Why study at GSA
Guildford School of Acting is one of the UK’s leading accredited drama schools, providing dedicated conservatoire training within a purpose-built environment on the University of Surrey campus.
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.
As a musical theatre performer, you will be passionate and creative, and able to form a deep connection with your story, character and audience.
Guildford School of Acting (GSA) is one of the most highly regarded musical theatre schools in the world, and our two-year MFA in Musical Theatre will provide you with the very best conservatoire training in a top UK university environment.
Building on our international reputation in musical theatre, this is the only two-year postgraduate programme in Europe is unique in the way it combines training to enhance your skills with professional opportunities and chances to launch your career.
You will be taught by academics who have extensive industry links and who bring their connections into the classroom. Our staff are active in the performing arts industry and balance their performing commitments with their teaching duties.
Successful entry onto GSA’s MFA Musical Theatre means you’ll be part of a carefully selected and committed ensemble of performers-in-training, equipped with the self-discipline and motivation to master new skills and refine existing capabilities.
What you will study
On our MFA Musical Theatre, you’ll gain a broad range of musical theatre knowledge and skills while performing in a variety of outstanding productions.
Supported by first-class teaching, your learning will involve a working knowledge of historical, critical and theoretical content, and the creation of performances that will be presented to agents and professionals for maximum industry exposure.
You will take skills classes in acting, singing and dancing, and will have professional development sessions where you will learn how the industry works and how you fit within it. Rehearsal projects of excerpts of musicals will integrate your skills and your first year culminates in a public performance with your peers.
In the second year you will undertake a Pedagogies module and will appear in a joint public performance with the MA actors before a production of a new musical. The programme culminates in a sustained independent project.
Please be aware: the course content and modules listed for this course are subject to change for the 2024/25 academic year, whilst we undertake a curriculum design review. Please contact the programme leader if you have any queries about the course
I really loved the fact that no matter what your skill level was, the instructors tried to find the best ways to teach us all individually. We were not being mass produced to look, sound, and move the same, each of our unique traits were used to enhance our performance aesthetic
Asya Toney MFA Musical Theatre Graduate
Graduate Story: Tom White
To view the course structure please click here
The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes.
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.
Our MFA in Musical Theatre will provide graduates with:
- The ability to employ a broad range of Musical Theatre knowledge and skills in the creation and presentation of roles
- The ability to perform in plays of various types and from various periods
- The acquisition of advanced understanding and capabilities in singing, dance, acting and play analysis
- A working knowledge of historical, critical, and theoretical content and the ways they inform musical theatre writing, the creation of roles, and other aspects of production
The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, skills, qualities and other attributes in the following areas:
Knowledge and understanding
- 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:
- An advanced understanding of the physical and vocal techniques required to maintain an expressive body and the optimum functionality of the voice
- A critical understanding of key theoretical and methodological developments in the practice of musical theatre
- A sophisticated understanding of the application of technique to differing theatrical forms, styles, genres and historical contexts
- A comprehensive understanding of current industry practice
Intellectual / cognitive skills
- Recognise, interpret and contextualise approaches to genre, idiom, style and historical context
- Recognise and respond appropriately to the demands of different musical theatre styles
- Ability to evaluate, critique and develop methodologies of practice
- Critically analyse and reflect on their own and others’ practice
Professional practical skills
- Identify and develop a personally effective and methodological approach to rehearsal
- Select and apply vocal and physical techniques appropriate to different genres, styles and periods of musical theatre
- Demonstrate creative, original and imaginative work in performance
- Contribute effective and appropriate advanced practices and concepts to an ensemble process
- Demonstrate evidence of extensive practical research and effective preparation for entry into the current performance industry
Key / transferable skills
- Be disciplined and consistent in a professional context
- Conduct themselves constructively, positively and sensitively towards others
- Able to both lead and collaborate as part of a team, on practical and research projects
- Communicate effectively and at an advanced level in both verbal and written form.
- Seek out, critique and employ information appropriately
- Recognise and develop commercial and artistic career opportunities.
Our graduates have an unrivalled employment record in West End shows, national tours, television, radio and film. Our very distinguished alumni include performers such as:
- Brenda Blethyn OBE
- Bill Nighy
- Ella Balinska
- Owen Teale
- Celia Imrie
- Jonjo O’Neill
- Alexandra Mardell
- Kobna Holdbrook-Smith MBE
- Danielle Fiamanya
- Tam Mutu
- Caroline Sheen
- Rob Kazinsky
- Jade Anouka
- Chris Geere
- Emma Barton
- Justin Fletcher MBE
- T'Nia Miller
- Stephen Carlile
- Maiya Quansah-Breed
- Grace Mouat
- Bronagh Waugh
Our alumni have also secured employment in numerous regional theatres, opera and ballet companies, arts venues, scenic construction and prop-making companies, corporate events and lighting, sound and video hire companies, as well as attaining management and creative production roles for major venues and production companies including the Really Useful Group, Cameron Mackintosh Ltd, the National Theatre, the BBC, the Royal Albert Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall, ATG Theatres and PRG Dubai. Other career paths have included teaching and outreach work.
To view the entry requirements please click here
For more audition information please visit AUDITIONS & INTERVIEWS
GSA International Auditions in Philadelphia, USA
We are excited to announce we will be holding in-person auditions this year in Philadelphia. This will be open to all GSA applicants. If you are applying for BA Acting or BA Musical Theatre and would like to audition in Philadelphia, you must have completed the first round video audition stage, and to have been invited to a recall audition.
The auditions will take place on 22 January 2024 in Philadelphia. Venue TBC
In order to be invited to this audition, we must receive your application no later than Friday 5 January 2024. For BA Musical Theatre and BA Acting applications, we must receive your UCAS application by Friday 3 November 2023. The deadline to submit first-round videos will be Friday 1 December 2023.
Please note: the above only applies to applicants interested in auditioning in Philadelphia, USA.
Thinking of continuing your education at Surrey? As an alumnus of Surrey, you may be eligible for a ten percent discount on our taught Masters programme fees. Learn more about discounts for Surrey graduates
We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.
In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.
Learn more about opportunities that might be available for this particular programme by using our student exchanges search tool.
Steps to Postgraduate Study is an official, independent guide for anyone considering a taught postgraduate course. The guide is produced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Funding Council and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.