Drama summer school students stretching in a warm up class

Drama Summer School

The Guildhall School of Music & Drama is one of the world’s leading conservatoires. Former acting students include Dame Eileen Atkins, Orlando Bloom, Daniel Craig, Daniel Evans, Joseph Fiennes, Rhys Ifans, Sarah Lancashire, Damian Lewis, Alistair McGowan, Ewan McGregor, Ben Miles, Fay Ripley, Clive Rowe, Simon Russell Beale, David Thewlis, Hayley Attwell, Jodie Whittaker and Dominic West. The School maintains its high standards through the expertise of its tutors and directors, who have strong links with the profession.

Our two Drama Summer School courses each offer three weeks of stimulating and inspiring training in acting. Both courses include class work or workshops with many of the School's core staff including Wyn Jones (Director of Acting), Patsy Rodenburg (Head of Voice), and Wendy Allnutt (Head of Movement). Students work as an ensemble in groups of not more than eighteen. 

The Guildhall School is situated in the City of London within the Barbican Arts Centre, which houses two theatres, a concert hall, cinemas and galleries. It is also within easy reach of West End theatres, the Royal Festival Hall, the Royal National Theatre and Shakespeare's Globe on the South Bank, Sadler's Wells Theatre and Tate Modern.

Comments from Summer 2013

'Memories for life!'

'I have grown both as an actor and as a person.'

'The generosity and support of the staff was superb'

'One of the best things I have ever spent my money on'.

'I felt so welcome and safe.'

'There is a beautiful spirit in this school.'

'I will definitely recommend it.'

Acting in Shakespeare & Contemporary Theatre

Three weeks of intensive tuition, workshops and rehearsals. Students have craft-based classes for half of the day; for the other half they work as an ensemble with a director to explore short scenes from Shakespeare and a contemporary play, investigating the texts through group exercises and improvisation. The aim is to demystify Shakespeare and commit to truthful acting in modern drama. The course concludes with a presentation of work-in-progress to students and staff (not open to the public), which may take the form of a workshop or open class.

Acting in Musical Theatre

Three weeks of intensive tuition, workshops and rehearsals. Students have craft-based classes for half the day; for the other half they work as an ensemble with a director and musical director on a project exploring a selection of scenes and songs. This will involve some musical staging but the focus of the course is upon the craft of acting within the context of song. It concludes with a presentation of work-in-progress to students and staff (not open to the public), which may take the form of a workshop or open class. 

Craft-based classes and workshops for both courses include:

  • Acting - using exercises that explore some basic techniques of acting*
  • Voice - developing techniques that are fundamental to interpretation and vocal health
  • Movement - exploring actors' movement based on Laban and Litz Pisk
  • Improvisation - employing exercises that illuminate character and truth
  • Character Mask - developing a physical approach to character
  • Combat - an introduction to safe, controlled stage fighting

*Please note that the Drama Summer School does not include the techniques of Lee Strasberg or Sanford Meisner.

Theatre Visits
Two visits to attend performances in London theatres are included in the fees of both courses.

A certificate will be awarded to all candidates who attend and complete the course. 

Participant Requirements

  • Applicants must be 18 years of age or over on the first day of the course in order to be able to manage the long hours, intensive nature of the curriculum and adult content of some of the material covered; the work requires that participants have high levels of maturity and life-experience. Unfortunately, this is something for which we can make no exceptions.
  • A fluent standard of spoken English is essential.
  • We invite participants from all over the world and they may have various levels of acting experience - including those wishing to be introduced to the craft of acting and those who have already had acting experience.

Dates (applicable for both Drama Summer School courses)
Monday 21 July to Friday 8 August 2014 inclusive

Schedule: Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm (approximately) with some evening activities; weekends are free.

The Acting in Shakespeare & Contemporary Theatre and Acting in Musical Theatre courses have the same fee (which includes theatre visits). Accommodation and meals are not included in the course fee; however, the affordable rates are highly competitive for central London accommodation.

Course fee: £1950 
Accommodation (bed and breakfast): £824
Accommodation (bed, breakfast and evening meal):  £1024

Unfortunately, we are unable to offer any bursaries or grants for the Drama Summer School. However, two assisted places are available to applicants with low incomes from selected London boroughs - see here for further details.

As both courses take place simultaneously, you may apply for only one course. Demand is high, so you are strongly advised to apply early. 

There is no audition, interview or reference required for the Drama Summer School. To help us decide whether our courses would be suitable for you, it is important that your Personal Statement is as comprehensive as possible on the application form

In order to support full and diverse participation in our summer courses, and as places are not offered on an applicant’s individual merits, we offer the same number of places to men and women. If there are no spaces left you will be placed on a waiting list. 

We will contact you with the result of your application and, if you have been successful, we will send further information about how to make your payment.

Deadline for applications: Friday 9 May 2014
Any outstanding fees must be paid by Friday 9 May 2014

Full course fees (and accommodation and meals, if requested and available) are payable if your booking is made within two weeks prior to the application deadline.

Please do not send any payment with your application form.

Online applications are now open - apply for your place here.


Sundial Court, the School’s Halls of Residence, offers student accommodation and a canteen serving only pre-booked breakfasts and evening meals. The residence is located in the centre of London and is a few minutes' walk from the School. Local amenities, including supermarkets, bars, restaurants and two underground stations are all within easy walking distance. The student self-catering rooms are all single occupancy with shared shower room, toilet and kitchen facilities. Bed linen, towels, kitchen utensils and crockery are provided. Sundial Court also has a launderette, communal TV lounge with satellite TV and 24 hour on-site security. Accommodation and meals are not included in the course fee but the affordable rates are highly competitive for central London accommodation.

It is recommended that students take out insurance cover, including cover for theft and the loss of fees in the event of illness or accident. For international students who need help finding an insurance company you might try

Should you wish to use your participation in the Drama Summer School as a credit for a university or college course you are undertaking, this would be a matter for you to agree with your current institution. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer assessments. 

A discretionary refund of fees can only be issued if written notification of cancellation is received by Friday 9 May 2014


From my first visit I felt an energy about the place. It's a unique environment in which to discover one's imagination.

Kurt Egyiawan
BA Acting

Guildhall has some of the most outstanding teachers in the world, who are totally dedicated to drawing the best out of you.

Nathalie Buscombe
MA Acting

The training is stimulating and tough, and I feel like I am being pushed and challenged every day.

Lily Thomson
BA Acting

The techniques I have learnt at Guildhall will allow me to tackle any role with conviction and truth.

Kae Yukawa
BA Acting

The teachers are absolutely world-class – they have a wealth of experience and skill to draw upon.

Paapa Essiedu
BA Acting

Acting Tour

  • Explore our Acting facilities with Guildhall students