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Profile of an Artist: Colton Dennis, Actor/Director

Colton Dennis

— Actor/Director

Residence: Patterson

Type of artist: Actor, director and co-artistic director of Patterson Repertory Theatre.

Daily job: I'm the advertising representative for the Patterson Irrigator, Patterson's local newspaper.

Family: My mom, Kristina, and my two sisters, Koree and Kaylen, live in Modesto.

Background: I was born in Modesto and have lived in Ceres, Turlock and Delhi. I moved a lot when I was a kid because my parents were divorced and I would move back and forth between the two, going to different schools every few years. After junior high, I decided to live with my mom, where I finally got stay in one place and go to one school, Modesto High, where I graduated in 1992.

Performance experience: I was introduced to theater by my Mae Hensley P.E. teacher, Cathy Fitzpatrick, in seventh grade — she brought me to my first audition for "Master Harold and the Boys" for Modesto Civic Theater. (I wasn't very good and I didn't get the part.) I really didn't get involved in theater until I was a freshman at Modesto High, where I met Dennis Clark, my music teacher, and Charlotte Ferreira, my drama teacher. Since then, I've performed with Modesto Performing Arts, Columbia Actors Repertory, Modesto Symphony Choir, CSU Stanislaus, Prospect Theater Project and Patterson Repertory Theatre, as well as other companies in the Central Valley. I graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, West, in 2000.

Advice for young performers: Listen to your heart and follow your dreams; it'll lead you to a great adventure!

Favorite art/music/performance: I'm really into photography that documents the areas in and around where I live here in Patterson. Photographers such as Elias Funez, Ben Swift and Jaime Reyna, who are actually documenting Patterson in pictures, are artists I admire very much.

Life plans: My dream is to open up a theater/arts center in downtown Patterson. Even small towns deserve to have great arts and arts opportunities. I'm working on a mural project right now for Patterson's Centennial to help bring the arts into our downtown.

How do you reach people unfamiliar with the arts? I am a member on many committees here in Patterson, Parks and Recreation, Youth Advisory Committee, General Plan Advisory Committee, etc., where I bring up the arts and how the arts impact our community whenever I can.

What would surprise people about your performance? I think what would surprise people most about my performance is that I am actually a very shy person. Being on stage allows me to break through my shyness.