera will develop your understanding of screen performance methodologies.

You will begin to look at audition and interview techniques and learn the tools necessary to market yourself in today’s creative industries.

Rehearsal projects will include classical text, followed by a comedy project. Recent works for these projects include Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Pericles, and a contemporary comedy project based on Commedia dell’Arte.

At the end of the second year the Rehearsal Project is replaced by rehearsals for your first public performance. Recent productions at this point have included 13 by Mike Bartlett and Bent by Martin Sherman.

This will be followed by a unique contemporary practice project, which may include collaboration with external theatre producers. Last year’s project was led by the Natural Theatre Company.

Compulsory modules:

Year 3

Much of the final year will be taken up with rehearsals for public performances and the West End showcase. Productions are chosen to reflect the needs and qualities of each year group, as well as engaging with both cutting-edge contemporary writers and challenging classic plays.

Recent productions include:

  • The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning by Tim Price, directed by Sophie Lifschutz
  • Fanny and Fagott by Jack Thorne, directed by Justin Audibert
  • Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  • The Colour of Justice by Richard Norton­-Taylor

You will work with external directors who will introduce you to the realities of industry practice. Recent visiting directors include:

  • Justin Audibert
  • Dan Coleman
  • Kate Budgen
  • Nikolai Foster
  • Lisa Spirling
  • Sophie Lifschutz
  • Marieke Audsley
  • Jules Tipton

You will work on a film project, footage from which will be available to you on DVD.

During this year you will undertake a personal assignment that will offer scope for independent practice and a critical evaluation of your learning.

Compulsory modules:

Disclaimer: Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

2018 entry requirements

What qualifications do you need?

A-Level AAB
European Baccalaureate 75 per cent
International Baccalaureate 34 overall, including 6, 6, 5 at Higher Level
Scottish Highers Scottish Advanced Highers AAB/Scottish Highers AAABB
Welsh Baccalaureate Pass overall with AAB from the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate and two A-Levels
Access to HE Diploma 45 Level 3 credits overall including 39 at Distinction and 6 at Merit

Other international qualifications

If you are an international student and you don’t meet the entry requirements to this degree, we offer the International Foundation Year. Find out more about the International Foundation Year.

Required subjects

GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade C/4 or above (or international equivalent)

Selection process

Entry is also subject to successful audition. Candidates who can demonstrate exceptional talent, and can satisfy the panel of their ability to complete the programme may also be considered.  The course does not require a specific grade standard on an instrument. However,  your playing and sight-reading ability should be of a high level and your understanding of harmony and music should be advanced

A non-refundable audition fee will be charged.


English language requirements

IELTS minimum overall: 6.5

IELTS minimum by component: 6.0

If you are an international student and you are concerned that your English is not to the required standard, you may benefit from the International Foundation Year, run by the Surrey International Study Centre.

Please note that the University of Surrey offers English language programmes and is also an IELTS Test Centre.

Course options

Qualification BA (Hons)
Course Length 3 years
Professional Training
UCAS Code W410

Tuition fees

View a complete listing of all ongoing fees for our undergraduate programmes.

The University will assess your fee status. If you are unsure whether you are likely to be considered a home, EU or overseas student for fees purposes, the UKCISA website offers more information.

Bursaries and scholarships

We're committed to making sure that we offer support for students who might need it. Find out more about bursaries and scholarships.

International students

Experienced staff in our International Student Office are available to help from the moment you consider studying at the University. We offer professional advice on immigration, visa issues, entry qualifications, pre-departure information, employment regulations and international student welfare.

How to apply

Find out how and when to apply to study at Surrey.

Graduate prospects

Our graduates have an unrivalled employment record in West End shows and national tours. Our very distinguished alumni include performers such as:

  • Brenda Blethyn OBE
  • Oliver James
  • Bill Nighy
  • Owen Teale
  • Celia Imrie
  • Jonjo O’Neill
  • Kobner Holbrook­-Smith
  • Billy Carter
  • Ian Kelsey
  • Rob Kazinsky
  • Chris Geere
  • Claire Cooper
  • Justin Fletcher MBE

Theatre (West End)

  • The Effect, The Royal National Theatre
  • Richard III, The Royal Shakespeare Company
  • Warhorse, New London Theatre
  • Strangers on a Train, Gielgud Theatre
  • Chariots of Fire, Gielgud and Hampstead Theatres
  • The Rivals, Theatre Royal, Haymarket
  • The Mousetrap, St Martin’s Theatre
  • The Tempest, The Old Vic
  • The 39 Steps, Criterion Theatre


  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Working Title
  • Calendar Girls, Buena Vista Productions
  • Defiance, Paramount Pictures
  • Nanny McPhee, Universal Pictures
  • Pacific Rim, Warner Bros
  • Red Tails, 20th Century Fox
  • What a Girl Wants, Warner Brothers
  • Saving Grace, 20th Century Fox
  • The Prince & MeElephant Adventure, First Look Studios
  • The Prince & Me 4: Royal Adventures in Paradise, First Look Studios
  • Love Actually, Universal Pictures
  • 28 Days Later, 20th Century Fox


  • Vera, ITV
  • Death In Paradise, BBC
  • Waterloo Road, BBC
  • Death Comes to Pemberley, BBC
  • The Great Train Robbery
  • A Copper’s Tale, BBC
  • Doctor Who ­"Day of the Doctor", BBC
  • My Mad Fat Diary, E4
  • Game of Thrones, HBO
  • The Café, Sky 1
  • Holby City, BBC
  • Casualty, BBC
  • Doctors, BBC
  • Silk, BBC
  • Midsomer Murders, ITV
  • Stella, Sky 1
  • Call the Midwife, BBC
  • Fresh Meat, E4
  • True Blood, HBO
  • Hollyoaks, Channel 4
  • Trollied, Sky 1