Guildford School of Acting

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This article is about the drama school. For the phenomenon of reunion after adoption, see Genetic sexual attraction. For other uses, see GSA.
Guildford School of Acting
Guildford School of Acting - Logo.png
Established 1935
Type Independent
Director Terrie Fender
Head of Acting Dr Trevor Rawlins
Head of Musical Theatre Michael Moor
Founders Pauline Grant
Bice Bellairs
Location Guildford School of Acting
Stag Hill Campus
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Gender Coeducational
Ages 18+ (Full-time courses)+
Head of Actor Musician Nicholas Scrivens
Head of MA Musical Theatre Julian Woolford
Website Official Website

Guildford School of Acting (GSA) is a drama school in Guildford, Surrey, England. It is an affiliate of the University of Surrey and is an accredited member of Drama UK. As of 2014, it is the top scoring Drama UK accredited school for student satisfaction.[1]


Guildford School of Acting (GSA), originally known as the Grant-Bellairs School of Dance and Drama, was founded in London in 1935 by Pauline Grant and Bice Bellairs. The school moved to Guildford in 1945 as a result of World War II. In 1964, the school became a charitable organisation and was renamed Guildford School of Acting & Dance. In the early 1990s the '& Dance' was dropped. Today the school is part of the University of Surrey's Stag Hill Campus, Guildford, Surrey.

The school offers professional training in drama, musical theatre and professional production skills such as stage management, lighting and sound design. All full-time courses lead towards further and higher education qualifications validated by either the University of Surrey or Trinity College London. A leading performing arts institution, the school is recognised as a centre of excellence for Musical Theatre training in particular.

Until November 2009, the School occupied several sites in central Guildford, with facilities including drama, dance and music studios, technical workshops, IT facilities, a specialist library and resource centre, a wardrobe department, rehearsal rooms and two in-house theatres. As part of its merger with the University of Surrey, the school has moved to a completely new building which houses all faculties of the school on one site on the university campus. Peter Barlow, GSA Director (until December 2010), was handed the keys by project manager David Austin (VolkerFitzpatrick) on 13 November 2009,[2] marking a new era for GSA, with the first classes at the new building started on 16 November. The relocation was completed in late 2011 with the opening of the Ivy Performing Arts Centre.

The school stages regular private and public performances at both The Ivy Arts Centre and other venues in Guildford and in the UK.

In 2015 the school added a course in Actor-Musicianship which will produce its first graduates in 2018.

Current staff include. Phyllida Crowley-Smith, Steven Luke Walker, Chris Palmer, Jaq Bessell, Anna McNamara and the longest serving acting coach at a UK drama school Ian Ricketts.

The school runs regular summer schools and Easter schools and has two foundation courses one in Acting and the other in Musical Theatre.



  1. ^ "GSA achieves success in the National Student Survey 2014". Guildford School of Acting. August 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  2. ^ "New building – we have the keys!". Guildford School of Acting. November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 

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Coordinates: 51°14′34″N 0°35′44″W / 51.242859°N 0.595593°W / 51.242859; -0.595593