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HH HOMEGROWN HEROES doctors or mothers, we want them to pour their hearts and passion into whatever energizes them,” says Mindy. “We want to instill in them the values of hard work and appreciating working with a team.” In the summer of 2009, the Barkers began teaching acting classes. Many parents and children wanted to do more shows with the couple, but at Spotlight, they were only able to direct one to two shows a year. That spring, they signed a lease for their own studio for summer camps and lessons and by September 2010, they launched Encore. “We loved teaching the young actors skills and techniques they might have developed over a long time in theater,” says Mindy. “But our classes honed it, focused on specific abilities to build stronger actors and better shows.”

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But by 2012, the couples’ own acting bugs had kicked into overdrive. Feeling Los Angeles offered the best opportunity to advance their acting careers, the pair broke the news that they were leaving. With no mortgage or children of their own, they thought it would be an easy decision to make. “Everyone was shocked,” says Mindy. “Some people thought we were joking. A lot of the kids started crying right away. That was really hard.” While in California, Josh performed at various comedy clubs and worked in entertainment at Universal Studios Hollywood. He also worked on feature films with George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, and Ewan McGregor. Mindy appeared in the feature film Jersey Boys, as well as many television shows, including Mad Men, Pretty Little Liars, Parks

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and Recreation, Criminal Minds, and Scandal. Josh and Mindy had no idea how much they truly missed Tulsa until they came back in 2014 to launch a book they wrote — The Lost Pages of Cinderella — from a stage play they had written. The Lost Pages is their version of fractured fairy tales, full of action, modern humor, and magical adventures. “When we were surrounded by Encore people again, we realized how much we missed everyone and how much we were loved and supported,” says Mindy on why the couple decided to stay in Tulsa following the production. “From the beginning, they’ve always given back to the community in many ways,” says John. And their giving doesn’t stop with just those they teach in their classes and productions. Over the years, they have donated show tickets to organizations like Youth Services and Big Brothers, Big Sisters. In addition to giving away show tickets, the Barkers have awarded scholarships to young actors who would never be able to afford acting classes. Last year, Encore awarded $5,000 in scholarships that include three classes per week for a year. “My son met Josh and Mindy when he was 7 years old, and they helped spark a passion for acting,” says Shelly Turner. “He graduated from high school this year and has been accepted into Cornish College of the Arts [Seattle, Wash.]. Blake learned so much from this team.”

LOCATOR ENCORE! THEATRE ARTS 1511 S. Delaware Ave. | Tulsa encore-tulsa.com

Profile for Preview 918

August 2017 (Vol. 31, No. 8)  

Where to Dine. What to Do. Where to Find It. When It's Happening. Preview 918 For over 30 years, Preview has been the best resource for dis...

August 2017 (Vol. 31, No. 8)  

Where to Dine. What to Do. Where to Find It. When It's Happening. Preview 918 For over 30 years, Preview has been the best resource for dis...