Qualification: CertHE
Course Length: 1 year full time
UCAS Code: W411
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Foundation Programme in Acting (CertHE)

*You will receive a Certificate of Higher Education Acting qualification upon completion of this course.

Please note that this foundation course does not form part of our BA (Hons) Acting degree and does not offer automatic progression to other degrees.

We are ranked 3rd in the UK for dance, drama and cinematics in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024, and 5th in the UK for drama and dance in the Guardian University Guide 2024. We were shortlisted for University of the Year in The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

The Foundation programme in Acting aims to nurture and develop skills and techniques for those who either wish to train within a conservatoire or higher education environment in pursuit of a career within the creative industry or for those who feel they are ready to try and enter the profession after a year of intensive training.

The Foundation Programme is both an innovative and intensive course led and taught by GSA’s highly experienced tutors and industry professionals. Graduates of the Foundation Acting programme have successfully gained places at: RADA, LAMDA, GSA, ALRA, LIPA, East 15, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Mountview, Central School of Speech and Drama, Arts Ed, Rose Bruford, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and Manchester Metropolitan. Past Foundation Acting students have also gone on to successfully form their own theatre companies, become playwrights, directors, and filmmakers. 

The Foundation Acting programme is delivered over three teaching blocks/terms, focusing upon the rudiments of the disciplines required for the aspiring actor/artist wishing to pursue a career within the industry. Throughout each teaching block/term, the programme focuses on the delivery of a diverse and extensive range of subjects including:

Students will study various acting techniques and the basics of practitioners including Stanislavski, Sanford Meisner, Uta Hagen and Michael Chekhov. Students will investigate approaches and techniques both to acting and text analysis through the study, research, and rehearsal of scenes from a contemporary play and works from both the Naturalistic and American Realism movements. Students will also study "The Magnificent Seven" - a technique developed by the Programme Leader; Michael Toumey.

Preparation and guidance for the selection and delivery of contemporary and classical monologues required for Drama School auditions. Audition technique is taught in group sessions allowing each student the opportunity to study the work of their peers and also learn from each other’s feedback. At the end of Teaching Blocks 1 and 2 there will be mock audition sessions where the students will receive feedback from a panel made up of Drama School practitioners and industry professionals.  

Skill-based classes are delivered within the programme. These will include:

  • Improvisation
  • Movement
  • Voice
  • Group Singing
  • Workshops and Masterclasses
  • Historical Dance for the Actor
  • Introduction to playwriting and directing

In Teaching Block 1, students will work on either a Contemporary, Naturalism, or American Realism play with an internal "work in progress" showing of selected scenes at the end of this teaching block.

In the first half of Teaching Block 2 students will work with a guest Director on either a Contemporary, Naturalism, or American Realism play with an internal showing of selected scenes.                                                      

In the second half of Teaching Block 2, students will work on a one-week Acting for Camera project with an industry professional, learning the basic camera techniques and skills required for further Screen Actor training. Teaching Block 2 will end with the Writing and Directing project where the students will learn how to produce and develop their own work. Using a social, issue-based theme, students will write and direct monologues/scenes culminating in a small-scale performance. Issues explored previously have included Homelessness and Knife Crime.  

In Teaching Block 3, students will perform in a professionally supported Public Showcase (two performances) of work within one of GSA’s performance venues. 

Students are offered support and guidance for the submission of applications to conservatoires and higher education institutions.

Workshops and masterclasses will be given by faculty from fellow conservatoires and industry professionals. Students will also have both group and one-to-one sessions. 

In teaching block two, the students will perform in a professionally supported Showcase Public Production of work within one of GSA’s performance venues.

In the second half of teaching block two, students will undertake an Acting for Camera project, learning the basic camera techniques and skills required for further screen acting training.


"The Foundation Acting course here at GSA is a unique stand-alone one-year intensive Acting course which offers students the chance to pursue different career paths. As well as auditioning and gaining entry to BA and MA Acting programmes in leading conservatoires, graduating students have also been offered agent representation at the end of their one-year training. Our unique social issue-based “Writing, Directing and Acting project” has also led to graduating students being given the opportunity to pursue careers in writing and directing. I believe this is why The Foundation Acting CertHE course here at GSA is one of the most dynamic and exciting in the UK."

Programme leader Michael Toumey

"The Foundation Course in Acting at GSA provided me with the necessary skills required to achieve a place at a drama school, however, I quickly realised that the course isn’t just about the place on a BA. The creative freedom and flexibility of the syllabus provided such a tailored experience for our cohort and really allowed us to gain as much experience from the year as was possible in the relatively short time we had. We had the opportunity of working with external directors throughout the course which created a width of understanding of different styles of working and adapting to new approaches to text. I found this course to be hugely valuable and incredibly formative for me as an actor."

Ed Shamwana, GSA Foundation Acting Course Graduate 2020 (GSA BA Acting 2020-2023)

Read more about what our students and graduates say about the course:

"The Foundation programme was the exact course I needed. Michael's clear explanations and method of teaching will stay with me forever. He has inspired me to work my hardest, know my worth and to keep on going in pursuit of my acting career."

Charlotte Cross

"I have had a wonderful experience and learnt so much this year. Especially the many incredible techniques that I shall be able to take with me for the rest of my life."

Tyler Moore

"I have learnt more about acting than I ever thought possible. Thank you for your patience and constant encouragement. This has been the hardest, at times frustrating, yet most exciting year of my life. Thank you for being a fantastic mentor."

Jenny Adams

"Having Michael as a director came at a pivotal point in my actor-training. he instils in his company a real confidence in ability and respect for the work, which makes for an exciting and free rehearsal room, allowing his actors to be brave and take risks. I was able to go into my final year at drama school with a real understanding of a rehearsal room and belief in the work."

Bradley Foster, GSA BA Acting graduate 2016, currently playing Charles Darwin, The Wider Earth (2019 Olivier nomination)

"I cannot believe how much I have learnt and gained from this year. My creativity and confidence have developed in ways I didn't think were ever possible."

Georgina Sinclair

"I have learnt so much about the subject, myself, and the British culture."

Maysan Benjelloun



MOJO at Waterloo East

In August 2019 a group of Foundation actors created ‘Dogs Out Theatre Company’ and took their end-of-year showcase production of ‘MOJO’ by Jez Butterworth and directed by Programme leader Michael Toumey for a week-long run at one of London’s premieres off West-End venues - Waterloo East Theatre. The run was an amazing success, playing to packed audiences, and receiving an incredible reception. Read the press release here.

Entry requirements

We can accept students aged 18 and over. Please bear in mind that if you are planning to progress to drama school or university after the Foundation Course you may need to have the necessary qualifications to meet their entry requirements.

GCSE English language and Mathematics at grade 4+ or above (or equivalent)

A level: CCD

If you can demonstrate exceptional talent and can satisfy the panel of your ability to successfully complete the course, you may be considered for a place irrespective of your academic background.

IELTS minimum overall: 6.5

IELTS minimum by component: 6.0

Find out more about fees and funding here.

Please note that government loans are available for this course.

Visit our Scholarships and Bursaries page for more details.


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.


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.

For more audition information please visit AUDITIONS & INTERVIEWS

A non-refundable audition fee will be charged.