Buies Creek, N.C.-When he's not playing a sensitive wanderer like Tom Wingfield in the play "The Glass Menagerie," Josh Owens is tackling 250-pound linebackers on the football field. Owens, a sophomore majoring in Sports Management at Campbell University, is a tight end on the "Fighting Camels" football team as well as a theatre minor. As Tom, a young man tormented by the memory of the mother and sister he left behind, Owens seemed to triumph in the recent Harnett Regional Theatre (HRT) production of "The Glass Menagerie." It's the same feeling he gets when he dons his uniform for an exciting game.
There are many parallels between acting and football, Owens explained. They both take a lot of practice, self discipline, technique, knowledge and teamwork
"You have to know your character in theatre, just like you have to know your position and plays on the football field. Both require getting a lot of different personalities together to form a team or a cast. My athletic training in football has really helped with my acting," Owens said.
But Owens performs more for the fun of it than to make acting a serious career.
"I love the challenge of portraying to an audience another character, another life," he said. "I like the fact that you're telling a story and making a connection with the audience. I like being on the other end of the character, drawing people into the story and entertaining them."
A typical day for Owens begins before dawn when he lifts weights and works out with the "Fighting Camels" football team. From 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., he attends classes, then football practice from 2 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. After that, Owens can relax for a few minutes and grab a bite to eat before play rehearsals begin at 7 p.m. and run until 10 p.m.
"I do homework in between when I can," he said. "I really manage my time well, that's where the discipline from both acting and football comes in. It keeps me out of trouble too!"
When he's not acting, studying or playing football, Owens works part time at First Baptist Church of Roseboro where he has served as youth minister for two years. But he admits the position is more passion than job.
"I like working with young people, whether it is in church or in theatre," he said. "I want to teach them to grow and love the arts, inspire and encourage them, not to mention change a few stereotypes. I want them to know that you can be an athlete as well as participate in the arts."
As a senior at Lakewood High School in Roseboro, Owens played the role of "Chad" in "High School Musical." He went on to act with the Sampson Community Theatre in Clinton, where he played roles in dramas like "It's a Wonderful Life." Since coming to Campbell, his only role to date has been "Tom" in the HRT production of "The Glass Menagerie," however, Owens will soon be seen in an original musical about 19th century serial killer Jack the Ripper. The play, titled "White Chapel," was written by fellow student Jonathan Fitts.
Owens is the son of William and Faye Owens of Roseboro. His brother Andy is a paramedic with the city of Dunn.
Photo Copy: Campbell football player Josh Owens on stage at Ellis Theatre in the Taylor Bott Rogers Fine Arts Center.