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In the Spotlight: Student Petra Shearer Recognized Regionally for Theater Performances

Published: 03/18/2021

Petra Shearer, dual performance for media and stage and English major.

Petra Shearer, dual performance for media and stage and English major.

Petra Shearer, senior dual performance for media and stage and English major, placed in the top quartile of competitors in the Region II American College Theatre Festival’s Irene Ryan virtual acting scholarship competition.

“I am extremely grateful, humbled and excited that I was a semi-finalist at the Region II American College Theatre Festival’s acting scholarship,” Shearer said.

Shearer submitted a video of herself performing two contrasting monologues to the judges of the competition. Three judges selected a round of 30 students to continue on to the semi-final round, where a selected scene was to be read. The students received valuable and insightful feedback from the judges throughout this process.

Shearer’s monologue performances took her to the semi-final round, earning her recognition as one of the top performers in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

“Although I was not selected for the final round, I am still very honored that I was able to participate in this competition during a pandemic,” Shearer said.

Shearer has been involved in theatre since she was in fourth grade. During her high school years, she decided theater for her was only a side passion. But, she began her journey at Gannon as an English major only to discover there was a piece missing.

“I realized that theater is my main passion during my sophomore year, and it’s not something I can only do as a hobby,” Shearer said.

The two main aspects of theater Shearer finds the most intriguing are stepping into the shoes of a character to bring them to life, along with performing to make an impact on the audience – whether that means entertaining, teaching, or empowering at least one audience member.

Shearer said her experience with Gannon’s theater program has been the upmost positive experience and that she has found strength and comfort from those involved in theater.

“I have enjoyed every single production I have been in,” she said. “I have learned not only about theater, but also about myself as a person and an artist.”

Upon graduation, Shearer plans to attend Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, Va. for a Master of Letters and Master of Fine Arts in Shakespeare and Performance. Shearer is excited to continue her theater education and hopes to become a professor of theater at a university similar to Gannon.