In an effort to get back to basics, the Conservatory theater looks to make changes
By Tanner Willis
The Amarillo Youth Conservatory Theatre is Amarillo College’s newest continuing education program, taking the place of the Lamplight Youth Theatre.
The program is open to children and youth ages 6 to 18. Classes offered include theater design, vocal performance, mime, getting callbacks and theater concepts.
The program is structured into smaller classes putting on showcases as opposed to large productions.
Director Linda Hughes spent four years as executive director of the Amarillo Little Theatre’s Children’s Theatre Academy before being asked to start a children’s acting program at AC in 1983.
Hughes spent the next 21 years at AC before retiring in May 2004. She now returns with the Conservatory Theatre.
Hughes said she wants to have more structured, subject- specific classes to give kids a good foundation in acting to take with them to other programs such as high school theater departments, Amarillo Little Theatre and the Amarillo Youth Opera.
“It’s nice to get back to the basics,” said Ashley Little, a graduate of the AC theater program.
Little went through the Lamplight Youth Theatre and participated in two Amarillo Opera Summer Youth Musicals.
She now returns to instruct master classes in dance and mime.
Master classes will be offered for advanced students to get more one-on-one attention from professional instructors such as Little.
The master classes will include Acting the Song, Getting the Call Back, the Art of Mime, Developing the Dramatic Character, Developing the Comedic Character, Vocal Technique and Performance, the Design Team and Arts Administration.
Current AC students also will be involved in the program.
Caleb Cordez, a theater arts major, will help in the Acting the Song class. Cordez, who spent two years at the Amarillo Little Theatre and participated in four Summer Youth Musicals, said he is excited to be helping kids with the audition process.
Both Cordez and Little have worked with Hughes since they were young and said they are excited to be working with her again to teach the next generation of actors.
Originally published: Tuesday, September 13, 2011