September 12, 2012
By Sydney Moore
Amarillo College theater arts has entertained students, employees and the community for 35 years.
“It’s kind of nice to entertain,” said Monty Downs, a theater instructor. “It helps take students’ minds off the tests they have to take that day.”
The students in theater instructor Ray Newburg’s and Downs’ classes are required to see the shows as a part of their grade.
Shows can be informative and topical, sometimes even historical, Newburg said.
Theater majors work hard to make an enjoyable show for everyone, and their work also pays off for them.
“Our majors get a lot of experience,” Downs said.
A few of the theater students receive scholarships for the work they do.
Newburg said scholarships are a way to give back to the students who give so much time.
Some former students have gone on to act alongside big-time actors and make props and backdrops for other productions. One has started a lighting company.
Many also continue their study of theater arts, planning to become educators or performers.
“I am moving on to get my bachelor’s degree in theater,” said Jerri Peacock, president of Delta Psi Omega and a theater major.
“And then, hopefully, I will pursue this as a full career.”
DPO is not just for theater majors, but is for anyone who has an interest in theater arts, according to the theater department website.
Theater students get quite a bit of attention from the productions they do. All eyes are on them at one moment in time.
“I love being in live theater,” Peacock said.
In addition to AC theater majors, there is a group that also performs one play a semester.
“My wife and I started the Merely Players,” Downs said. “This group uses the money from their shows to help with theater costs and give back to the students.”
In January, theater students will go to a Texas Educational Theatre Association meeting in Houston. The event gives students a chance to win scholarships and helps them reach their dreams.
Also in February, more students will go to the Kennedy Center American Theater Festival in Shreveport, LA, where they also will perform for scholarships.
“It’s going to be a fun semester,” Peacock said.
Tickets cost $5 for students and $7 for other adults.