"The course gives you a toolkit that you can access at any time, and makes sure this toolkit is full of as many different techniques and colours so you can feel confident in your own ability when performing."
Is there a song that reminds you of Surrey? Why?
‘Don’t Lose Sight’ by Lawrence is not only a song we used for our early morning strength and stamina sessions – but was my go to song to walk to University in first year.
What’s something you couldn’t live without at university?
My bike. Absolutely the best purchase I made. Surrey feels made for bikes. She’s called ‘Mentha’.
What’s one food dish or snack you couldn’t live without at university?
My biscuits - which I’ve heard is a huge advantage to living with me, because I make them a lot. Just whack 2oz sugar, 5oz of self-raising flour, 4oz butter and whatever flavouring you want in a bowl, mix it and bash it in the oven. I normally like to put a bit of jam in them too.
Describe your experience at Surrey in three words:
Madness. Laughter. Warm.
Why did you choose to come to Surrey? What appealed to you?
The campus really appealed to me, having a safe space to see people outside of class. GSA itself allows for individual actor exploration, letting you grow in the directions you want rather than are told to, and this made GSA a perfect school for me. The location means I can easily get into London, but being far enough outside so I’m not constantly living in the busy London life. I also feel that if I was to move closer into London post study, Surrey is the perfect stepping stone prior to that.
What was your first impression when you got here?
My first memory of visiting Surrey was on an open day when I first left school, and the friendliness of the students guiding our car to the car park. I remember the paella van that you can still find around between classes. When I received my offer and moved in two years later I felt ill the final hour of the drive to Surrey, but as soon as we arrived and I saw the friendly current students again it calmed me down and the move in day was extremely easy.
Why are you passionate about your subject?
There’s nothing that makes me feel as much as acting does. It can sometimes make me feel so incredibly nervous and vulnerable, but it can also make me feel like I’m flying. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered something else that does this.
What do you like about your course and why?
The course gives you a toolkit that you can access at any time, and makes sure this toolkit is full of as many different techniques and colours so you can feel confident in your own ability when performing. It’s about working out what works for you, but making sure you give each technique a proper chance before making this decision, and knowing this decision changes regularly. The course is a conversation between you and the tutors about what you want and need to prepare you for when you leave.
Who are your favourite academics and why?
What’s fantastic about Surrey and specifically GSA is that you meet such a variety of tutors who all have different perspectives and ideas about what acting is, and you can learn from each of them. I never thought masks would be something I would love, but it ended up being one of my favourite modules, and the technically of movement I learned from that I have taken into each performance afterwards. I think this is key to all academics, that you can choose what you individually find useful and take it forward when needed.
What were the facilities like on your course? How did they help your studying experience?
Coming from a secondary school with very minimal space and rooms, studying here was a fantastic change. The studio space for classes feel safe, and the natural light is a huge bonus. The room booking system means I always have a room if I need to rehearse with others or on my own, and more recently been using the space to begin curating my own work. The theatre spaces on campus are incredible, offering a large stage in the Bellairs Theatre, as well as a more intimate space in PATS Studio Theatre, both of which I’m excited to perform on in third year.
What careers support have you received? (e.g. from tutors, courses, the Career Centre)
Just finishing second year means the focus has started to shift to working in the industry. After a few professional development sessions I am feeling more comfortable and confident with taking a creative career. Alongside invited industry professionals in third year, I’ve been able to talk to my tutors about any questions about my future career. My final year of training is where the opportunities to reach me into the industry become a predominant focus, but the training I’ve received so far I feel has prepared me for this step.
YOUR SURREY EXPERIENCE
Are you part of any clubs or societies? How have they contributed to your Surrey experience?
I have recently joined the GSA netball club – which I’ll be continuing into third year. It’s been a fantastic social space where I can release some energy away from the normal university life. This takes advantage of the great facilities at Surrey Sports Park, and after discovering the climbing wall there, I hope to visit more often in third year.
What are the best things about life at Surrey?
The walks. As soon as you walk out of Guildford town area you’ll hit trees and some perfect little trails. They’ve been ideal for taking some space alone or for a change of scenery with friends.
What has been your best moment at Surrey so far?
I’ve spent a long time thinking about this question, because as soon as I’ve settled on one another best moment comes to mind. All the performances I’ve been a part of definitely are highlights for me, especially the Shakespeare module in first year and more recently a performance of ‘Our Town’ which was our final showing before third year. Another was performing a self-written stand-up routine for the first time at the termly ‘GSA Labs’ which gives the opportunity for new writers to perform, which led to a follow up performance at the ‘GSA Christmas Lights Switch On’.
Outside of class, the memories I’ve created with the people I’ve met, inside GSA and outside, have shaped my time at Surrey, and I hope to continue taking advantage of the time I have left here in my final year.
How has your time at Surrey had an impact on you?
I have grown in confidence massively, and found a new sense of independence away from home. I have met so many new people, and have always felt held and supported by those around me, and look forward to keeping these friendships after university.
Do you know what you want to do when you graduate?
Surrey has helped me prepare for any eventuality when I do graduate. I think there’s a balance between knowing what you want to do, and being open to the opportunities that arise. I feel empowered that I don’t have to wait for someone to create the space I want in the industry for me and I can create my own work. Comedy has always been a passion of mine, and with the addition of the comedy classes, I would love to pursue this genre of theatre and film post-graduation.
Do you have any other comments you’d like to offer about your time at Surrey?
I think Surrey is a fantastic facilitator to give you all the options and opportunities you may need throughout your time here, it’s up to you to grab them.