Meet Stephanie Shum

October 9, 2017

Meet Chicago actress Stephanie Shum, who plays Ann Putnam, Susanna Walcott and Martha Corey in the Steppenwolf for Young Adults production of The Crucible, which has public performances Friday – Sunday through October 21, 2017. Full price tickets are $20/$15 with a student ID, and there's a ticket deal on Goldstar for $10.

Stephanie is a graduate of the School at Steppenwolf, an ensemble member of both Red Tape Theatre and The New Colony and is making her Steppenwolf debut. Learn more about this Chinese-American emerging actress whose an active participant in the Chicago Theatre scene. 

What's your personal story?

I'm originally from Calgary, Alberta, Canada and moved to the north suburbs of Chicago when I was nine. I got hooked on the drama shortly after when I followed a friend to a summer theatre camp and got to play my first role, The Little Bad Wolf, complete with a dance solo. From there, I did shows through high school and college and later trained at the School at Steppenwolf. 

What's your character's story in "The Crucible”?

I get to play a few characters which is really fun! First, I play Susanna Walcott, one of the young girls in Abigail's group that call out witches. Next, I play Ann Putnam, an older, higher-status woman in Salem who has lost seven of eight children and looks to witchcraft as the cause. Finally, I play Martha Corey, a woman accused of being a witch for her love of books.

What challenges does your character face telling this story?

I'm really drawn to how these three very different characters fight against the role of women in this world. While they vary in age and status, ultimately, the gendered power dynamics push them to extremes for survival.

How does the character overcome those challenges?

In Susanna's case, she and the rest of the afflicted girls double down on the lie of witchcraft to protect themselves and, in so doing, flip the system and discover newfound freedom and power. But at what cost? (Dramatic music!)

Any other comments?

I'm really thrilled to be doing this classic, timely piece for so many students. We've only had a few performances so far but I'm excited to welcome more students and continue the dialogue. I'm also so in love with this talented and diverse cast. I remember reading "The Crucible" as a teenager and, to be honest, I never thought I'd have the opportunity to tell this story and I'm so incredibly thankful to be a part of it.

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Mia Park
Mia Park shares her passion of discovery through teaching yoga and acting. Currently studying acupuncture and Chinese medicine, Mia is also a producer, writer, motivator, and celebrator of life. Mia has lived in Chicago for over twenty years and calls this city that works her home.

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Free tickets can be reserved on October 27, 2017 at noon at the box office, by calling 773-325-7900, or emailing Press Opening is Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 7:30 PM. **Preview is Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 7:30 PM. The House of Bernarda Alba will be performed in Room 403 of The Theatre School at DePaul University at 2350 N Racine Ave, Chicago, IL 60614 What's your personal story? I grew up in Tucson, Arizona as one of very few Chinese Americans in my neighborhood. I remember that my sister and I were the only Chinese kids in my whole elementary school. However, my family attended a Chinese church in downtown Tucson, and I also attended Tucson Chinese School where I learned to read and write Mandarin Chinese. I’m very thankful for the persistence that my parents had to have my sister and me grow up learning Chinese and holding on to our ethnic culture. However, growing up, I felt like I was never fully Chinese nor fully American. I didn’t feel the need to blend in with the other kids, but I also desired to connect better with others. An opportunity came up in kindergarten when the entire grade put on a show for the whole school. This was the first time that I felt like I was part of a team, part of a larger group effort to create something fun and beautiful. I remember that year, our production was called ‘To the Future and Beyond,’ and I sang the final solo of the show. In middle school and high school, I continued to take drama classes whenever possible. I loved learning about the lives of people so different from me, memorizing my lines, and sharing those stories with audiences. In college at Duke University, I decided to major in Psychology and Theater Studies, and also performed in three of the Theater Department’s Mainstage shows. Currently, I’m in my second year of my MFA in Acting program at The Theatre School at DePaul University. What's your character's story in "The House of Bernarda Alba”? 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Mia Park