Day In a Life at GSA

A Day in my first year of the BA Acting course

It is 7.50am, one foggy late winter morning on my way to GSA. I am headed to our weekly 8am run in the field.

On other mornings, this term, we have had voluntary limbers led by our teacher, a very good way to prepare the body for the day’s work, to gently wake it up – and also a great way to do some release work for more long-term work on the actor’s body. 

But today’s awakening is a little more abrupt; it is the harsh and muddy stamina work, but it is as important as the gentler work. And I can testify, I really do think you need a lot of stamina to make the most of drama school. 

Some weeks, the run feels like more of a challenge than others, depending on how tired I feel, but as one of our teachers says, ‘The work starts when the fatigue sets in’ – a little mantra that spurs us on on those tougher days.

After our run, we have just under half an hour to shower (there are showers at GSA) and get ready for our 9am class. We have our Naturalism rehearsal at 9 today, so we have to be ready to rehearse with costume, props and all, which is always a bit of a rush, but in a way that can be quite fun.  

We’re working on ‘Ghosts’ by Ibsen this term, so our costumes are for the most part simple black character skirts or shirts and trousers. I am working with flowers in my scene, so I have to make sure I have fresh-ish greenery any time my scene is rehearsed. 

Sometimes our teacher wants us all in the room watching the rehearsal, other times we can go off and get on with some character work or rehearse our scene by ourselves while other scenes are being worked on. But I have found it very interesting and instructive to watch other people rehearse, I have learned a lot from it. 

We have a lunch break from 1 to 3pm today. My friends and I usually go to the Hideout, a cafe only 2 minutes away from GSA. It sells sandwiches and soup etc., but we tend to bring a packed lunch along instead.

I try to bring a packed lunch every day if I can, it saves money and is probably healthier too. I either make sandwiches or various different types of salads (pasta, bulgur wheat etc.), and I always make sure I have snacks too, to keep me going throughout the day — we have quite a few 8am to 7pm’s this term. 

We are then back at 3pm for two more hours of Naturalism. And then we end the day with one of our two weekly voice classes from 5 to 7pm. 

Each week, we have two voice classes, two movement classes, ten hours of Naturalism, a four hour Meisner class, a singing, a contact improvisation and a Lecoq class. 

There can also be quite a lot of work to do outside of class, it varies from week to week, and sometimes I have to work quite a lot during the weekend as well. We have access to GSA studios and practice rooms every day until 11pm (except Saturdays), which is very useful.

I went in most Sundays this term to do a bit of work on my solo dance – basically a devised piece that explores a character’s emotional journey through expressive movement

But I have found that it is important not to overwork myself either- I need to make sure I do also get some rest at weekends, to be able to start fresh on Monday. More generally, I’ve come to realise how important it is to get enough sleep and eat healthy to be able to do your best work. It takes quite a lot of discipline, but I think I’m getting the hang of it. Little tip: my movement teacher recommended taking vitamin D, and I think it has really helped me this term.

It’s also nice to take time to do something that has nothing to do with GSA sometimes, just to get you out of the bubble, and remind you that there is a world beyond drama school – which can easily be forgotten. I tend to go to Yoga classes once or twice a week, led by the Uni’s Yoga Society, and I also go to the Ballroom and Latin dance society – both are a very refreshing break from GSA. Sometimes we also cheekily go to the Manor Park Social Quiz Night on Thursdays for a bit of fun.

But most weeks it’s not until Friday evening that we get to properly go out and let go. Most of us tend to go to Wates then, the on-campus pub, to enjoy a pint and a chat, and also breathe a sigh of relief.

Audrey x