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HH HOMEGROWN HEROES

BY Gina Conroy PHOTOS BY Valerie Grant

Mindy and Josh Barker

ACTING CAN BE A BRUTALLY DIFFICULT CRAFT. WHICH IS WHY JOSH AND MINDY BARKER PASSED UP ON THEIR OWN HOLLYWOOD DREAMS, OPTING INSTEAD TO CHALLENGE, SUPPORT, ENCOURAGE AND ENLIGHTEN YOUNG TULSA ACTORS. Though Josh and Mindy Barker may have on occasion been mistaken for the young people in their cast instead of community theatre owners and directors, don’t let their youthful appearance and energy fool you. The Barkers, founders of Encore! Theatre Arts, a theater company that serves Tulsa through live entertainment, arts education, and professional actor training, have a combined experience of 35 years and are as seasoned as

50 AUGUST 2017

they come with credentials too long to list.

and Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura were my favorites as a kid.”

Josh was a natural born performer from a young age. “He started performing for our family when he was 4 or 5,” says John Barker, Josh’s dad and fellow actor-director.

At the age of 13, Josh decided to audition outside of school and was cast in The Drunkard as Frank Slade. He performed at the Tulsa Spotlight Theatre for a few years, then convinced his dad to get involved. When Josh was 16, Spotlight needed more directors so John got involved and Josh assisted him. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was the first show Josh

“I loved to make people laugh and entertain them with my impersonation of characters from my favorite movies,” says Josh. “Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone

directed; he was 17. “That show is special to me because of the story’s message, but also because it was a big part of my young actordirector career.” Mindy didn’t discover her love of theater until high school. Though she had been performing piano since she was 4, it wasn’t until her junior year when she needed a fine arts credit. “I took basic acting on a whim,” says Mindy. “It was acting or art.”

August 2017 (Vol. 31, No. 8)  

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