Acting BA (Hons) – 2017 entry

GSA has strong and enthusiastic teaching staff who are focused on developing you as a rounded, valuable and unique actor.

What you'll study

The training of an actor is an intensive process, which requires curiosity, courage and commitment.

You will learn how to prepare for rehearsal, how to rehearse and how to use independent and proactive processes that enable you to do the best work possible both for stage and screen.

Our philosophy of actor training is founded on the development of the individual, and their growth within the practice of the ensemble. We are interested in the uniqueness of you and the development of your imagination, range, skills and technique.

This ensemble training offers support and stimulation within the rehearsal room but also encourages a shared language and enables the actor to enter a world that is bigger than their own, one that is created and developed with humility, imagination and generosity within a company and then offered to an audience with accuracy and conviction.

Programme overview

Throughout your training, you are guided towards the development of a clear set of individual technical skills, as well as important critical and evaluative skills. You have specific practical skills­-based classes in:

  • Voice
  • Acting
  • Physical acting
  • Singing
  • Dance
  • Movement
  • Stage combat
  • Contextual studies

Your imagination is developed through play, improvisation, games, exercises, scene work, sensory exploration and project rehearsals. In Years 1 and 2, work is shown to the School at the end of each block of teaching.

Screen acting classes, film and radio projects explore the unique and individual processes of acting for camera and fully prepare you for successful entry into the contemporary world of recorded media.

Guildford School of Acting (GSA) training draws 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.

Professional development classes and workshops, with guest speakers and lecturers drawn from the contemporary performing arts industry, ensure currency within your chosen field and enable you to maximise all employment opportunities.

A final showcase presentation in a West End theatre, to invited agents and industry guests, completes 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:

Professional recognition

Accredited by Drama UK and Trinity College London Diploma in Professional Acting.

Additional costs

There are associated costs with this programme:

  • Production expenses: £175-350 - Portfolio photos
  • Safety equipment and/or uniform: £180 approx. - Uniform including specialist footwear and boneprop
  • UK-based activity: £150 - Theatre trips (students should aim to see some live theatre throughout the course of their programme)

Grand total: £515-680 approx.

Contact hours

The following represents an indicative estimate of how you can expect your time to be split on this programme, based on the information available at the time of publication (February 2016):

  • 1 per cent personal tutorial/small group teaching
  • 65 per cent medium group teaching
  • 34 per cent studying and revising in your own time

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 & Me: Elephant 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

2017 Entry requirements

What qualifications do you need?



Access to HE Diploma

QAA recognised Access to Higher Education Diploma with 39 Level 3 Credits at Distinction and 6 Level 3 Credits at Merit

BTEC (QCF Level 3) Extended Diploma


European Baccalaureate

75 per cent

International Baccalaureate

35 points

Scottish Highers

Scottish Advanced Highers AAB/Scottish Highers AAABB

Welsh Baccalaureate

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma and A-level AA

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.

Select your country:

Required subjects

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

Selection process

Offers are made in terms of grades and a successful audition and interview. Candidates 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 GSA website.

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.

See 2018 entry information

Course Options

Qualification Course Length Professional Training UCAS code KIS code
BA (Hons) 3 years W410 View KIS data set

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.

Additional costs

There are additional costs associated with this programme – view the additional costs section for full details.

Bursaries and scholarships

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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.

More info


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.

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