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Kemiyondo “Kemi” Coutinho

July 26, 2011

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Kemiyondo “Kemi” Coutinho, Sophomore

From: Uganda

Exploring: Theatre and communication

A diverse education: Coming from a United World College school in Swaziland, I wanted a college that would mirror the diversity of my high school experience. I couldn’t be happier that I chose Lewis & Clark. One of the highlights of each year is the International Fair—that’s when students really see just how much culture they are surrounded by.

Stretching exercises: Lewis & Clark’s theatre program has thrown a lot of surprises at me. It’s much more than just acting. I’ve taken theory and dance classes. I’ve worked as a wardrobe assistant, and I’ve gained a whole new respect for the backstage. It has given me an appreciation for all the elements of the theatre and really forced me to stretch.

Unexpected discoveries: I came here thinking I’d just do theatre, but I’ve found hidden passions within me. In my Exploration and Discovery course, I had a really inspiring teacher who made me think in ways I’d never thought about myself as a woman. It ignited this inner feminist, and it fueled my passion to give women a voice.

One-woman show: One day after class, I told my acting professor about a play I wrote in high school. It’s a one-woman show about women’s emancipation, based on conversations with market vendors in Swaziland. I asked if she’d be interested in helping me rewrite it, and she was like, yeah, yeah, yeah! She has really opened a window to writing for me. I got to perform it at the Gender Studies Symposium, which was an amazing experience. Next, my professor and I are taking it to a festival in South Africa, with funding from the Office of Multicultural Affairs, International Students and Scholars, and the Student Academic Affairs Board. Lewis & Clark is really behind me.

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