(originally published in DU Today) by Greg Glasgow photo by Wayne Armstrong
September 1, 2010 - Whether they end up becoming great actors or not, every kid can benefit from taking an acting class, says DU theater Assistant Professor Anthony Hubert.
“Most human beings are extremely insecure, and we wear all these masks to try to cover that insecurity, to appear strong,” he says. “I think theater teaches you how to recognize the mask. It teaches you not how to diminish your ego to the point where you’re insignificant, but it teaches you how to integrate your ego into the ensemble. It teaches you how to deal with suffering, how to deal with joy, how to deal with pain, how to deal with pleasure—how to deal with all the things that life throws at you.”
Four years ago, shortly after coming to DU, Hubert and his wife, Jamie Roehrig-Hubert, founded the Rocky Mountain Conservatory Theatre, a youth theater company that runs summer camps and weekend workshops at DU. The camps ran for three years in Margery Reed Hall before moving to the Newman Center for the Performing Arts this summer.
Kids ages 6–17 come from as far away as Mexico and Germany (though most are from Denver) to study acting basics and stage their own versions of musicals such as West Side Story, Guys and Dolls and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Campers learn all aspects of putting on a show; each day is divided into several classes with rotating activities, such as acting, music, dance, art and rehearsal.
Hubert has been working with kids for 25 years, but he’s an accomplished theater professional in his own right. He’s directed 20 plays and starred in 16 others, and he was a guest star on TV shows such as “Sins of the City,” “Safe Harbor” and “Sheena.” A playwright as well, he just finished writing a screenplay about his father.
“I grew up in the projects in Atlanta, Georgia, from sparse means, to put it nicely,” he says. “I used to go to all these summer camp programs that were for kids of low means. I remember people coming out from IBM and from Xerox and all these companies that would say things to inspire us to strive for a better life. I couldn’t have been more than 7 or 8 years old, and I remember thinking to myself, ‘When I grow up I’m going to come back and I’m going to talk to people the way they talk to us.’ It was very inspiring to have that experience.”
Hubert now looks to inspire other young people in the same way. Whether he’s working with DU students or his theater campers, he says it’s rewarding to see their skill and confidence grow.
“A young life, you see the hope. They have so much hope and they believe in the impossible sometimes, and it becomes the possible because of that lack of knowledge of the world,” he says. “You want to try to guide them to achieve whatever they can imagine.”