By Bailie Myers
Linda Hughes, director of Amarillo College’s Conservatory Theater, is known in the community for many of her accomplishments involving theater, opera and more.
Now she possesses yet another title to add to many: Amarillo Globe-News Woman of the Year. Hughes was announced as this 2014 selection in the first newspaper of this year. The esteemed title has been given to many prominent people in the Amarillo community for 40 years. Joe Street, owner of Street Toyota, was announced as Man of the Year.
The story said Hughes was chosen for “her pioneering work in children’s theater in Amarillo.”
Hughes founded the AC Theater for Children in 1983. She said that at the time, there was no program for children at Amarillo Little Theater, where she was working.
“They wanted a place,” Hughes said, and that’s exactly what the children received.
After teaching at ACTS for 22 years, Hughes retired to spend more time with her family and until just three years ago, plans for starting a theater again was just an idea.
She received a call from AC asking for ideas on what could replace Lamplight Theater, which had closed.
She answered the call in more ways than one, and the ACCT was born.
The theater enables children not only to act in productions but produce them. “They create everything at ACCT,” said Hughes explaining that the instructors don’t run the show but collaborate with the students.
“It’s a vortex of fun and movement,” she said.
Jayme McBride, primary instructor at ACCT, knows just what it’s like to work with a Woman of the Year. The scene she sets is one of laughter, dedication and, as she describes, “movement.”
“You couldn’t meet another more loving person,” said McBride as she walked along the ACCT stage. McBride has worked with Hughes for years, both teaching children the love of theater.
Hughes now teaches four classes at the theater as well as a class with the Amarillo Opera and work with Civic Amarillo. She is directing, designing the set and managing production for The Very Last Green Thing, an Amarillo Opera production.
The theater community in Amarillo has changed over the years, and Hughes is grateful to be part of that change.
“It has grown up in a way and I’ve watched it,” Hughes said, “Hopefully, I have been part of that growth.”
After being given the title of Woman of the Year, it’s safe to say she has.