Student profile
Portrait of Acting MFA GSA student, Daniel Hintner

Daniel Hintner

"The student body within the course is also pretty international and assorted – with everyone drawing from their previous undergrads or past performing experiences, creating a rich soup of distinct practices, skills, and knowledge..."

Why did you choose to come to Surrey?

I chose to study at Surrey, the Guildford School of Acting (GSA) in particular, as it is an institution renowned for its rigorous training programmes, talented faculty, and strong industry connections. A few friends of mine who attended GSA before me have always highly praised the school and the vast successes of its alumni speaks for itself. Being from Malta, I had never heard of Guildford before being aware of GSA, however, a quick Google search showed me a historic town with a youthful and diverse community, surrounded by picturesque wilderness and hiking trails, and only a half an hour's train ride from central London – in short, I was hooked. 

What was your first impression of Surrey?

After long hours of travelling and hustling through border control and baggage reclaim, arriving at Surrey on move-in day seemed like the introduction to a fairy-tale; a nice sunny day, friendly students welcoming newcomers, and a wonderfully green campus – it was all very efficient, assuring, and comfortable. In fact, the whole campus atmosphere during Welcome Week was very cheerful and lively, everyone seemed willing to greet you, help you out, and tag along to some oddly specific guinea pig-themed board game night with you!

What do you like about your course?

Simply put, it’s just really fun! Despite the intense schedule and rigorous classes, there’s always a project to look forward to and work on. The postgraduate acting course is very condensed and packed meticulously, aiming to create the best version of your performer self within a year (for MA) or two years (for MFA) – blink and a month has flown by. 

The student body within the course is also pretty international and assorted – with everyone drawing from their previous undergrads or past performing experiences, creating a rich soup of distinct practices, skills, and knowledge from a multicultural perspective and providing a challenging yet enriching training experience that prepares students for fulfilling careers in the performing arts industry. 

The course is also almost entirely practical and hands-on. Everything is taught through activities and exercises which demonstrate the theory that can otherwise be explained in a classroom setting. Safe to say, we are always in studios, theatres or on-set. 

What are the academic staff and facilities like on your course?

The staff are super-kind and supportive with real-life experience within the industry. What’s great about GSA is that even after completing a class with a certain teacher/director, you’re bound to bump into them in the hallways afterwards and they’re always more than willing to share a quick chat about any questions, your progress in the course, or life in general! 

The facilities available at GSA are incredible. There are a number of different performance venues differing in space and size such as the larger Bellairs Theatre, the smaller and more intimate PATS Studio Theatre, as well as a black box theatre. The main building features three floors of tutorial rooms and training studios; all equipped with easily accessible Bluetooth sound systems, pianos, great natural lighting, mirrors, and ballet barres – all-in-all providing a fun and practical learning environment for students. I also greatly appreciate the fact that GSA students can book not only studios but even equipment and kit to rehearse, further polish their craft, or even produce their own material outside of school hours.

What course did you study before, and where did you study?

Before coming to Surrey, I had just graduated from the University of Malta with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Theatre Studies. Although I loved my undergraduate course, it was largely theoretical, lacking many skills classes and other practical performance elements which I longed for. Hence being the reason why I opted to pursue postgraduate training at Guildford School of Acting, not only to refine my actor’s craft and skillset but also to serve as my stepping stone into the British theatre industry. 

Do you feel supported at University?

Definitely. Moving here after studying at a rather small university for my undergrad, the amount of support services and student advice available at Surrey is unbelievable. Everything from financial and budgeting support, residential advice, health and wellbeing, faith and chaplaincy services, as well as personal academic tutors and language support – the list is pretty vast and you’re guaranteed assistance for any complications or issues that one might encounter whilst at Surrey. 

What has been your best moment at Surrey so far?

Performing. Be it student showcases, GSA Labs, or public productions, classical Shakespeare texts or contemporary American plays; nothing quite compares to the feeling of being onstage within such a renowned performance-training institute. Top it all off with a vivacious closing night whilst heading over to Wates bar with your fellow cast members still buzzing with the sheer energy of being in a play together, and you’ve got the recipe for a pretty unforgettable evening. 

Another notable mention would be all the wholesome connections and friendships I’ve made during my time here, safe to say I’ve met some of my closest friends whilst at Surrey which I will surely cherish for life.

What do you plan to do following your course at Surrey?

The theatre and film sectors back home are relatively tiny compared to the industry here; therefore, my current plan after graduating from Surrey is to remain in the UK and explore the vast performance opportunities available here. Being an international student, I plan on following the Graduate Visa route for the first two years after finishing my course, hopefully being able to acquire the Global Talent Visa after that.

What’s something you couldn’t live without at university?

My guitar. As cliche as it sounds, there’s nothing I find more calming after a long day of classes than strumming out a few chords and unwinding with the music; whether it's jamming with friends in the dorm or simply playing for myself in my room.

Describe your experience at Surrey in three words.

  • Exciting
  • Friends
  • Whimsical.