Jake Cole knew he wanted to be a theatre arts major as soon as he came to Eastern Illinois University in fall 2011.
As a Theatre Arts major with a concentration in performing, jumping into tryouts at the beginning of the semester is critical. Cole wanted to get more involved in film so he has a film studies minor as well a creative writing minor.
Cole's first show of his college career was The Shape of Things, where Cole played Phillip, a man who met a girl that makes him her senior art project.
Photos of Jake in action
"This play was a lot different because I did musicals in high school and this was an actual straight play," Cole said. "It was definitely for more mature audiences."
Jeffrey Tangeman, the director for The Shape of Things, taught Cole how to act as opposed to just pretending. Cole said he gave him the foundation to grow and mature as an actor.
During his freshman year, he took classes like Stage Movement and Stage Craft through the Theatre Department and since then Script Analysis, Auditioning and Directing.
Cole has been in seven productions while at Eastern and is working on his eighth production that will open the second week of September 2014.
Cole has had the honor to attend The American College Theatre Festival through the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. which is for all college theatre majors that are nominated to go. The Irene Ryan Acting Competition is held there every year where Eastern is apart of a four-state region.
During Cole's freshman year, fellow theatre arts major, Rachael Sapp, was nominated for her role in The Shape of Things and asked Cole to be her partner.
"I met Clarence Gilyard who played in Matlock, Top Gun and Walker Texas Ranger and he asked me if this is what I want to do with my life and I said, "uh huh!" Cole said.
The following two years, Cole was nominated for Almost, Maine and The Long Goodbye, respectively. This spring, he was nominated for his role in Macbeth.
"Eastern gives you a good base knowledge of each discipline in theatre, not just strictly acting or strictly design," Cole said. "You get good groundwork with of all the classes you take."
Cole is excited to have a new professor and chair of the department, J. Kevin Doolen, as a mentor in the upcoming years. Cole said Doolen is bringing in different ideas for the major as well as the minor to expand the department.
Cole plans to graduate Spring 2015 and move to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.