Sharon Suh discovered her passion for the stage in Calvin’s theater program. To her, stage management is about more than directors and designers, creativity and practicality, or costumes, lights, audio, and inspiration—though it’s all of that, too. Ultimately, however, it’s all about people. So, Sharon uses her life experiences on stage to cultivate inspiring atmospheres and tell meaningful truths in order to build community.
Born to Korean missionaries, Sharon spent her early life in Botswana. As she grew older, Sharon left for a British boarding school in South Africa. She took a gap year in South Korea and found herself in the United States when she was ready for college.
Sharon knew that she wanted the intimacy of a small student body, but she also wanted a Christian school that creates space to explore, ask questions, and try new things. Calvin gave her a unique message: “Push boundaries, have doubt, and overcome it.”
Sharon appreciates her liberal arts education, which has already helped her theater career.
“My mentor said, ‘I can see the liberal arts coming out of you because you know how to listen and how to appreciate all these different things,’” Sharon shared. “That’s when it hit me that this is what a liberal arts education is supposed to do.
Studying religion and theater, Sharon’s education gave her a vision for what she aspired to do with theater.
“In my ideal world, I’d love to integrate theology and theater together to make it friendlier and more applicable. I’m still figuring out how I’d get there, but for me, theater is a way to tell a story. It’s one of the most effective ways to tell the truth without just giving out answers.”
While living in Grand Rapids as an undergraduate, Sharon fueled her passion for the stage. The Calvin Theatre Company produces several shows a year, and she decided to get involved.
She stage-managed the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream her sophomore year. With other shows, she helped as a prop manager or part of the stage running crew. She also joined the greater Grand Rapids theater community. Amongst other productions, Sharon stage-managed the play The Aliens for Theater 616 at the Dog Story Theater.
In March 2016, she was awarded a partnered mentorship to the massive conference of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, complete with a full scholarship. Calvin’s communication department covered her travel costs. Sharon was nominated for the Gateway program by Calvin alum and professional stage manager Evangeline Rose Whitlock.
The following summer, Sharon interned for the Delacorte Theater in New York City. She worked with a six-person stage production team on the musical adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. With this internship, Sharon formatted changes in the script, redistributed the script to the cast, and performed other miscellaneous tasks.
Sharon plans to continue living a life devoted to God one day at a time, wherever he leads her. She has faith in God's plan for her.
“Doing theater is my way of expressing love for God,” she explained. "It’s okay not to know what I’m going to do in the future."