Uni is probably the best thing I've ever done. Freshers week is awesome, expect late nights/mornings, there are loads of opportunities everywhere. It really is a once in a lifetime experience, it's truly awesome. I've learnt more than I ever thought I would, I've found new interests that I wasn't expecting, I've met so many experienced professionals, I've been to lots of theatre as part of the course as well. First time away from home, and living in a flat etc was daunting, but you learn to cope really easily and fast. I can't wait to carry on at Guildhall, I genuinely look forward to it, but I never look at the money situation, because that would tell another story.
Guildhall's BA Technical Theatre Arts course is probably the only course I could find that gives it's students access to such a range of equipment and resources. Whilst they have no careers department so to speak, they have industry professionals in to work alongside us on every show, which is awesome. And we learn everything. Really, from stage rigging and knots, to the workings of microphones, to certain intricate qualities of light beams - and everything in between. Guildhall should pride itself on being the course that teaches you everything, in as much detail as you can handle, and then some.
The staff are amazing, they all have industry leading experience in some of the most prestigious playhouses/companies around. Including National Theatre, and Barbican Centre - which is just around the corner. The staff are passionate about their course, and their craft, which is perfect for inspiring undergraduate students. This is not a textbook course. For the most part, you'll be hands on with the tools of the trade, or the leading equipment. You're always learning something new, even if you thought you knew it all beforehand. Be prepared to full days, each day being different from the day before, offering a new task to get everyone thinking - including staff.
The Students Union is great, at the moment, the president is super awesome, and active. Our Events Officer is always thinking of cool activities, and is happy to listen to our ideas. They're really big on transparency - if we want, we could ask to see exactly how much the spend on biscuits or alcohol. Their Basement Bar / Club / SU is awesome, they have live music, comedy nights, Big Band Jams for the musicians. Electronic Music nights for the BMus (Electronic Music) students. It really does feel like a community.
Sundial Court is ideally located to provide students with easy and quick access to the School. You can go from coffee to classroom in 5 minutes. Whilst the accommodation is ideally located, there are a couple of downsides, if I'm brutally honest. In the first term, we would have no consistent hot water for the first week or so - necessitating a few emails to the facilities department. It took them a little while, but they got round to sorting it - it's sad that this world class establishment is stuck in the dark ages with it's accommodation, however, considering that it's London, you can't really complain for the price on the whole. The Basement bar is amazing and boasts one of the cheapest pints, the bar staff, and the technical staff (also students) are very friendly!
Ok, the facilities team, I'll be honest, could be better... but a lot of this isn't their fault, actually they're surprisingly underfunded. Which is a shame, because most of their team is trying to do the best they can. On the other hand, in Sundial Court - the Halls of Residence, they use Barbican engineers to solve maintenance issues, which is disappointing, because they're drastically understaffed. On the other hand, the small team size means a surprisingly personal response in some cases. Oh, and the WiFi could do with some work - your experience may vary, but on the whole, in Sundial, it's shocking - watch this space. In the main school buildings though you can expect dramatically different results, the WiFi speed can be over 100x what you'd receive in Sundial, or even at home around 5 years ago! Printing is free for BA Technical Theatre Arts students, due to the course demanding printed work for one module, as well as some production paperwork. But be careful where you print, as some printers do need credit. Aside from this, the school is extremely well supplied with one of the widest proscenium arch stages in the West End, a brand new fully automated fly system - which is ahead of the industry - and a high-tension wire grid in their Studio Theatre. They also have - for the Technical Theatre students, a Technical Theatre Lab, which is essentially the TT students' playground, where we can experiment with technology when we want really. Oh, and TTA Students get masterkeys and swipe cards to allow access to most rooms in the school - some that say "Authorised Entry only"!
London is crazy in both a good and bad way. If you love a busy bustling city, then you're in for a treat, if not, don't worry - you'll soon learn to love it. But beware, where there are lots of people, there is a lot of crime - *touch wood* I've not witnessed any of this yet. But I have witnessed protests, visited theatre's, and explored the tube to my hearts content, there's never a dull moment in London - you're right in the heart of it too - most days, you won't leave Zone 1, and field trips won't either. Most field trips are about 30 minutes journey away by walking - rush hour is a time to avoid TfL trains if possible. I come from a very docile part of the UK, London makes a refreshing change.
Clubs and Societies are things that I've not yet got involved with really, but I am very aware of the sorts of things I could do - there's a baking club, comedy club, Big Band sessions, Guildhall Choir, Mindfulness sessions for when you need a break, and the SU wants you to be involved - if there's not a society for you, then you can make it!
Oh gosh, the support is excellent. When at Guildhall, you really feel like you're part of a community. Tutors are easy to get along with, and you can have a laugh with them, everyone's super relaxed. Tutors offer constructive criticism, and where we're in a very subjective industry, they're more to provide an opinion, rather than a correct way to do things - they'll tell you the safe way to do things though, of course. Whilst your tutors won't get involved pastorally, there is an amazing Student Affairs team, which can help with everything from funding advice, to easy access to professional counsellors. There's also the Residential Wardens, for Sundial residents, who start "duty" in the evening, and work through the night - if you ever have any problems, mainly first aid issues, then they're the ones to call - every RW is first aid trained - which has been handy on more than one occasion.
Great overall vibe-what makes GSMD stand out is the people. There is a real sense of unity among and between the departments-partly because the departments all cross over. For example, Jazz musicians do Classical work, Opra students straddle the Music and Drama courses, Technical Theatre students work in performances and productions in the school and elsewhere as well. Also just had a new world class concert hall, Milton Court, built right across the road.
Job Prospects are as high, if not higher, than any conservatoire. Obviously finding work in the arts is never easy, but most people are doing a fair bit of work before graduation (some lots!)
Sometimes you feel that you should have more classes, but the classes you do have are packed with information and change the way you operate within that field.
Because Guildhall is not as big as some other universities, it is obviously harder for the SU to put on events. However, they do an excellent job considering, and the SU bar has very cheap drinks, and £1 a pint on tuesdays. Good range of drinks, table tenis, snooker. Also, the events the do put on tend to be great and chilled-ideal for after the long days we do.
London Is a nightmare for accommodation, but Sundial Court (GSMD's hall of residence) is under a minutes walk for extremely cheap rates. Most students get halls in first year, after that you feel better prepared to tackle the london market. GSMD offers lots of support to get accommodation, which is why it has a disproportionately high score for london.
Facilities are mixed. Class/course materials and requirements are more than met. Lots of Steinways for musicians, Milton court which has lots of dance studios for actors. However, IT is normally a let down. Being a highly creative place, almost everyone is on Mac. IT though insist on running windows, which is not compatible with Macs which means, for instance, they can hook your android phone to the emails, but not an iphone. Also the machines to top up your card with money to print are normally broken, but the printer itself is good.
Its London!!! Everything for anyone, unless its peace and solitude.
I dont know of any... the SU did send out an email saying people could start ones if they like. tbh, i'm almost certain nobody would have the time.
Outstanding support both professionally and personally with several full time psychologists and physiotherapists .