Theatre Student Focuses

Recipient of The Paul A. Daum Endowed Scholarship in Theatre Arts

Meet Giovanni Rasheed, Freshman B.A. in Theatre Arts

student focus-Giovanni

Where is your hometown and from where did you graduate? 

My hometown is Maple Heights and I graduated from Maple Heights High School.

Why did you decide to pursue theatre at The University of Akron?

I chose to pursue theatre at The University of Akron because of my dream to become a skilled actor and to expand my interest in directing. The classes I'm enrolled in help with understanding the art of theatre, which is a critical factor in any theatre performance career.

What advice do you have for young students trying to pursue a degree in theatre?

When odds are against you, keep your head up and keep moving forward. There will always be obstacles wherever you go, but there wouldn't be beauty in success if you did not have to work hard to achieve it.

What stood out about the University of Akron theatre program? 

Acting and plays were not big in my hometown. Interacting and meeting people who share my passion makes me feel like I belong here. It gives me a lot of positive energy and motivation to continue pursuing my dreams.



Recipient of The Sharon A. Hollinger Memorial Endowed Scholarship in Theatre Arts

Meet Sander Mills, Freshman B.A. in Theatre Arts

Lysander Mills Headshot

 Where is your hometown and from where did you graduate?

I come from Lancaster, Ohio. I graduated in 2016 from Lancaster High School. I was very active in both community theater and Drama Club. 

How has your overall experience with the UA Theatre program been?

My overall experience at UA and the Theatre program has been superb! Every individual faculty is here to help. They go above and beyond to ensure that you, the student, are completely familiar with what is being taught. I feel as though the professors really care about their students. 

What interested you in coming to the UA for theatre? 

I was most interested in coming to Akron’s theatre program because of the style of shows they do. Little do most people know, the whole idea of “lead-based” shows is starting to see a steady decline. Akron’s theatre type is “ensemble-based” which is starting to make its way to becoming more potent in modern theatre. An ensemble-based theater is where there are large groups of characters to help a story move along as compared to very few characters.

What is your theatre background? 

My first show was my Sophomore year of high school. I had just finished my soccer season with a second-degree separation of my right arm. I politely walked up to the director and said: “I would like to audition for the show.” He scoffed and said I had missed auditions but could still do tech. So I began running a spotlight for my first show and then I actually made it to auditions for the next show, Lucky Stiff, where I landed my first role of Emcee. I later continued to act during high school with characters such as The Big Bad Wolf from Shrek, Hannibal from A Curious Savage, Jason Summers from Done To Death and Patsy from Spamalot.  My most recent production was with Round Town Players where I played the role Featured Dancer.

What projects are you currently working on?  

I am currently working on UA’s current play, The Skin of Our Teeth, which if you’re fortunate to go, you’ll see me quite a bit playing the role of Mr. Fitzpatrick, the Stage Manager. I’m also working with young directors in their directors class as an actor. My next project will be co-directing a show in the Theatre Guild called Scab. 

What are your future aspirations? 

My future hopes are to gain a Master’s Degree. I would like to teach during the day and pursue professional acting during the evening.