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Jordyn Shumpert ’25 reflects on Lyric Opera of Chicago summer internship

Jordyn Shumpert ’25

Jordyn Shumpert ’25 is using her time at Randolph to explore what she, as a theatre and comparative philosophy double major, expects to get out of performing—and where that will ultimately take her after graduation.  

“I do want to perform,” she said, “but I find the most fulfillment in performing works that are indicative of where we are as a culture and that bring different voices onstage.” 

This summer, Shumpert interned with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and in the city, found a place where she thinks that kind of work can be done. 

“Chicago’s storefront and regional theatre scene has those opportunities, due to the large Black and Latinx populations,” Shumpert said. “Chicago also has a lot of art-focused nonprofits and those 9-to-5 jobs seemingly don’t impede on the smaller projects and companies’ schedules, as most of the cast members are also working other jobs on top of performing. A lot of Chicago’s theatre scene is made with everyday people, with everyday jobs, in mind.”

Shumpert has always known she wanted to eventually live in a bigger city, where performance opportunities are more abundant, and spending eight weeks in Chicago only confirmed that. 

“It felt good to be right about what I want to do,” said Shumpert. “It’s an invaluable experience to have, moving to a completely different area and living on your own—not just for my career but for my growth as a young adult.” 

The Donald P. Baiocchi Lyric Opera of Chicago Internship program is sponsored each year by Amanda Fox ’67, a trustee emerita and the 2022 winner of the College’s Alumni Achievement Award. The internship allows Randolph students to gain hands-on experience in arts management and nonprofit fundraising while working for the Lyric’s development office. It also provides a stipend to cover housing and living expenses. 

Shumpert said she went into the experience hoping to learn more about arts management.

“It puts me in a much better position as a performer to know all the processes and to see how a completely different side of the company works,” she said. “It was a great way to combine my more analytical side with philosophy and my love of performing.” 

During an intern networking event with other Chicago nonprofits, Shumpert was surprised to discover she wasn’t the only philosophy or religious studies student there. 

“I saw that I can definitely use my philosophical background to market myself as a unique candidate for arts administration work,” she said. “I may not pursue more in development, but will definitely look for opportunities within the events and artistic planning sides of administrative work.” 

Not that she’s turning her back on performing. 

“People have been telling stories since we formed ways to communicate,” she said. “These stories aren’t just for escapism and always have had some depth behind them. Even if it’s not a story we culturally value as a masterpiece, there is beauty and value in seeing why that story is being told and what it says about the people telling it. Performance is a different way of examining that compared to formal logic and analysis, and I enjoy both.”

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