Acting MA

This Guildford School of Acting (GSA) programme places a very strong emphasis on practical actor training, delivered via a series of project workshops and rehearsals supported by extensive classes in relevant technical skills. GSA is part of the University of Surrey.

Why Surrey?

The MA Acting is specifically designed for those who already have an undergraduate degree or have worked professionally in the performance industry for a minimum of five years. We are looking for individuals who seek a career in the performing arts and who have the focus and dedication to enable swift progression in both the acquisition of new skills and the development of existing capabilities.

Previous students have included graduates in law, business, drama and engineering, as well as professional dancers, cabaret performers and models.

Programme overview

You will need to be able to expand your horizons through challenging your own limitations physically, emotionally and intellectually; to seek out the questions and pursue the answers that will further enhance your practical artistic development. You will need to be intelligent and expressive, inquisitive and courageous, in order to contribute to the furtherance of the theatrical enterprise with skill, commitment and focus.

By examining the processes of acting within a carefully selected and committed ensemble, we are able to offer a creative and stimulating learning environment in which you will be prepared for a successful career in the performing arts industry. Cohorts are kept small in order to ensure the maximum amount of personal attention and contact necessary for your development.

Programme Aims

  • Ensure that you are adept in analytical, vocal and physical techniques that will help you present convincing characters and interpret complex text
  • Develop your experience of a variety of performance media
  • Impart skills and techniques that will improve your chances of professional employment

Throughout the programme you will be progressively introduced to the industry structures and business processes that will be necessary to you as independent practitioners. You are also encouraged to further research and reflect on your professional development plan in order to maximize the opportunity presented by the final showcase performance.


The course delivers intensive training in acting, physical and vocal techniques. These techniques are explored through class work and rehearsal projects that will include examples of both contemporary and classical texts. Stanislavski-based scene study techniques and Lecoq-based physical theatre workshops combine with classes in Shakespeare’s verse and text, voice, movement and dance and professional preparation seminars. There are also classes in camera and radio technique and related contextual studies, together with one-to-one tutorials and group and individual feedback sessions that ensure a rigorous critical awareness of process and progress.

Towards the end of the course the technique classes reduce in order to focus on full-time rehearsals for a professionally staged production at a public venue together with a further contemporary project in either recorded media or live performance.

Finally, you will be occupied in writing your critical evaluation and producing your professional development plan before returning in September to perform a professional showcase of scenes that will be presented to casting directors and agents in Guildford and at a West End theatre. The course aims to develop highly creative, versatile and resilient actors who can confidently approach a wide variety of texts, genres and performance media and who are able to both reflect upon and critically evaluate their own practice.


"I am really pleased that I came to GSA as it has given me the ideal grounding to work across the industry with not only a high level of quality to my work but also a distinguished level of professionalism that never goes unnoticed. I put these things down to the excellent training that I received at GSA."

- Marina Waters, MA Acting 2010-2011

"The MA Acting course has been an intensely rigorous journey which has endlessly flexed my creative muscles, heightened my self-awareness and deepened my understanding of what it means to nurture an individual's body, spirit and mind through an ensemble, while remaining true to one's self."

- Rebecca Yeo, MA Acting 2011-2012

Professional recognition

Accredited by Drama UK

Accredited by Drama UK.

Related programmes

Postgraduate (Taught)

Professional development

Related departments/schools

Related research areas

Programme leader

Jacquelyn Bessell

Find out more

General enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

Admissions enquiries:


Programme facts

Type of programme:


Programme length:

  • Full-time: 12 months

Start date:

Sep 2016

Entry Requirements

Bachelors degree (minimum 2.1 or equivalent) in a relevant field, as well as previous engagement with drama, theatre and performance. Offers are made in terms of grades and a successful audition and interview.

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

Further information can be found on the GSA website.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.


Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time Sep 2016 £14,000 £15,000

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2016/2017 only. Annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

A complete list of all fees for our Masters Programmes


Discounts for Surrey graduates

Thinking of continuing your education at Surrey? As an alumnus of Surrey you may be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught Masters programme fees. Learn more.

For more details

Admissions Information

Our Admissions Policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.

Further information for applicants

Postgraduate Study Advice

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.

Find out more


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

Upcoming Events