Why GSA?

Created to sit alongside Guildford School of Acting's internationally recognised programmes in Musical Theatre and Acting, our innovative Actor-Musician programme will help you to maximise your talents, combining superb acting ability with a high standard of musicianship to take advantage of the growing appetite for versatile performers across the industry.

Programme overview

On our Actor-Musician programme, the focus is on developing your versatility to work professionally as an actor musician in a wider range of theatrical contexts.

Over the course of your studies you will explore and develop broad and specialised performance skills in acting, singing, musicianship and dance, alongside important critical and evaluative skills.

As a result you will become a highly disciplined, individual and versatile performer who has both artistic integrity and the ability to work in collaboration with others.

You will also benefit from GSA’s widely respected international reputation for training musical theatre practitioners as you build your performing career.

Our BA Actor Musician Course received 91% overall satisfaction in the recent National Student Survey 2018

Programme structure

Year 1 (FHEQ Level 4)

The first year of study is split into two semesters each of 15 weeks' duration. The course explores the core techniques that you will need as an actor in a range of theatrical settings, from plays to musicals.

Compulsory modules:

In vocal studies you will benefit from the high level of teaching for which GSA is internationally renowned. You will study small-group singing, where you will work on technique and the understanding of your voice, as well as ensemble singing, which brings together the group to develop skill and technique.

Alongside this, voice is taught, allowing the spoken voice to become free and responsive across a range of texts.

Context runs throughout the first year and here you will look at a range of different historical and academic approaches to theatre, embedding the skills that you will need in the third year as part of your research project.

Musicianship is a unique module to the Actor-Musician course, in which you will work with musical directors and music lecturers to embed the skills of working and playing as an ensemble, arrangement and also specific study of your specialist area (for example woodwind, keyboard, brass, and so on).

Across the first year there are points given for extended tutorials for one-to-one teaching (generally six per semester) on your singing voice and your main instrument.

Year 2 (FHEQ Level 5)

The second year of study carries on developing and widening core technique skills in vocal studies and musicianship, again with an emphasis on you working together, playing together and singing together as an ensemble to develop the skills and professional qualities needed to work as an actor musician.

Context carries on throughout the second year, with repertoire introduced to extend your range of vocal songs and instrumental pieces to play.


Acting becomes a workshop series of rehearsals, where in the first semester you will look at three or four different texts (one by Shakespeare), where the skills of the actor musician are integrated into the work and a piece of theatre begins to take shape that utilises the skills of the ensemble.

In the second semester music theatre becomes the focus of the workshop again with texts studied with the intention of creating a vehicle for an ensemble of actor musicians.

Compulsory modules:

Year 3 (FHEQ Level 6)

The third year of study is mainly about performance. Three performance projects will run to a public audience; the first a dramatic text, the second a piece of musical theatre and the third a piece of theatre created and devised by the cohort as their own work.

Throughout the year you will maintain skills with classes delivered by music lecturers, tutorials and dance workshops and the year culminates with a showcase at a West End venue.

You will also develop a research project, reflecting on and analysing the role of the actor musician and looking over your training as you enter the industry.

Compulsory modules:

Throughout the programme the emphasis is on your development as a performer and as an actor. The ethos of the course is to create an ensemble that is capable of taking any piece and working together to find new ways of exploring, interpreting and performing a piece of theatre.

Your skills when you leave the course will enable you to work as both an actor and an actor musician across a range of texts and performance contexts.

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.

2019 entry requirements

What qualifications do you need?

A-Level CCC
European Baccalaureate 68 per cent
International Baccalaureate 30 overall
Scottish Highers BBBCC
Welsh Baccalaureate CCC
Access to HE Diploma

21 at Distinction plus 3 at Merit plus 21 at Pass

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 here

Required subjects

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

The course does not require a specific grade standard. However, your playing and sight-reading ability should be of a high level and your understanding of harmony and music should be advanced – roughly equivalent to Grade 8 ABRSM and Grade 5 Theory.

Selection process

Offers are made in terms of grades and a successful audition (which will include acting, movement and singing/instrument workshops).

Applicants who can demonstrate exceptional talent, and can satisfy the panel of their ability to successfully complete the programme, may also be considered.

A non-refundable audition fee is usually charged. Further information can be found on the Application and Audition page.

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
UCAS Code AD29

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

West End productions

  • Les Misérables, Queen’s Theatre
  • The Light Princess, The National
  • Spamalot, Playhouse Theatre
  • From Here to Eternity, Shaftesbury Avenue
  • Book of Mormon, Prince of Wales
  • Phantom of the Opera, Her Majesty’s Theatre
  • The Commitments, Palace Theatre
  • Dirty Dancing, Piccadilly Theatre
  • Mamma Mia!, Novello Theatre
  • Matilda the Musical, Cambridge Theatre
  • Once, Phoenix Theatre
  • Stephen Ward, Aldwych Theatre
  • I Can’t Sing, London Palladium
  • Wicked, Apollo Victoria Theatre
  • Top Hat
  • Ghost
  • Hairspray
  • Shrek
  • Merrily We Roll Along
  • Color Purple
  • Sweeney Todd

UK tours and regional theatres

  • Shrek
  • Legally Blonde
  • Happy Days the Musical
  • Dreamboats and Petticoats ­
  • The Buddy Holly Story
  • West Side Story
  • Avenue Q
  • Cats
  • 9 to 5
  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
  • Singin’ in the Rain
  • The Lion King
  • Oliver!
  • Betty Blue Eyes
  • Evita