Performer Profile: Amy Rene Byrne
Amy Rene Byrne will make her local acting debut in the Actors’ Group production, “A Number,” at the Public Art Academy.
Although Byrne is new to the area, having relocated here from Ohio earlier this year, she’s not new to performing. After graduating with a master’s degree in fine arts in acting from West Virginia University, she moved to Ohio, where she taught at Zane State College and the Columbus Children’s Theatre.
Byrne is settling in nicely to the Williamsport area and doing home improvement projects while she looks for employment. She eventually hopes to get back into an academic setting, because working with students of all ages is a passion.
“I’ve been pretty nomadic the past three years,” Byrne said with a laugh as she explained her moves from her home state of Tennessee to West Virginia to Ohio and then Pennsylvania. “I never realized until a few years ago how adults make friends.”
Byrne isn’t alone, though. She resides with her boyfriend, Kris Freem, and their two dogs.
She made her acting debut when she was in the third grade, but took a brief hiatus while she played high school sports. In college at Tennessee Tech University, she studied world cultures and business but was drawn to the theatre department, where she performed in 15 main stage productions.
She made friends with the artistic director at the college who let her stay on after graduation to keep performing, but encouraged her to pursue a master’s degree.
“Applying for grad school was a daunting task without a BFA in theatre,” Byrne said. “But I found a program that would accept me based on my talents, so I moved to West Virginia.”
Her favorite role has been playing Harper Pitt in “Angels in America,” a 1993 Pulitzer Prize-winning play by American playwright Tony Kushner.
She also enjoyed performing as Margaret Hughes in “Compleat Female Stage Beauty,” Viola in “Twelfth Night,” Bernadette in “Raised in Captivity,” Iris Henniman in “Down the Road” and Mina Murray in “Dracula.” When she gets older, she would like to perform Lady Macbeth in “Macbeth.”
Byrne said she is glad she found the Actors’ Group locally, because it is a group that shares her views in theatre. “They deal with plays about tougher issues, which I enjoy,” Byrne said. “Contemporary straight plays and Shakespeare are at the top of my list.”
In “A Number” Byrne plays three women but it isn’t the first time she’s performed as multiple characters on stage. “This script is so challenging and is written as we speak, so it is difficult to memorize the fragmented speech and mannerisms of three very different characters,” she said. “They also dress completely differently, so changing wardrobes in a small space will be fun.”
Byrne is hoping to eventually make her directorial debut, something she’s always wanted to tackle. Directing would be a way to bring together her knowledge of costuming, scenic design, lighting, makeup and acting. “This is my world,” she said. “There are so many levels of creativity.”
Byrne also does headshot and production photography, which is available at her website, www.imagesbyAmyRene.com.
To see Byrne at work, check out “A Number,” which will run at 7:30 p.m. June 20-22 and 27-28 at the Public Art Academy, 217 W. Fourth St.