This community means you cannot move far without seeing a familiar face creating a safe and relaxed environment while our staff and students of different nationalities and cultures add a cosmopolitan vibe to our campus.
We know that an active social life is an important part of the university experience, which is why we give our students plenty of opportunities to enjoy a rich and diverse range of activities and culture, literally on their doorstep.
They are also responsible for supporting Raise and Give (RAG), which is a dedicated group of students who raise money for charity in wild and wonderful ways.
Our thriving cultural scene at Royal Holloway is enjoyed by students, staff and the wider community, with our campus known as an important venue for ‘home-grown’ events.
Some involve our students, such as the celebrated Choir of Royal Holloway, and some our staff in the form of public lectures.
We also host events featuring well-known performers, including the London Mozart Players and the ‘Audience with’ series of notable guest speakers.
Royal Holloway has a proud tradition of music-making with Symphony, Chamber and String Orchestras, as well as Chapel and Chamber Choirs, small jazz groups, a New Music Group, wind bands, big bands, the Gospel Choir and a capella group Absolute Harmony.
Some of our performing groups have a reputation extending well beyond the campus such as the Choir of Royal Holloway. They broadcast regularly on the radio and tour overseas every summer. And our Symphony Orchestra performs an annual concert at St John Smith’s Square in London.
We also host regular lunchtime and evening music performances on campus. Our recent events range from performances by a Japanese Gamelan Group and Japanese Taiko Drumming ensemble to a concert by three of our famous alumni – Dame Felicity Lott, Sarah Fox and Susan Bullock.
Our renowned Drama and Theatre and Media Arts Departments contribute to the rich cultural scene of the College by hosting visiting performers and supporting the work of students. There are also plenty of opportunities to get involved in College productions both on stage and behind the scenes.
Drama Department productions are put on as coursework and for general interest: as a result the range is much wider than you might find in many theatres, and the Centre for Japanese Noh Drama gives you the opportunity to witness an art form which is rare to see outside Asia.
The Drama Society is open to all students and produces several plays a year, including the unique open air summer production performed in the Founder’s South Quad. Recent productions include Twelfth Night, Philip Ridley’s Mercury Fur and A Clockwork Orange. The French, German, History and Classical societies have also produced award-winning plays, often in other languages.
A number of societies span music, drama and dance, such as the Musical Theatre Society and Savoy Opera Society, who perform operas and musicals. These performances often comprise large casts playing to capacity audiences in the Students’ Union.
The Musical Theatre Society has also toured productions outside of campus including at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre, while the Savoy Opera Society has played to sold-out crowds both locally and further afield.
Our students and alumni are also enjoying growing success at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in a range of disciplines. Many initiatives in the field of media are student-led. Second-year Media Arts students studying avant-garde film worked with the Tate Britain in central London to organise a study day in the museum on the films of Andy Warhol. Other students studying screenwriting attended the London Film Festival and their work was exhibited at a public show.
Meanwhile our Media Arts department is always looking for volunteers to join their film casts and develop new skills, both in the studio and on outside broadcasts around the campus. The Media and Film Festival Societies, as well as those covering Anime/Manga, World Cinema and the Institute for Impure Science (Sci-Fi and Fantasy) also host regular screenings.
The Student Workshop often stages and creates challenging and contemporary theatre in the Drama Department, such as Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage. It also runs the Midnight at the Boilerhouse project – a chance for writers, directors and actors to showcase new material and sketches.
At Royal Holloway, we encourage student-led media and have a student-run radio station and two news publications.
Our Students’ Union offers training in radio broadcasting and journalism and often hosts free talks from industry professionals.
Students can further hone these skills by getting involved with the award-winning Insanity Radio or by contributing to the Students’ Union magazine The Orbital. Alternatively, they can write a piece for The Founder, which is our independent student newspaper.
The Students’ Union also launched an online TV station called Rhubarb TV this year, with help from the Alumni Fund.
In the last years of his life, between 1881 and 1883, our founder Thomas Holloway, a self-made millionaire whose fortune had been made in patent medicines, completed his Victorian painting collection. He paid more than £80,000 (equivalent to more than £6 million in today’s money) for the 77 paintings that make up the Royal Holloway Collection.
This was the final touch to Holloway’s generous endowment of a College for women, founded in 1879 and opened by Queen Victoria in June 1886.
Approximately 60 paintings went on a tour of America in 2010-2011, while other paintings are currently on loan abroad, proving their international renown.
The Picture Gallery is open for public viewing on certain days of the year while our curator Dr Laura MacCulloch organises tours for staff, students and the wider community, throughout the year.
We embrace sport at every level, from encouraging recreational sport and keeping fit to supporting world class athletes.
Our campus offers substantial playing fields, as well as squash, tennis and netball courts for students and staff to use. We also have a multi-use sports hall with a 46 station fitness suite, weights room and aerobics area.
The sports centre also provides other services, such as personal training, fitness classes and a children’s holiday play scheme that staff members can take advantage of.
Royal Holloway currently has 60 sports clubs up and running, ranging from football to lacrosse to Ninjutsu and Ultimate Frisbee, for our students to join. They will get the chance to be active, make friends, represent Royal Holloway in local and national competitions and be invited to some of the top social events on campus.
We also run a recreational sports programme called be.active, which works in partnership with many of our clubs to make sports accessible to more students and staff.
Activities range from exercise classes led by professional instructors or students to drop-in sessions where students and staff can pitch up and play sports such as touch rugby with no ongoing commitment.
Volunteering is a popular social activity for our students and staff. We run Community Action – a programme of collaborative projects with local community organisations – to enable staff and students to volunteer.
Community Action Volunteering offers students and staff opportunities to get involved in a range of different activities, enhance transferable skills and employability, build a healthy long-term community spirit and have fun meeting people. All this while helping people by making a difference in the local area.
The programme hosts an annual Volunteering Fair and includes one-off events such as the national CSV Make A Difference Day, The Big Spring Clean and Volunteering Week.
The annual Volunteering Fair in the Students’ Union also gives students the opportunity to meet and engage directly with a number of Community Partners.