My experience as an online distance learner on the BA (Hons) Theatre course

by Megan Fraser

Whether you have a love for the Broadway stage, Ancient Greek drama, or creating your own theatre projects, the BA (Hons) Theatre degree at Guildford School of Acting (GSA) will have you covered. The content is so varied across six modules throughout the year, you will gain knowledge in so many different areas of theatre!

What do you study?

Musical theatre covers the development of the genre to the present day, focusing in great depth on one specific modern or historical piece for the final assignment.

Theories of Performance looks at an in-depth analysis of two specific plays. It explores naturalism, realism, phenomenology, feminism, and post-modern performance.

Contemporary Performer Training looks at different practitioners in actor training such as Stanislavski, Jacques Lecoq, and Sanford Meisner, diving into their practices and exploring how their methods have shaped acting as we know it in the present day.

Political Theatre studies the relationship between politics and performance, and how theatre can be used as a platform for political engagement. From Shakespeare to theatrical feminism and queer theatre, this module covers an extensive range of topics.

Professional Development dives into your personal story and timeline, how you got to the present moment at GSA, and an in-depth analysis of personal traits, skills, and values, alongside the planning of your future goals.

Final Project allows you to get in touch with your creative side. Choose from a musical theatre scenario, a play script, an essay, a theatre design, or a choreography piece. This module is student-led with one-to-one support from a designated supervisor.

Being an Online Distance Learner

Initial panic set in when becoming a distance learner and not having the same support that comes with in-person learning. However, the staff at GSA could not be more supportive. The lecturers offer an array of support from assignment enquiries via email, engaging in one-to-one Microsoft Teams calls for detailed discussions, and facilitating scheduled seminar calls to ensure you are feeling confident and in alignment with the course content and deadlines.

Despite being a distance learner, you are still a GSA student, and this means the campus is accessible to you if you can attend. I travelled 545.5 miles from my home country to the University of Surrey campus and spent a week fully indulging in the incredible facilities available, from GSA practice rooms and dance studios to the university’s incredible library facilities. During my trip, I purchased some GSA merchandise which further made me feel like I was part of the community. I maintained regular contact with other students on the course through a WhatsApp group chat. We supported one another and created friendships in the lead-up to graduation where we celebrated our success as one, big, GSA team.