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Uncertainty for students as Guildford School of Acting axes performance degree course

Guildford School of Acting Guildford School of Acting
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UPDATE: Since this article was originally published, it has emerged that the school’s BA (hons) in Dance has also suspended recruitment for the 2019/20 year.

Guildford School of Acting has axed its Theatre and Performance degree after a decade, leaving students facing an uncertain future.

The social media feed for the course said students were “heartbroken” to be told that recruitment has been suspended from September 2019.

“We have seen 10 years of brilliant work, theatre and research,” it said, adding: “In these uncertain and emotional circumstances the students want to extend a huge and heartfelt thanks to our department. We recognise all of the incredible work that you do in the field of performance research, and thank you for supporting us in our studies.”

According to the school’s website, the BA (hons) course offers students “the best of both worlds: practical theatre making opportunities in a prestigious conservatoire, and academic enquiry provided by leading researchers in the field”. It is a three or four-year course.

“Our ambition is not just for students to enter an industry; we want you to change it by questioning received wisdom, making your own work, and developing your own voice as a creative and critical thinker and doer,” it states.

According to a spokeswoman from the University of Surrey, of which GSA is a part, courses are reviewed regularly to “ensure they meet the needs of future students and the industries that will employ them”.

“These changes reflect that process,” she said.

She added: “Existing students will receive the teaching required to complete their courses. Future students will continue to be offered the opportunity to apply for a wide portfolio of courses at GSA at the University of Surrey – where our courses are widely respected by the industry and have an excellent track record of producing graduates who thrive in the creative industries.”

One course member said on Twitter that the course had given her the “skills, work, research, laughs and care that I truly believe is not offered largely on other courses across the country”.

“To have our course cut because of bullshit excuses and blustering about money and student in take is exactly what it sounds like, an excuse. GSA should be truly ashamed of what transpired today. The shock at student outrage is laughable. Students are outraged because since the merger we have been treated as second-class citizens,” she added.

Another said: “The students here are making work, doing research and having conversations that matter, that have material change and impact. It will be absolutely detrimental to the wider arts sector to see that taken away for any amount of time.”

Another wrote: “It’s been a really sad couple of days as my course heard it will be cut, just want to express what a real shame it is, and give a massive thank you to all the lecturers who have shaped pretty much everyone I know into the fantastic people they are today.”

Last year, the school was criticised by 80 students for restructuring a foundation course.

Former tutor accuses Guildford School of Acting of becoming “increasingly corporate” after foundation course overhaul

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