AC Theatre hopeful this year

From left to right: Steve Parker, theatre major; Michael Villarreal, theatre major; Jordan Bohannon, theatre major; and Zak Vangalder, theatre major. SHAWN McCREA | The Ranger


Staff Reporter 

After two years spent dealing with the impact of COVID-19, the Amarillo College theatre program will launch its season with the musical “From Up Here.” The performance will be Oct. 7-10 in the Experimental Theatre.

“Last year was very tough on us like everyone else. Our first show was canceled two weeks from opening because COVID hit our cast,’ said Monty Downs, an instructor/technical director of theatre arts. “When it comes to the pandemic, we encourage all of our students to think about the other person and wear masks when possible. We spend so much time together and have a limited production period. This virus can be extremely detrimental to our program.”

So far, Downs said, fall semester rehearsals have not suffered any serious setbacks due to the virus. 

“We work our students very hard — the usual is classes in the morning, building sets, costumes, props, sound, lighting, video in the afternoon and rehearsals at night,” he said. “We try to help them understand what their future in this business will be like whether they go into the professional world, academia or something totally disconnected from theatre and how to set their own priorities.” 

Zak Vangalder, theatre major, sings a song from the musical “From Up Here.” The musical is about a group of people who interact with each other from the top of a skyscraper. SHAWN McCREA | The Ranger

According to Amarillo College’s website, “The Theatre Arts program is one of the many dedicated to providing students with quality education supported by an abundance of invaluable practical experiences.” Many theatre majors go on to successful careers in the arts, business, education, government, performance, publishing and much more.

“Another goal, which is a yearly one, is to help our students be successful – not just in our program, but in transferring or moving on from here,” Downs said. “We work to keep strong avenues open to numerous four-year institutions and try to help each student find the right fit while providing quality productions for our community.”

While the pandemic has impacted theatre majors, Camille Nies, the chair of music and theatre, has a positive outlook. “We are very fortunate during the pandemic to be able to continue to hold our music and theatre classes in person to perform together,” she said. “We are very excited and our plans are to continue to offer the quality of curriculum that we have been known for a long time here at AC.”

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