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75th Anniversary: Alumni Profiles

Damon Shearer '02

The summer I graduated from Calvin, I decided to take a year off and see the world. So I moved to Japan as a part of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET). I was placed in a small Japanese town and became the English teacher at the local high school. One year soon turned three, and before you knew it had learned a foreign language and had found a place in a foreign culture. I returned to America, after some family tragedies forced me to leave Japan, and for a short time returned to Calvin and the Calvin Theatre Company, where I had the honor to appear in the production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Shortly after I moved to New York and began to think about my career in theatre, but I was not happy. After a lot of prayer and thought I realized that Japan and the Japanese culture had become such a part of me that I decided to return. I presently live in Yokohama, just out side of Tokyo.

While living in Japan the first time, I was asked to sing at several local events and at my church. I even began to sing in Japanese. These experiences opened up a whole new world of artistic expression for me and now I am actively pursuing a career as a Japanese singer here in Japan、something I never dream I would do. Although I am not presently working in theatre, it is my first love and I plan to continue to have it in my life forever.

I have been involved in the theatre since I was 8 years old. Theatre showed me that there was a larger world that just what I saw around me growing up in Detroit. Reading Shakespeare at an early age, performing with people who had completely different experiences than I had, broadened my perspective and made me a better person, while rehearsals and show schedules keep me out of trouble. Not to mention that it is the only place where my loud mouth is ok and being expressive, not say it mildly, is a good thing.

My faith is the basis of all I do. The power of theatre and music is that with out barriers it can enter the hearts of those partaking in it. What better way to transform this world, and spread the love of Christ to others. My talents are a gift that I try my best to dedicate back to God, by teaching others to love Him, love themselves and love each other.

While I have lots of great memories of Calvin Theatre Company, from long rehearsals to Dr. Ter Haar pretending to get angry to scare the cast into getting there lines down, one thing does stand out. Physio Balls. My first production at Calvin was The Ghost Sonata directed by Dr. Freeberg. For the first month or so we spent rehearsals getting into shape for the production, which was physically a bit challenging. I had never felt pain like that in my life, but I laugh every time I think about it.

Advice for aspiring actors

Never believe anyone who tells you that following your passion for the arts is a mistake. I have found that there is a freedom in following this passion that will give you the power to open doors and/or make them if they don't already exist. Just stay real with yourself and do what you do!

Damon Shearer '02

Graduation year

communication arts and sciences/theatre

Further education

Favorite roles/crews while at Calvin
Of course the role that was the culmination of all of my work at Calvin, both in and out of theatre, as well as maybe my best performance to date: Boy Willie in August Wilison's The Piano Lesson

One quirky thing about you
I don't like cooked fish much, but I love raw fish!