This week, I returned home to Vermont. I'm already so bummed. So while I'm still working to gather my thoughts into a reflection post, I am digging through older blog posts which I have yet to publish. In this post, originally drafted in November, I go through the Gaiety School Schedule. I found when I was applying that it was very difficult to find a student's perspective on the program, so hopefully this will be handy to any prospective students! This is part 1 of at least 2 posts on all the things I wish someone told me before class. <3
I can’t believe it’s already November! This semester is just flying by. And with my weeks so packed with classes, I’ve been reflecting on how my expectations of this semester compare to the reality. I found it difficult in the preparation months to find a student's perspective on the Gaiety School Program. So, this post will contain Everything I Wish I Knew about the schedule before I started classes at the GSA.
In the weeks leading up to the program, the packed schedule was what my roommates and I dreaded most. The program requires around 50 hours of class a week, plus a theater visit, fundraising events, and some homework. It sounds crazy, but when I think about it, I’m coming from a college schedule where I have 3-4 hours of class in a day, plus 3 hours of homework, plus a 3-hour work shift or theater rehearsal. So the time commitment is really similar, just more focused into one building and activity.
One thing that has really helped me to manage the long days is taking walks alone. We have some free time during lunch, or occasional breaks throughout the rest of the day. Most students eat and socialize in the common space, but I often go for walks around the block to clear my head and get some fresh air. It can be really stuffy to be in an underground rehearsal room all day so it’s important to get some sun! (Or more likely rain, but at least being outside.) Many of the students also take vitamin supplements to help, you can pick up some affordable ones at most of the grocery stores or pharmacists.
During the week, you have about 12 regular classes. These include improv, voice, acting, dance, movement, manifesto (devised work and performance art), stagecrafts, mind/body, singing, stage combat, mime, and film technique. On top of that, you will have occasional workshops and training including theater history, intimacy, text analysis, antiracism, LGBT allyship, and more. This packed schedule can be overwhelming, but take comfort in knowing that homework is rare—all you have to do is show up.
You will be provided with an example schedule of classes, but here is my typical schedule, including morning and evening.
7:15 - Wake Up
7:45 - Leave Beckett House (~30 minute walk—and there’s no bus/train so leave on time!)
8:30 - 8:50 - Warm up/Yoga. At Gaiety, they call it ‘bua’, which in Irish translates to win, or victory. But when you’re in plank at 8:30 am after 5 hours of sleep, it can be hard to feel victorious.
9:00 - 10:30 - Class 1
15 minute break
10:45 - 12:45 - Class 2
1-hour lunch. During lunch, students often play card games, socialize, or rehearse for other classes. Remember to find time for yourself.
1:45 - 6:15 - Acting, or Class 3 and 4.
7:00 - arrive home. Or, students often go out for a pint after class at the bar around the corner. While many students don’t drink, it’s a bit of a tradition for people to go and recap from the day.
7:00 - 10:00 - Shower, dinner, meal prep for next day, set out clothes, homework. My roommates and I often cook together, and if we have time, like to watch a show or play a game together. Our group is also split between the two classes, so if one group gets out earlier, we’ve agreed that they will start dinner so by the time the others arrive we can eat. (I absolutely recommend cooking with your roommates! It saves so much money and time. Even if each of you has one meal you can cook really well, you can rotate nights, or come up with a meal schedule to learn new recipes.)
10:00/11:00 - Bedtime! I aim for 10, but realistically it’s closer to 11 or 11:30. Some nights, the students are required to attend shows around the city. On these nights it is very difficult to get to bed at a reasonable time, but it’s so worth it to get to see free professional theater all the time.
Your term at Gaiety will leave you exhausted, sore, and sometimes even black and blue. But it will also be life changing, and the best advice I can give is to never take a moment for granted. Some of my favorite moments in class were in our early morning yoga classes. Getting out of bed into these classes can be a huge challenge, but it’s so worth it to start the day right with your friends. And when things get really hard, one of my professors loves to remind us, “Whenever you’re feeling exhausted, there are hundreds of other students who wish they could be in this room right now.”
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Hello hello! I am a junior at Mount Holyoke College, studying music and theater. This summer, I got to work an internship in a professional costume shop! In my free time, I love composing music, cooking, working with kids, and exploring outside.