Guildford Theatre School - join the club

This month, we meet the founders of the Guildford Theatre School, which opened in the town last September, to find out more about life at a performing arts school

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine June 2011

This month, we meet the founders of the Guildford Theatre School, which opened in the town last September, to find out more about life at a performing arts school

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Name: Guildford Theatre SchoolLocation: The Trinity Centre, 5 Trinity Churchyard, Guildford GU1 3RR In a nutshell: Founded by local professionally trained actors and teachers, husband and wife Sean and Anna McNamara, the Guildford Theatre School is an independently owned performing arts school. People interviewed: Anna and Sean McNamaraRole in group: Principals Members: Since September 2010Joined because…: ‘We had been running the Guildford Summer Youth Project at the Electric Theatre for a number of years and each year the parents asked us if we provided any training for children during term time.’

When was the club set up? The Guildford Theatre School was established in September 2010 to provide a creative learning experience that focuses keenly on the acquisition of skills and the pursuit of excellence in musical theatre, tap, ballet, jazz, singing and drama.

How many members are there?  We have 50 pupils and rising between the ages of five and 17 across three age groups: GTS Infants (five to eight years), GTS Juniors (eight to 12 years) and GTS Seniors (12 to 17 years).

When and where do you meet?  Every Thursday and Saturday during term time at The Trinity Centre at the top of the High Street.

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What’s the best thing about being a member of the club?Spending time with our wonderful pupils and seeing each and every child grow and develop in a unique and individual way. We set high standards and make the path to success fun!

In the spring, our students were entered for the Trinity Guildhall drama and musical theatre exams and London College of Music singing exams, with all students achieving Distinctions and Merits.

Do you find being surrounded by like-minded people inspiring?Truly! Our professionally qualified teaching staff are amazing and the students create a wonderfully creative environment to be in. It may sound cheesy, but we really do look forward to getting up each Saturday and going to the school!

Have you got links with other clubs as well?  The Guildford Summer Youth Project and the Guildford Christmas Youth Project are run by the Guildford Theatre School in association with the Electric Theatre, and remains the only opportunity in Guildford for the stars of tomorrow to come together to mount an established musical in a theatre under the guidance of a professional production team, complete with set, costumes and lights, in just five days!

Additionally, we will be launching the Guildford Youth Theatre in September, where children can work on, rehearse and stage a full-scale musical at a local professional theatre each year.

What’s the most interesting story from the group’s history?I was due to have our first baby the week before the school opened. However, he went 15 days overdue and Sean was to-ing and fro-ing from the Royal Surrey County Hospital on no sleep to run the school and teach drama on its second weekend of term! Our son Jack has since spent part of every Saturday at the school and the children love to talk to and play with him. He’s our youngest pupil, making it a truly family business!

…and the funniest?We have a saying that whenever things go awry, we blame Sean. So even if he isn’t in the building, the students will all chorus: “Oh, Sean!”

When is your next event that is open to the public/potential new members?New members can enrol at any time during the term. They just need to contact the school for a free trial class (see contact details below). And from September, the Guildford Youth Theatre will open its doors each Wednesday; The Actor’s Studio will begin, offering pre-drama school training each week on a Tuesday for students age 16+; we will be extending drama and singing classes to a Thursday, 4.15-6.30pm; and we will be working with bumps and babies each week on Saturday afternoons in our musical classes for tots and tinies!

Describe your club to us in five words...Celebratory, inclusive, fun, professional, and exciting!

For more information about Guildford Theatre School, call 01483 457270, visit or e-mail

NEXT MONTH: We meet the Surrey Guild of Craftsmen, who are based in Milford.

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