“I have memories of singing and dancing in front of the radio for my parents and friends when I was little.”
And that is how it all started for actress Royce Herron, who teaches costume design, theater make-up and Theatre Arts 101 at GCC.
Born in Long Beach, Herron moved a lot. Between the ages of 3 and 18, she lived in 40 out of 50 states, including Hawaii. She also lived in Japan.
Herron finally moved to Amarillo, Tex., where she graduated high school in 1966. Soon after, she married a man from the military and once again started moving from place to place.
After three years in Europe, she moved back to Oklahoma where she received a bachelor’s degree in oral communications with a minor in education from the Central Oklahoma State University in 1978. The degree later translated into a theater arts degree.
Herron wasn’t always involved in theater arts though.
“I was always the new kid on the block, always the heavy kid, always an egghead so I found myself to be an outsider,” said Herron.
“I turned 16 and all of a sudden this recessive courage gene turned on and I noticed a flyer for auditions for a variety talent show and I auditioned to sing.”
Herron didn’t get cast in the variety show, however
“It would have destroyed me [not getting cast], but somehow it didn’t,” said Herron.
A week later she found another notice for an audition, this time for the play “The Man Who Came to Dinner.” She was cast as Daisy, “and that is when I started my career of being 42 for the rest of my life,” said Herron.
Considering herself a “big girl,” Herron commented that roles for actresses like her are very limited, and the ones that are available are usually those of older characters.
“When I was cast I realized you make these instantaneous families,” said Herron. “After we presented the play, people applauded and I fell in love.”
Herron has been with GCC for almost seven years now. “My daughter attended GCC and she called and said ‘Mom they need a costumer, send your portfolio’ and I been here ever since”
When Herron was younger, there weren’t many plus size dresses or clothing lines available. “If I wanted nice clothing, I had to learn to sew,” said Herron.
When she would be cast, she would sew her own costumes and usually end up sewing costumes for the rest of the cast as well.
“Costuming is important because it gives the audience the first visual clues as to who the characters are on stage,” said Herron.
Currently Herron is in a production titled “Dessalines (The Heart) Blood and Liberation,” part two of the trilogy “For the Love of Freedom.”
The play is about the Haiti Revolution, the only successful black slave revolt in history.
The production is being presented at the Robey Theatre Company, which presents plays created to focus on African American experiences.
Herron had also portrayed many memorable characters as well. She was Mrs. Appleby the schoolteacher from the popular series “Power Rangers.”
Currently Herron is aiming to receive a master’s degree to be able to pursue more teaching at GCC.
She hopes to take classes at Cal State University, Northridge either by spring or fall 2003.
“I enjoy teaching,” said Herron. “To educate a new audience in what we do (in theater) is what I see as my mandate here.