Shauna Davis has always been in love with the theatre. She never knew that majoring in musical theatre was an option though until she saw it mentioned on an episode of Glee. Shauna was at a different school majoring in English and Women’s Studies at the time, but, after performing in a friend’s cabaret, she was told she had talent and auditioned here at Kent State’s Theatre program.
Shauna has taken advantage of many opportunities here at Kent State including being an RA and reinstating the Black Theatre Association. According to Yuko Kurahashi, “as the president of the Black Theatre Association, Shauna prepared a number of cultural events that helped African American students to find their own voice in theatre. Shauna also built a bridge that crosses different races and ethnicities.” This past fall she also directed the Freshmen Showcase, leading the freshmen Musical Theatre majors to a successful show. Additionally, she was a part of the Porthouse Theatre’s Academy program in the summer of 2015. This program consisted of three sections of “high school, college, and international students. Shauna worked six days a week, equally dividing her time and responsibilities among these different populations. Using her excellent people and communication skills, Shauna actively engaged in the participants, including international students, over meal and coffee. Shauna is someone who does more than she is asked; on her days off, she escorted the international students on shopping and sight-seeing trips.”
When Shauna first started her major, she had some difficulties. Many of the students had been involved in musical theatre for their whole lives, something that Shauna did not have. She had to overcome this obstacle and work twice as hard to show she belonged and could be just as successful as any of them. Coming to Kent and participating in her major has truly made an impact on how she lives her life. Before the program, she was very shy and always walked with her head down. The theatre program forced her to become more extroverted and outgoing, something that she is extremely thankful for.
One person that has influenced Shauna is her favorite Broadway celebrity, Audra McDonald. She has won the most Tony awards ever in history and is not what you would expect of a conventional African American actress. Shauna wants to play roles like Audra and be just as successful. Another role model in her life is her sister Sophia Fifner. “When I think of my sister, I think of superwoman.” Her sister positively influences everyone she meets, and is always helping others. Professor Rosemary Banks has also been a role model for Shauna, in the theatre world, and is always a great advocate for her students. What motivates Shauna in life is the fact that she can help people and change lives through the theatre. She believes that you should “be the person that you needed when you were younger” and always strive to reach your goals in life. Some advice Shauna has for current students is to “find out what makes you happy and do it however you need to do it making mistakes along the way.” She believes that you should “find yourself and be that.”