Actor-Musician BA (Hons) at University of Surrey

My name is Rose and I’m a third year actor-musician at Guildford School of Acting as part of the University of Surrey.

My time training at GSA has been truly incredible, and the Actor-Musician course has been perfect! I didn’t even know that it existed until I started researching random courses after deciding that studying law was definitely NOT my thing.

I always had a passion for performing on a stage, and for music, but I never knew I could combine them together until I discovered GSA. So, if you’re in a similar position to me where you want to go into performing but not quite sure what kind, then keep reading! This course may be just right for you!

Since being at GSA, I have developed into a confident and versatile performer, able to train in not just three but four disciplines: singing, dancing, acting and music. Having the opportunity to train in all of these sectors has allowed me to really explore and experiment as a performer to find out what I like and enjoy, what I’m good and not so good at, and ultimately discover what kind of work I want to do when I’m in the industry.

During first year, a huge focus was building a connection as one ensemble. Exploring theatre styles such as Greek theatre, Commedia Dell’Arte, Music Hall and Brechtian theatre enabled us to learn how to move as one, play as one, and listen to each other in great detail in regards to text and also music too.

In first and second year you can have 1-1 instrumental lessons on whatever instrument you’re wanting to improve on. This can be your first/main instrument, but if you’re feeling brave and want to try something new, then these classes are the perfect chance for you to do that! I came as a trombone and piano player, however I had an accordion that I’d never dared to play before, so that’s what I took my lessons in. Now it’s an instrument I use regularly in my projects and shows and can therefore take as a new skill with me into the industry!

Second year was a big step up from first year but just the right amount! I was deeply challenged in every class and every project that helped me grow in so many ways. You explore a Shakespeare play in the first term, followed by a 20th century American play in second term, and finally a musical to round off the year – each one allowing you to play with and explore different types of characters that beforehand you wouldn’t have initially thought you’d be cast as, which massively broadens your range as an actor. The musical pushes you musically to a whole new level, both as an individual player and as an ensemble by playing so tightly together and accompanying your fellow cast mates when they’re singing. The gradual increase of class time hours and workload throughout the year as well brilliantly prepares you for the intensity of third year!

In your third year it’s time to put all of your foundational training from first year and your building of technique and stamina from second year into action! You have three public performances as well as a digital showcase and ‘industry day’ for agents. I have just finished the run of my first public production ‘We Happy Few’ which was a fun and heart-warming play about an all-women’s group touring the UK during WW2 performing Shakespeare to local communities. This show was so much fun to perform as an ensemble member, as it gave me the chance to play in lots of musical moments that we had added into the show, making it a true actor-musician performance.

Doing the show really gave us a taster of the true performer’s life, with a six-week intensive rehearsal period before a tech week and four-day run of the show, including a matinee on the Saturday afternoon. We were able to work in a fully professional environment, including how to work alongside a full production team – an experience I have never had before! It made me realise how important it is to communicate with them, and to be respectful to them and their job because what they do is just as amazing and important as you!

Although I am yet to finish my training, I can already confidently say that I have had the best three years of training I could have ever asked for. If you are wanting a well-rounded performance course where you get the highest quality training in singing, dancing, acting and music with some of the industry’s best performers and coaches it has to offer, then the GSA Actor-Musician course is for you!