"I chose to study this course at Surrey because it enables me to have all the benefits of taking one of the best acting degrees the country, whilst also being able to have a normal university experience."
Why did you choose to come to Surrey?
"Once I had the opportunity to attend one of the open days, not only was I impressed by GSA but the whole of the University.... I also was drawn to the fact that the University is close enough to London so that I could keep up with the newest shows being produced."
What initially drew me to Surrey was the prospect of studying at one of the most notable drama schools in the UK, Guildford School of Acting (GSA). Once I had the opportunity to attend one of the open days, not only was I impressed by GSA but the whole of the University. From the amazing facilities to the wonderful variety of accommodation types, I really saw myself calling this university my home away from home. I also was drawn to the fact that the University is close enough to London so that I could keep up with the newest shows being produced.
What was your impression of Surrey?
My first impression of the University was a that it has a great sense of community and warmth. I had been to other open days for other universities but left with a feeling of being out of place and almost intimidated. There was something about Surrey that made me feel immediately safe and at home. It really was a gut feeling.
Why are you passionate about your subject?
There’s this notion that ‘it isn’t needed’ or that there are ‘better’ or ‘more important things’ to be studying. I’d personally say the opposite because of its cultural and global significance.
I’m incredibly passionate about this subject because it is my biggest creative outlet. My subject offers the chance to sharing of new perspectives and the opportunity to challenge ideologies that exist. It is one of the few fields that forces you to look as inwardly as it does.
Why did you choose to study your course at Surrey?
I chose to study this course at Surrey because it enables me to have all the benefits of taking one of the best Acting degrees the country, whilst also being able to have a normal university experience.
What do you like about your course?
No day is the same. It’s really challenged my personal fear of the unknown. Yes, you have your weekly timetable that dictates where you should be each day and who’s teaching. You know you’re walking into a voice class, but you never really know what’s going to happen until you're in it. That spontaneity and sense of ‘going with the flow’ is something I definitely had to get used to, but it’s made me a better actor.
I love the rigor required to be on my course. I always finish the day with a sense of achievement. The course is also curated to expand our minds beyond what we thought was possible/what we thought we could do. The work we do on the course is so interconnected with human beings and the human psyche that it has allowed me to grow on a personal level.
What are the academic staff and facilities like on your course?
"They’ve struck a lovely balance between supporting me and challenging me. The facilities enable me to be my best creative self. With a variety of types and sizes of studios across the GSA and Ivy Arts Buildings, I have the space to experiment to my heart's content."
The academic staff, for one, are deeply passionate about the work they do and the people they surround themselves with. You can’t help but be affected by that! It has inspired me to do my very best and continue pushing myself even on the days when I am exhausted.
They’ve struck a lovely balance between supporting me and challenging me. The facilities enable me to be my best creative self. With a variety of types and sizes of studios across the GSA and Ivy Arts Buildings, I have the space to experiment to my heart's content.
What course(s) did you study before, and where did you study?
I studied at Impington International College in Cambridge where I had done a BTEC in Performing Arts alongside two International Baccalaureate subjects: Film and Theatre Arts. On top of that, I stayed an extra year to do an ATCL Level 4 in Performing Arts.
Are you part of any clubs or societies? How have they contributed to your Surrey experience?
I joined the GSA Netball team. I’d never really played netball, but the team were so welcoming despite that. You find your feet eventually.
Have you lived in University accommodation? If so, what is/was it like?
"It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of being at a drama school, so it was a lovely experience in being able to go back to my accommodation at the end of a very long day and talk to people who spent the day doing vastly different things to me."
In my first year I lived in Battersea Court (Uni Accommodation). Being put in accommodation with students from across the University, not just students at GSA, was incredibly beneficial to me. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of being at a drama school, so it was a lovely experience in being able to go back to my accommodation at the end of a very long day and talk to people who spent the day doing vastly different things to me.
What’s the best thing about living in University accommodation?
Getting to know a variety of people, from all walks of life. Also, all the accommodation residences are nice walking distances from town and the train station, as well as all the other University buildings.
What are the best things about life in general at Surrey?
Life in Surrey has a great balance of being fun and exciting (all the things you’d want out of uni life) but also being quite peaceful. Surrey has lots of lovely outdoor spaces to offer, which I would suggest spending time in should things get overwhelming. Being near London has meant that I’ve had the opportunity to stay up to date on the industry I’m entering.
How do you spend your time on campus?
The lake has to be my favourite part of campus, especially during spring/summer, and tends to be a popular spot to spend time amongst my friends and me. With our schedule being as busy as it is, it’s nice to find a location on campus that gives us the space to be away from GSA.
Do you feel supported at University?
I feel incredibly supported at the University. My tutors always reinforce the importance of taking care of our wellbeing (mental as well as physical).
What careers support have you received?
"We will have the chance to perform monologues at the Soho Theatre in London in front of a group of agents, a wonderful experience to really put ourselves out there."
On our course, we have specific modules designated for careers advice. As I’m going into my third year that advice will be made even more readily available, and we will have opportunities to meet with people in the industry to talk about their experiences. We will also have the chance to perform monologues at the Soho Theatre in London in front of a group of agents, a wonderful experience to really put ourselves out there.
How do you think your time at Surrey has impacted your employability once you graduate?
I believe my time at Surrey has increased my chances of employment exponentially. The University has so much to offer in terms of employability support so that there’s something for everyone.
What has been your best moment at Surrey so far?
It’s hard to pick one moment because I think my time at Surrey so far has been amazing because of an accumulation of beautiful moments over time. With that being said, our most recent performance of ‘Our Town’ by Thornton Wilder in our last term of the second year was a stand-out moment for me. Not only was it a chance to perform a fantastic piece of American Theatre, but it was also a time for me personally where it felt like all the training at GSA thus far was really coming together. I found it to be a particularly reflective time and a great opportunity to look back on everything that had led me up to that point.
Do you have any advice for students thinking about undergraduate study?
My best advice to students thinking about undergraduate study is to keep your net wide - be open to all the possibilities of what it will bring. An unexpected decision may lead you to your goal. Also, it is normal to be terrified. I know for me it will be the first time in my life I may be out of education – a routine I’ve been used to since the age of three. However, I am incredibly excited. The unknown is certainly scary but it’s wonderful to think that absolutely anything could happen. I’ll just ride the wave.
Do you think you’ve changed since you started at Surrey? How?
I’ve definitely changed since I started at Surrey. Over the course I’ve grown into someone with much more confidence than I ever thought I could I ever have. I’ve learnt how to say ‘no’ and that it’s important to put my wellbeing first. I truly believe that the change I’ve experienced has been nothing but positive. It’s insane to think back to 19-year-old me; She’s definitely still a part of me and I never want to let her go. I hope I’ve made her proud.
What do you plan to do following your course at Surrey?
At the moment I want to keep things as open as possible, especially considering the industry I’m entering, things can change so quickly. I, without a doubt, intend to work as much as I can onstage/onscreen but I’m also very keen to get my own work created. I want to get into film-making (specifically writing and directing). I’d also love to potentially do a masters in Movement Direction, or something movement/dance based. It’s all up in the air at the moment.