If you’re walking about on campus and should find yourself in the SUB, you might cross paths with a student adorned with dark blue hair and a unique style. It might not be that uncommon for him to be wearing a pair of trousers made from sofa fabric.
You might think that is an odd detail at first, but what if I told you that the “sofa pants,” as they’re referred to by the owner, are a sentimental souvenir belonging to Shaun Pierre, a junior theater arts major currently attending Wilkes University.
Shaun Pierre’s love of the performing arts began at a young age and he began acting for the stage in high school in a production called “The Bachelor King.”
“I was auditioning for a Simon Cowell type of character,” Pierre said. He explained that the role was like a parody and very fun to play, but it wasn’t until he was cast as Conrad Birdie that he discovered his passion for performance.
“That was my breakout role. That was when I realized that I wanted to be involved with theater,” he said.
But theater wasn’t Shaun Pierre’s first career choice.
“Originally I wanted to be an EMT. By the time I was applying to colleges I was already certified as an EMT and I was applying to schools based on the fact that I wanted to join the medical profession, but theater was always there, so I applied to one school with theater in mind.”
That particular school, Pierre explains, was Wilkes University.
“I was accepted to virtually every school I applied to but I wasn’t excited about opening an acceptance letter until it came from Wilkes. I was so excited to be accepted into that theater program. The thing that separated Wilkes from all the others was the fact that I was actually smiling when I read that letter.”
And, that was that. Shaun Pierre’s journey into the world of theater arts at Wilkes University began and so his knowledge of the craft broadened immensely.
“I didn’t begin as an actor,” he explained. “Though I came in with a directing and acting focus, I was primarily coming from a backstage background.”
Pierre elaborates that his first experience in theater was working on the technical side of theater. He had dabbled in lighting and stagecraft before accepting his first role as an actor.
“When I came to Wilkes I was interested in learning as much as I could because I thought that was going to set me apart from everyone else.”
Pierre explained that his dream role, in a sense, is not any particular role in any play, but being placed where he can do the most good.
“I want to be that guy that people say is the best man for the job,” he said. “I want to be the person you come to when you need something done because I’ve got the knowledge and the experience to do it. That’s by dream role.”
Pierre elaborated by saying that in the end if someone jumps up and says, “Get me Shaun Pierre” then his job is already done.
His experiences on and off the stage appear to be quite vast, from acting and singing to lighting and design. Shaun Pierre has placed himself where he can learn the most so that he could offer the most.
“I took an internship over the summer where I learned so much more than I ever thought I could know about lighting. So, when I came back to Wilkes I could be asked to do something without anyone explaining how to do it. I already knew.”
Pierre hopes to use the knowledge he has gained from his time at Wilkes University to educate others in theater as a teacher of the craft.
“If I make in the scene, that’s great. Who wouldn’t love that, but my passion really lies in teaching others what I have learned. If I could pass on that knowledge; the knowledge that was passed on to me by my instructor, then I really feel like I’ve done my job.”
In all things we do, we find that one detail that makes it all worthwhile. In acting the detail, Pierre says he likes most the ability to step outside himself and put on a different face.
“I’m really not the over dramatic type in the sense that I like to wreck up the place. I don’t create chaos, so when I get to play a role like that, and do something that I wouldn’t normally do, it’s a lot of fun me. I get to play someone that is just completely the opposite.”
His passion and respect for the art of theater is the thing he wants to spread around more than anything, he said. It is, to him, the thing that matters most to share what you’ve gained from you experiences.
To share one’s own creativity, however, is another great give you can give to your peers and the world around you.
Among many things he enjoys doing, Shaun Pierre also has an interest in writing and has shared one project in particular that he hopes to complete and produce in the future.
“I love the stories about Peter Pan and I read them as a kid. I loved the Disney movie so much, but they changed the direction of the original stories,” Pierre explains. “Where Disney said it was alright to be a little kid and have fun and play, the story’s true moral was that there’s a time to be a child, but that there’s also a time to grow up and you shouldn’t be afraid to grow up.”
Pierre’s passion piece, entitled “Pete the Pirate” would follow a grown-up Peter Pan who becomes a pirate in his adulthood after Captain Hook survives his near death experience with the crocodile that took his hand. Hook returns, not for revenge, but to bury the hatchet between Peter and him and convince Peter that it’s okay to grow up.
The story unfolds with Peter becoming the new Pirate King of Neverland and James Hook standing up as Pete the Pirate advisor and first mate.
“The story is about a friendship lost and regained,” Pierre explains. “We will learn things about Peter and Hook’s past that we never knew before that makes sense of their entire relationship from the beginning of the first book until the story that I’ve written.”
Pierre didn’t want to give too much away, of course, as he didn’t want to spoil the surprises of his knew vision for Peter Pan and Captain Hook and the further adventures they’d embark upon in Neverland.
Pierre’s career seems very bright. From his experiences on the stage to his skills in the technical field of theater and even allowing his imagination to find new ways to share his most beloved childhood stories with the world, Shaun Pierre expresses that he as a lot to offer and hopes that he can do so wherever he goes and wherever his future takes him.
“If I can go where I’m needed most and give the most, then I’ve succeeded.”