November Student Spotlight: Sumire Shimojo

Sumire Shimojo is a first semester junior transfer who is majoring in Nutritional Science and Toxicology and performed as a dancer in the recent TDPS production of THE CHERRY ORCHARD. 

Growing up in Japan, Sumire was enchanted with acting. “Ever since I was young, I have really liked expressing myself, and acting is one way to do it,” she says. “I went to see shows and was so inspired with the idea of acting and being on stage, but unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to do that.” With no acting classes offered at her school, Sumire was encouraged to focus on her strengths, which lay in the sciences and ballet, and shelf her dream of appearing onstage.

Then, at the age of 18, Sumire moved to the United States and everything changed. “I feel like people here are pursuing more than just what they are expected to do, or what they are good at,” she muses. Sumire spent two years at Bellevue Community College before transferring to UC Berkeley this semester, where she is now majoring in Nutritional Science and Toxicology. Says Sumire, “There are so many opportunities at UC Berkeley. It’s really fun to have a lot of friends and join a community and find so many resources here.” Sumire is also delighted to finally focus on the passion she has always wanted to explore: the stage.

In addition to taking an acting class in TDPS this semester, Sumire played a dancer in the Department’s recent production of the Chekhov classic The Cherry Orchard. Though it was her first theater production, “to my surprise, being onstage for The Cherry Orchard was very natural for me,” Sumire reflects. “I learned a lot from the actors, the director, and everyone involved in The Cherry Orchard: how they developed their characters, how and why they added particular movements, how they utilized certain exercises.”

Looking back after the show’s closing, Sumire is adamant that her involvement in the production helped her become a better actor. “Before I joined the production, for me, acting was ‘performance’ and something separated from my own life. I did not understand how to be authentic and bring real life to the stage,” she muses. In a testament to her growth she adds, “Now, I think I understand better.”


November 2015