Amarillo College Conservatory Theatre


Linda D. Hughes, Founder

"He lived on Hughes Street," replied Linda, when recalling Jeff Bullock, who passed away in 1986. "He was wonderful on the piano. And he had this voice..." 

Linda Hughes founded the Amarillo College Conservatory in May, 2011. She was well equipped to do this after founding, and then directing Amarillo's Summer Youth Musical for nearly two decades.  She has worked with most young performers who come from Amarillo. Her students are working professionally in New York City, Chicago, Dallas, Austin  and national Broadway tours as actors, directors, playwrights and professional opera singers.  Hughes says that her favorite moments are when her students call her after something really great happens in their careers. 

"Every single student that enters this building is special to me. They are a part of something that we build together the moment they walk in the door," she says. 

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.  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.  

In her own career, she has directed Les Miserables, West Side Story, Beauty and the Beast, Oliver, Fiddler on the Roof , Annie, Big River, and many more. Hughes served as executive director of Amarillo Little Theatre Children’s Academy from 1979 until initially joining the AC workforce in 1983, and during that particular tenure at the College she was the recipient of several service awards from the likes of the Kennedy Foundation, the Texas House of Representatives, the Amarillo Women’s Forum and the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce. 

In 2013, Hughes received the high honor of receiving the AGN Woman of the Year award. Please learn more by reading here

Linda feels fortunate to still be working with young people in Amarillo, and hopes that the arts community continues to thrive.

Matthew T. Payne, Program Coordinator

Shaped by well-known local teachers such as Stephen Crandall, Carrie Huckabay, Marcus Bradford, Jill Ludington and Royal Brantley, Matthew started his professional career in Chicago. 

Since leaving Texas, Matthew has performed all over the country at venues such as The Beat Kitchen, The Second City, The iO Theater, The Double Door, The Annoyance, Fenway Stadium, Wrigley Field, Old North Church, The Black Ensemble Theater, the Pritzker Pavilion, and on many university and college campuses from coast to coast. 

Outside of the realm of performance, Matthew has worked with the Mercury Theater, The Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. He has written songs for the Starfleet Singers, The Cupid Players, the rapper Chore Boy, and the nationally acclaimed comedy-rap group Handsome Naked. 

After touring educational institutions of all kinds throughout the United States, Matthew insists "there's something in the water. I've worked with youth all around this country, and the sharpest talent is coming from right here in West Texas." 

Matthew served first as a summer instructor, and then an assistant director, and then a director. Finally, he spent a year as an instructor before assuming the position of Program Coordinator.