Student Spotlight: Paul MacKinnon

COURTESY // Paul MacKinnon

Here at Sonoma State University, the Green Music Center not only serves as a concert hall with multiple venues, but it also provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate their acting skills in theatre. One student who really shines is Paul MacKinnon. 

MacKinnon is a senior currently majoring in English and minoring in theatre. Growing up in Daly City, MacKinnon eventually moved to San Francisco to attend San Francisco State University, where he focused on becoming an engineer. 

After enduring several challenges with the computer engineering program at San Francisco State, MacKinnon decided to pursue humanities at Sonoma State. The main reason why he chose to attend Sonoma State over any other college was to get away from the city and the environment at Sonoma State made him feel like he had a fresh start to begin a new career. 

Here he developed a passion for acting and was able to inspire others through his self-expression in theatre. One person who played a huge role in his life that influenced him into pursuing theatre growing up was the protagonist “Dr. Simon Locke” from the television drama show, “Police Surgeon.” 

In this television show, Dr. Locke plays the role of a police officer who is also a physician. Throughout this television series Dr. Locke’s character grew on MacKinnon which inspired him to express himself more through theatre. 

During high school he got involved in acting and got his first performance in Romeo and Juliet. Over time, MacKinnon began to love theatre, but he believed pursuing computer engineering should be his priority. However, due to several life challenges MacKinnon chose to go with theatre in the end because it was a way for him to cope with his problems by expressing his emotions on stage.

This October, MacKinnon will be performing at the GMC for an opera event called “The Magic of the Flute.” MacKinnon will be playing the role of Monostatos. Monostatos is an anomaly with a strange personality and throughout the play he is misunderstood by the other characters. He is portrayed as a mean and greedy servant of Sarastro, the high priest of the Sun.

As an actor, MacKinnon challenges people to think from the heart and not from the brain. 

Upon graduating next semester, MacKinnon plans on traveling to New York City where he will search for opportunities in theatre. 

MacKinnon’s dream is to make it to broadway and voice out his opinion on social issues such as racial discrimination, gender crimes and hate crimes. 

“Theatre should be used to solve the social issues our society is facing today. The race, hate and gender crimes. Every creature on the planet is not born equal,” said MacKinnon. “However, human beings are the only creatures with the unique capacity to not only treat each other as equals, but also give others an equal chance. As a society it is our responsibility to make use of those rare talents.”

For MacKinnon, his journey doesn’t end after graduating from Sonoma State University. Afterwards MacKinnon aspires to achieve a Masters of Fine Arts. With it, MacKinnon plans on making theatre more available for those less fortunate and inspire newcomers by becoming a director. 

In hopes of spreading equality and change, MacKinnon plans on coordinating plays where social issues are addressed and solved. Although he has not yet planned out anything specific because it is too early for him in his career. MacKinnon dreams of making change through theatre by whatever means necessary.