Linda Dee Hughes, Director
Linda was born and raised in Amarillo and says that no matter where her career took her she was always drawn back to the Texas Panhandle. Her family has been involved in the arts scene in Amarillo for more than 75 years. Her grandmother, Edna Brownie Duncan, was a celebrated artist and worked side by side with Oma Link Rowley at Amarillo Little Theatre as a scenic painter and artist. Her mother, Katharine Dee was an award winning poet. Linda remembers her early days taking dance from M. Pianowski and Art and Helen Querry, singing and dancing with her cousins at backyard parties, taking acting lessons, Dramateens, at Amarillo Little Theatre, and discovering her love for the art of figure skating. After seven years training, that love of figure skating led her to an audition in San Francisco for Shipstad and Johnson’s Ice Follies. From 1965, upon graduating from the University of Denver, until 1968, Linda traveled the United States and Canada as a professional figure skater with the Ice Follies. In 1968 she returned to Amarillo, as she says, “For just a short period of time!” She found herself really enjoying her stay and has been living in Amarillo ever since.
Linda immediately immersed herself in the arts in Amarillo by volunteering at Amarillo Little Theatre and eventually was hired as secretary and administrative assistant to Peter Fox, Executive Director of ALT. She performed in numerous productions and lists as one of her favorite roles, Marcy, the daughter of Anne B. Davis in THE NEARLYWEDS. She was a member of the ALT Board of Directors and was named Executive Director of the ALT Children’s Theatre Academy in 1979. For the next four years Linda worked with hundreds of children teaching them acting. In 1983, ALT found itself in financial difficulty and Linda was asked to start a children’s acting program at Amarillo College. In July of 1983, Linda founded and was named Executive Director of Amarillo College Theatre School for Children. She spent the next 21 years of her life working at Amarillo College, retiring from ACTS in May of 2004. During that time she was the recipient of service awards in theatre from Preston Smith, The Kennedy Foundation for her work with the Very Special Arts Programs, The Texas House of Representatives, and was named an Outstanding Woman of The Community receiving the Distinguished Service Award of 1997 given by the Women’s Forum. She has received numerous Golden Touch Awards from the Arts Committee of the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce for her work in the arts, most recently for a tour of the Texas Panhandle with the musical, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
Linda’s students are working professionally in New York City, Chicago, Dallas, Austin and national Broadway tours as actors, directors, playwrights and professional opera singers. Linda says that the nicest thing is that her students still call her when something really great happens in their careers.
Retirement opened up time for Linda to free-lance in the arts community. She was hired by Kris Miller to direct a summer youth musical and for the past nine years Linda has been Artistic Director of Civic Amarillo and Amarillo Opera Summer Youth Musical. In her career she has directed more than 100 productions and in the past nine years has directed Les Miserables, West Side Story, Beauty and the Beast, Oliver, Fiddler on the Roof , Annie, Big River and a second production of Les Miserables. She has been Acting Coach for the Lone Star Ballet Nutcracker and is founder and primary instructor for Sunday Sessions: An Actor’s Intensive offered through Amarillo Opera. Linda has designed scenery for Amarillo Opera, Civic Amarillo and Amarillo College Theatre School for Children. Linda was Assistant Director for Odyssey, the opening performance in the Globe News Center for the Performing Arts. She is also Production Manager for Amarillo Opera Summer Camp.
She spends her spare time making jewelry and traveling to juried craft shows in New Mexico. She and husband Wayne, make southwest furniture and are owners of Canyon Rim Company. Their son, Kristopher and his wife, Julie Fiore, live in Austin with Linda’s grand-dog, Liza. Linda feels fortunate to still be working with young people in Amarillo, and hopes that the arts community continues to thrive.
Jayme McBride Primary Instructor
Jayme McBride has more than 22 years experience in educational, community and professional theatre. Having attended West Texas State University and the Zachary Scott School of the Performing Arts, Jayme has appeared in more than 35 productions, several commercials and has done vast voice over work. Her proudest moments have been spent in the director's chair where she has directed casts as small as ten and as large as 80. Among her favorites include: SEUSSICAL THE MUSICAL, DISNEY'S ALADDIN and BANG, BANG, YOU'RE DEAD!, a play dealing with the social infrastructure of school shootings.
Jayme loves her local work the most,and was affiliated with Amarillo Little Theatre from 2001 – 2009 as an actress, teacher and Educational Director. In her time there she also served as Assistant to the Director for BIG RIVER and A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM. She received an ALTA award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in THE LITTLE FOXES.
Jayme has worked with the local theatre company, MERELY PLAYERS and has spent time as a performer and manager for the musical drama TEXAS. Her favorite place to be, however, is in the classroom. “Teaching the craft of theatre is where I draw the most satisfaction. Being a part of the creative process is rewarding, but teaching and enabling others to create is something that can never be replaced.”
Amelia O'Dell, Primary Instructor
Amelia O’Dell joins the faculty of the Amarillo College Theatre Conservatory after a career in the arts spanning four decades.
A highly respected educator and teaching artist, she has built outstanding middle school choral programs in rural North Carolina and in Madison, Wisconsin. Her choral programs consistently achieved top honors at the North Carolina East District Choral Festival, the Wisconsin Music Educator’s Festival, the Carowinds Choral Festival, Bush Gardens Choral Festival and Six Flags Choral Festival. Her North Carolina chorus was one of three middle schools invited to perform for the North Carolina Music Educator’s Convention and her choral programs have received grants from the Chatham Education Foundation, the North Carolina Arts Council, the Wisconsin Arts Council and the American Girl Fund for Children in recognition of outstanding contributions they have made to their communities.
On the centennial celebration of the death of slave poet George Moses Horton, she commissioned a choral piece featuring music by composer Scott Tilley with lyrics by Horton entitled Death of an old Carriage Horse. The composition, celebrating the legacy of Horton, was debuted by her Horton Middle School Chorus with the composer on the podium.
In association with Opera for the Young, she launched OPERA America’s critically acclaimed curriculum based Music!Words!Opera! in Madison Metropolitan Schools – transforming general music classes to the year-long study and creation of opera. She has served as a guest clinician at the Franklin County Choral Music Festival at Louisville College and served as the music director for the Eastern Stage Company in Halifax, North Carolina where she also appeared as Josie Hamilton in First for Freedom.
She was a Resident Artist with Taradiddle Players and the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte in Charlotte, North Carolina where she appeared in a variety of dramatic works for young audiences.
As a main stage performer, Amelia has appeared as a leading actress in productions throughout the Mid-Atlantic states, including Liza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Maria in West Side Story, Lucy in You’re a Good Man Charile Brown, Laurie in Oklahoma!, Fiona in Brigadoon, Luisa in The Fantsticks and numerous productions playing Guinevere in Camelot and Maria in The Sound of Music.
Her operatic engagements include two years as a Resident Artist with the Charlotte Opera (now Opera Carolina), where she performed the role of Lilly in Babes in Toyland and was a featured performer in Extravaganza. She also sang the role Antonio in the National Tour of Man of LaMancha starring Metropolitan Opera baritone John Reardon and Sister Sophia in The Sound of Music starring broadway star Terrence Mann.
Other favorite roles include Strider (the horse) in Strider, Cathy in Carlysle Floyd’s Wuthering Heights, Ratty in The Wind in the Willows, and Andromache in The Greeks.
She has been a member of MENC, the National Association for Music Education, the North Carolina Music Educators Association, the Wisconsin Music Educators Association and was recognized as Teacher of the Year at Horton Middle School by the Chatham County School District in North Carolina.
Amelia holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Ouachita University and is a magna cum laude graduate in Drama from University of North Carolina – Charlotte.