Musical Theatre BA (Hons) – 2017 entry

Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one's thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.

What you'll study

Guildford School of Acting (GSA) is arguably the world’s most successful centre for musical-theatre training. Our philosophy is based on your growth as an individual and your development as an artist within a highly disciplined ensemble.

Musical Theatre at Guildford School of Acting

We want you to view yourself as a potential principal artist who can compete and succeed in all aspects of musical theatre performance. To accomplish this, you will need to develop your professional and collaborative sensibilities through a rigorous process of training.

We will guide you towards the development of a clear set of individual technical, critical and evaluative skills, with practical classes in:

  • Group and individual singing
  • Ballet
  • Jazz
  • Tap and other forms of dance
  • Voice
  • Acting
  • Stage combat
  • Contextual studies

Your skills are further developed through integration exercises, scene work and project rehearsals. Classes in dance and singing are highly prioritised alongside acting classes and projects, which enable GSA Musical Theatre performers to become multi-skilled and therefore highly versatile, ensuring their appeal to the industry at large.

Preparation for a flying start to your career commences with repertoire and presentation classes from the first year onwards. These explore specific genres and styles of musical theatre and lay the foundations of your portfolio.

Professional development classes and workshops with guest speakers and practitioners drawn from the contemporary musical theatre industry ensure currency within your chosen field and enable you to maximise all employment opportunities.

There are further opportunities to engage in new projects and practices in the vanguard of contemporary industry developments.

Professional jury opportunities, together with a final showcase presentation in a West End theatre to invited agents and industry guests, complete your transition from musical theatre student to professional performer.

The result is your development into a highly disciplined, individual and versatile performer who has both artistic integrity and the ability to work in collaboration with others.

Programme overview

Year 1

Technical skills training in the first year includes classes in singing, acting, mime/physical theatre and voice. Dance techniques include ballet, jazz and tap.

All students undertake a week-long intensive course in stage combat certified by APC (formerly BADC).

Rehearsal Projects:

The Rehearsal Projects enable you to work effectively with the processes and ideas of Stanislavski across the three musical theatre disciplines of singing, dancing and acting.

First-year rehearsal projects include:

  • Storytelling: creative workshops designed to investigate and develop the performer’s most fundamental talent – the ability to tell a story effectively, truthfully and skilfully
  • Naturalism (in the musical): investigate the fundamental integration of the key musical theatre skills of acting, singing and dancing. There is a particular focus on acting technique in this first rehearsal project
  • Ensemble (acting/performance): explore the dynamics and workings of the ensemble. It considers the role of the individual within an ensemble, as well as the complex relationship between the ensemble/chorus, the protagonist and the audience

Compulsory modules:

Year 2

In the second year, time spent in rehearsal projects is significantly increased, whilst at the same time the individual skills training and academic training continue.

The main addition to the course is a weekly session that investigates relevant industry skills and enables individual preparation for the professional audition process.

Rehearsal Projects:

The classical text-based project, usually Shakespeare and the book musical. Recent book musical; rehearsal projects have explored:

  • West Side Story (Laurents, Bernstein, Sondheim)
  • Oklahoma! (Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein ll)
  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Saul Chaplin)
  • Assassins (Sondheim)
  • Spelling Bee
  • Next to Normal
  • Carousel (Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II)
  • Street Scene (Kurt Weill and Langston Hughes)
  • Grand Hotel (Robert Wright and George Forrest)

The final project in the second year is a formal rehearsal for the first public performance of a musical. Recent works in the first public performance include:

  • Guys and Dolls (Loesser)
  • Godspell (Schwartz, Tebelak)
  • Pippin
  • The Boyfriend

Compulsory modules:

Year 3

A significant amount of time will be taken up with rehearsals for public performance. Recent public performances have included:

  • Legally Blonde
  • Grease
  • Rent
  • Songs for a New World
  • Footloose

Compulsory modules:

Professional recognition

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

Additional costs

There are associated costs with this programme:

  • Books/stationery/admin: £10 - Dictaphone (phone voice recorder is sufficient)
  • Production expenses: £175-350 - Portfolio photos
  • Safety equipment and/or uniform: £240 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: £575-750 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):

  • 41 per cent medium group teaching
  • 59 per cent studying and revising in your own time


Auditions are held between November and May each year and early application is advised to guarantee audition availability. Further information can be found on the GSA website.

We try to make our auditions as enjoyable as possible. We are looking for potential and, if we see it, we would like you to feel convinced that GSA is the best place for your training.

The audition panel is looking for:

  • A vibrant and energised body and mind
  • A healthy body and a healthy voice
  • A knowledge of theatre, television and film
  • An ability to transform the written text in either song or speech into believable and theatrically truthful words and thought
  • An ability to freely use your imagination
  • An ability to listen and follow instructions
  • An ability to work with others to achieve a presentable piece of work
  • Spontaneity
  • An ability and previous experience in singing, acting and dancing (for Musical Theatre the panel will expect potential in at least two out of the three)
  • An ability to attempt everything regardless of previous experience
  • A receptive and enquiring mind
  • A voice and body that is trainable and a personality responsive to our methods of training
  • An ability to listen and follow instructions

More detailed information about our Musical Theatre auditions can be found on the GSA website.

Graduate prospects

Our graduates have an unrivalled employment record in West End shows and national tours. Our very distinguished alumni include performers such as:

  • Michael Ball
  • Tam Mutu
  • Hal Fowler
  • Alex Gaumond
  • Tom Chambers
  • Billy Carter
  • Michael Jibson
  • Caroline Sheen
  • Helena Blackman
  • Savannah Stephenson
  • Faye Brookes

West End productions

  • Les Misérables, Queen’s Theatre
  • Here Lies Love, National Theatre
  • Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Savoy
  • Scottsboro Boys, Garrick Theatre
  • Urinetown, Apollo Theatre
  • Evita, The Dominion
  • 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

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

Other recent West End productions

  • Top Hat
  • Ghost
  • Hairspray
  • Shrek
  • Merrily We Roll Along
  • Color Purple
  • Sweeney Todd
  • Kiss Me Kate

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

6.5 IELTS minimum overall

6.0 IELTS minimum in each sub-skill

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 W312 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.

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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.

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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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