Theater was her destiny -- Houston became destination
Barton-Harper was born and raised in southern California, and she received a degree in theater from San Diego State University. While this allowed her to receive high-quality training and instruction, it was not where she first experienced the thrill of being on stage.
“It happened when I was 4,” Barton-Harper said. “I made my stage debut as one of the Sugarplum Fairies in ‘The Nutcracker.’ I didn’t really care about the show, but I loved my tutu.”
Although it took another decade, she knew from an early age that theater was what she wanted to do with her life.
“I didn’t seriously know it was going to be my career pursuit until I was 14,” she said. “I was auditioning out of nowhere for a middle school play, and I was given one of the leads. I loved it, and I helped out everywhere I could.”
She would soon leave California, spending time working and honing her craft in a number of different states and touring the country with a number of productions. Along the way, Barton-Harper lived in Nevada, where she won an award from “Las Vegas Weekly” for her performance as Princess Winnifred in “Once upon a Mattress.”
Eventually, she ended up in Houston after her husband was hired as a communications teacher at Lone Star College, and he soon got involved with the Family Arts Center.
“My husband actually started working here,” Barton-Harper said. “Once he got involved here, he knew my theatrical background and said, 'Oh, you’ve got to get there and get started yourself.' So he arranged for me to come out here and start working as a teacher.”
At the same time, Barton-Harper has continued to perform in many of the Family Arts Center’s programs, including ComedySportz Houston, which is the city’s longest-running improve show. She also passes on the joy to others through her work with ComedySportz Houston High School League and corporate workshops that she conducts.
“It’s so much fun to perform, and it’s even more fun to teach those skills,” Barton-Harper said.
Registration is currently under way for spring classes at the Houston Family Arts Center Academy, which will begin Jan. 7. For more information, visit www.houstonfac.com.
About Katie Barton-Harper
Occupation: Interim Actors Academy Manager
Community Connection: Works for Houston Family Arts Center
Fast Fact: Won “Best New Character” award at Texas Renaissance Festival
Chris Marshall is a freelance writer. He can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.