Upland resident finds joy in theater, writing, travel – San Bernardino Sun

Sarah Carol Hughes grew up doing theater — her first role was a lamb in a kindergarten play.

“I’ve just always liked dressing up and performing,” the Upland resident said.

She had only ever really been involved in the acting side of theater, Hughes said, until she got into college.

“I wasn’t cast in a role this one semester in 2015, but still wanted to be involved so I assistant stage managed a show, which turned into being the stage manager for the first time,” she said. “It gave me a different sort of appreciation for theater and opened my eyes to all the other aspects of putting on a show. I’m always multitasking and love learning new things, which lends itself well to stage managing. I really love all the aspects of putting a show together.”

After experiencing stage management, Hughes began to take on the role of assistant director for certain productions. Sometimes she would serve in both capacities. But when she looks back on her favorite accomplishments, she settled on that first show as stage manager.

“I really had no training and no idea what I was doing, and so I think I will always be proud of that musical and how it turned out,” she said.

Writing has also been a lifelong love for Hughes.

“I’ve been making up stories since before I could read,” she said. “I used to memorize picture books my mom would read to me, which fooled her into thinking I miraculously could read at age 4, and when I got tired of that I would make up stories to match the pictures until I learned how to read and write my own.”

In addition to her bachelor’s degree in theater performance, Hughes obtained a minor in creative writing from California Baptist University. She then went on to get her master’s in creative writing from the University of Sydney in Australia.

“Once I decided to get a higher degree in writing rather than something theater-related, I wanted to go to Europe or Australia and be exposed to new authors, ways of learning and new writing formats that I wouldn’t have necessarily known about if I remained in the states,” she said. “The University of Sydney is the school I have wanted to go to since high school. I wanted to attend a university where traveling and seeing new places would be easy.”

Traveling would be another important part of life for Hughes.

“My first time leaving the country really set the tone for my life,” Hughes said. “I went to the Galapagos Islands and Quito, Ecuador for two weeks when I was 16, through Ecology Project International, which focused on animal and land conservation as well as teaching us biology. I knew I wanted to live and learn in other places because of that trip, and it also gave me the confidence to do it, because I was only 20 years old and barely spoke Japanese when I moved alone to Tokyo.”

While in Tokyo, Hughes studied journalism at Temple University’s Tokyo campus. She also tutored Japanese speakers in English part-time.

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