Oliver Shirley

Why did I choose to be a Theatre major?  I really think there are two questions:  Why did I choose to major in Theatre, and Why do I love the major so much?  At the time when I had to declare, I was having a lot of trouble “deciding my fate” so to speak.  What it ended up coming down to was asking myself, Which classes do I always look for first when the course catalogue comes out?  After that point, it was pretty obvious—registering for classes my first four semesters always involved me trying to fit as many theatre classes into my schedule as I could while still “exploring” what I wanted to focus on here at Pomona.

When I got here, I had no idea what I wanted to major in.  I had almost no theatre experience before coming to Pomona—I took my first acting class my sophomore year.  One of the things I love most about the major is how wide-ranging it allows you to be in what you study—I’ve sat in a seminar discussing Aristotle in the morning and spent the afternoon turning my body into a living marionette with a master of corporeal mime.  I write papers and paint my face.  The combination of intellectual, physical, and imaginative engagement is thrilling.  The warmth and support the Department of Theatre and Dance offered me from the get-go also played a large part in my deciding to become a Theatre major.  I felt welcome in the department from day one, despite my lack of experience in the field.  I would say which professors I’ve particularly most enjoyed my time with, but I’d simply end up listing the entire faculty.  Given the rhetoric that surrounds “the purpose” of higher education these days, it wasn’t easy deciding to major in Theatre.  But once I did, I’ve never felt happier or more fulfilled in my pursuits.