GSA’s final year BA Musical Theatre student Courtney Bowman claimed the £1,000 first prize in The Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year competition, held at the Novello Theatre on Sunday 15th May.

Courtney Bowman

Winner – Courtney Bowman

Courtney, 21 years old, was one of 80 original entrants to this annual competition and faced strong competition from 12 finalists who performed to a jury headed up by Edward Seckerson.   Courtney’s Sondheim song of choice was “Me and My Town”, reprising her role of corrupt Mayoress Cora Hoover from GSA’s production of Anyone Can Whistle in June 2015.

The evening was compered by West End and Broadway stage, TV and film actor/singer Julian Ovenden and Courtney was handed the first prize by Society Patron Julia McKenzie.

Courtney who is the third GSA student to win this prestigious, career enhancing, annual competition following in the footsteps of Kris Olsen winner 2011 and Turlough Convery winner 2012 told us “It feels unreal… am absolutely thrilled and bursting with pride today. I am so happy to be flying the GSA flag and to be the first GSA girl to win the award! Everyone taking part was ridiculously talented and so supportive of each other. I want to thank everyone who helped me, especially Tim Connor and Lia Buddle for writing the hilarious song The Driving Lesson for me to perform, to The Stephen Sondheim Society for giving me the opportunity and of course Sondheim himself for phenomenal songs for actors to sink their teeth into.

A massive congratulations from all of us at Guildford Fringe!! 

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GSA’s mission is to enable our students and staff to work at the forefront of their profession. Graduates can be found through the industry in the West End, performing nationally and internationally and on television

Since GSA’s inception in 1935 it has been dedicated to high-level training for the performing arts, a close relationship between traditional and cutting-edge practices, and a vision of the value of integration across the art.

GSA provides a world-class environment in order to develop our students both as people and practitioners. Our location within the University of Surrey couples leading edge knowledge, research and facilities with expertise in drama, theatre and performance and close liaisons with our industries. We promote creativity, collaboration and professionalism in all that we do. Staff and students make GSA a place that people continue to find impressive and inspiring.


By Guildford Fringe Festival

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