First Person is a series of student profiles designed to share a glimpse of the wide and varied interests of Whitman students.  While all Whitman students share the experience of the college';s focus on academic rigor and excellence, their diverse interests and activities vary greatly outside of the classroom.  The series provides a snapshot of the lives of students across campus, from the athletics venues to the theater stage, the chemistry labs, Ankeny Field and beyond.

This profile features senior Raisa Stebbins '11, a lighting designer for the Harper Joy Theatre.

Hometown: Silver Spring, Md.Raisa Stebbins '11
Expected Graduation Date: 2011
Major: Theatre with a minor in Japanese
Favorite activities at Whitman: Theatre
How's the season going?  What productions have you been involved in so far and what were your roles?
The season is going very well, although the renovation presents some new challenges.  So far, I have been the lighting designer for the Instant Play Festival, The Government Inspector and Kind Ness.

How does your experience in theatre play a role in other areas of your life on campus? 
Theatre has changed the way I look at creativity and the creative process.  It has taught me how to collaborate and cooperate in a large group and has made me more confident and comfortable contributing my ideas in class or group. 

What was your first introduction to theatre? 
My first introduction to theatre, and the beginning of my extremely short acting career was in elementary school when I was the macaw in our "Save the Rainforest" play.  I've been involved pretty much ever since.

Why did you choose Whitman? 
I chose Whitman because I wanted to go to a school in the West and because I found the campus to be quite exceptional when I visited.  I applied early decision, and the rest, as they say, is history.  

How does Whitman’s theatre department set itself apart from other schools? 
Whitman's theatre department is extraordinary because of the amount of student involvement and the opportunities for students to be directly involved in the creative process.  Since we put on an eight-show season, there is always a chance for students to be involved in a play.  And students are always encouraged to develop their own productions, out of season, in the form of lunch-box and late-night shows.  Regardless of interest in either acting or technical fields, the wonderful thing about Harper Joy Theatre is that there is always something to do. 

What has been your favorite role to play, at Harper Joy Theatre, and why?
My favorite role at Harper Joy Theatre is that of electrician.  Even though I may never walk on stage or sing that hit musical number, my work ensures that the show is a profound experience for the audience, by creating a sense of mood, place and story with light. 

Anything else you would like to share? 
I have found a welcoming and extremely helpful community within the theatre department in the form of people who are astoundingly creative in a variety of ways and always willing to explore a new form of art.