My student experience


Student profile

Oliver Burridge

"My course has challenged me to become a better, more rounded practitioner before entering the industry."

"I decided to study at Surrey as it offered me an exciting and appealing vocational course at Guildford School of Acting, a top performing conservatoire with drama school-style training, while also offering the support, facilities and infrastructure of a large top-ten university. Being near London provides me with new opportunities while the course’s incorporated placements have allowed me to gain wider industry experiences.

The Rik Medlik building
Oliver Burridge

Attending an open day really helped me make the choice about what university I wanted to go to. Seeing myself at home in Surrey, I was impressed with the campus and its facilities, particularly Surrey Sports Park and the Ivy Arts Theatre. The open day was also a great opportunity to explore Guildford and the surrounding area, I loved the town centre with the beautiful rolling Surrey Hills only minutes away.

I loved the atmosphere during the open day, and the staff and students were warm and welcoming.

The focus on practical experience at GSA is a really enjoyable aspect of the course. Undertaking roles in major shows alongside fellow peers and professionals though all three years has been great. This primarily includes musicals and plays but also allows the opportunity to experience working on other genres such as live music events and immersive theatre. Taking on a general overview in the first year, the chance to specialise in sound for my second and third years will give me the opportunity to further refine skills and develop professionally.

At GSA, we are fortunate to have a wide range of performance spaces from the 200-seat Ivy Arts Theatre to the more intimate black box studios with some productions taking place at Guildford’s Yvonne Arneaud theatre or in London. Teaching is provided from a range of in-house tutors and industry practitioners both on productions and through formal seminars – giving us a range of knowledge and experience. 

Living on Stag Hill campus for my first year was great – it was a chance to settle into the local area and become accustomed to independent living while making new friends from a variety of courses. Highly social and well-maintained, it was only a short walk to GSA, town and the train station.

Life has been busy but great fun since joining Surrey.

There’s always lots to do and so much always going on within the GSA community and the wider university. Having made great friends, I enjoy socialising on campus, in Guildford and the surrounding area. Although much of my time on campus is spent working on shows in our theatres; the Library and lake offer great places to work, while I can often be found in GSA’s Starbucks or Wates Pub during lunch, dinner or after shows. Having our own offices and common room allows production students to work and eat together when working long hours on productions.

As a module of my second year studies, I was fortunate to obtain a ten-day placement with the Sound Department of 42nd Street, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Working under the head of sound, I experienced the various tracks of each of the sound team members as well as shadowing the mix and performing daily tasks as part of the team. I really enjoyed gaining new knowledge and experience on such a large show where the whole team were kind and generous in sharing their industry expertise.

During my placement, I gained new technical skills and advice that I can transfer to future productions both within GSA and externally. In addition, I also developed soft skills such as team work and team management that I can transfer to any future job whether that is within the technical theatre industry or elsewhere.

The course’s placements have offered me an excellent opportunity to meet new contacts, gain industry experience and trail my GSA training out in the ‘real-world’.

University has been an excellent opportunity to gain independence and new friends while my course has challenged me to become a better, more rounded practitioner before entering the industry. 

I'm now half-way through my time at GSA. I have really enjoyed my experience and glad I chose the University of Surrey. I look forward to the good times and challenges ahead."

 

Discover our performing arts courses, including our BA Theatre Production.

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