I thought I’d spend today talking about how GSA (Guildford School of Acting) and the university are connected, because a lot people have expressed confusion about this, even my friends who do non-GSA related courses at the university. It can be a little confusing at times, especially for people interested in the Theatre and Performance course like me, but I’ll do my best to make it a little clearer, and talk about my own course in my next post.
For a brief bit of context, GSA was established as a stand alone drama school in 1935, thirty-one years before the actual university was granted university status (but who’s counting?). In 2009, it became an official part of Surrey and moved to the Stag Hill campus. A lot of people doing a GSA course will probably introduce themselves as GSA students before they’d introduce themselves as University of Surrey students, but it really depends on how you identify yourself and which course you’re doing.
If you’re doing Musical Theatre or Dance or Acting, you’re going to spend most of your time within the GSA building (which is beautiful and shiny and new, so who wouldn’t be thrilled about that?), but you’ll still need the library, and will probably go to Rubix quite often and use many of the other facilities for events and maybe the occasional class. You might also become a member of one of the millions of societies (slight exaggeration), which are university wide and therefore full of students from all departments and years (more on that in a future post). In other words, GSA students tend to find a lot of pride in GSA itself while still being integrated into the broader university.
During Freshers’ Week, you’ll have introductions to both the university and to GSA, both of which will make you feel like you have a new family, except you’ll be extra lucky because you get two instead of one. And that’s basically been my main takeaway from my time here: the only difference between taking a GSA course and taking a non-GSA course is that you get two places that feel like home. The GSA faculty is world class, and I’ve never met a single one of them who wasn’t incredibly passionate about the school and teaching. It’s still amazing to me that I get to be part of two such amazing institutions.