Shimi was born and raised in Singapore, just a couple of degrees off the Equator. So getting used to San Antonio summer heat was not a big deal!
She moved to the United States to attend Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. Her major was in Theater and she also concentrated on Women’s Studies. She was awarded a Senior Fellowship — an honor given to only a few seniors each year. This meant she could focus her final year at Dartmouth on one major project. She chose to research a major incident of political repression in Singapore, and she turned that project into her first solo show.
After graduating in 1994, she moved to San Antonio and started working with the Jump-Start Performance Company in the Blue Star Arts Complex. She started as an intern and today she’s the Company’s Artistic Director.
She has created and performed several solo theater pieces, as well as collaborated on many ensemble and small group pieces. One of her plays was published in Jump-Start Playworks and she has toured around the States with a couple of her shows — including to the first-ever National Asian-American Theater Festival. She shared the bill with Jude Narita — who she remembered seeing as a child, onstage in Singapore — so that was a “mind-blowing” experience. Several of her performance projects have been critically acclaimed in the Express-News over the years.
Besides her theater and performance work, she is also what she calls a “glamtertainer”. She has several lines of ‘sparkly’ entertainment work including aerial dance, hooping, fire-eating, and belly dancing. You may have seen her around in some of these guises over the years.
Shimi is also a certified fitness instructor and teaches at the Golds Gym Goliad location. As “Miss Shimi”, she has ‘art-educated’ several generations of Bonham Academy students.
While her family still lives in Singapore, Shimi has made San Antonio her home. She as been married to Oscar Alvarado — a local artist — for 15 years. She and Oscar met and were married in Lavaca and still live here today with their rescue dog Buffy. And they intend to stay!
Shimi walks everywhere, so you’ll often see her out and about. She enjoys working out at MBS Fitness and playing with one or more of her circus toys in her backyard. She adores South Padre Island because she loves the Gulf’s incredible water and marine life. Shimi loves swimming in salt water, so it couldn’t help but become one of her favorite vacation spots in Texas.
Shimi moved to Lavaca in 1994 and hasn’t looked back. She loves the urban experience along with the charm of the historic houses and the laid-back art / pet / family-loving nature of her neighbors. She and Oscar have seen a lot of changes here in the neighborhood and expect many more — with full confidence that we all care enough about our ‘hood to ensure that the changes are the right ones.
You can see Shimi’s film / performance collaboration with Erik Bosse this Friday (June 8th) at Jump-Start’s Summer Sparks New Works Festival!