DeKalb — NIU alumna Amber Sallis knew she wanted to act the moment she stepped on stage, but she never thought she would be named the “Hot New Face of Theater Class of 2017” by the Chicago Tribune.
Sallis received a BFA in acting in 2016 and has been a part of 23 productions since her freshman year of high school. After her first show in high school, Sallis said she knew acting was what she wanted to do with her life. Her teachers and family encouraged her and showed Sallis she had great potential with her acting.
“She was fierce,” Kay Martinovich, Sallis’ former professor of acting at NIU, said. “She was serious about the business and making an impact.”
“Earthquakes in London” was one of Sallis’ favorite productions and the first production she took part in after graduating. It was Sallis’ first experience acting in Chicago and the first step toward being named the “Hot New Face of Theater.”
Throughout the course of her life in theater, Sallis said she’s learned success does not come without struggle and hard work. In “Earthquakes in London” she played an autistic 14-year-old boy and said she had to embrace the character, a process she enjoyed because she had to research how to accurately play someone with autism.
She looked into behaviors and mannerisms to be able to do the character justice, allowing her to become the character as well as making it her own- something Sallis said she enjoys most about her career.
“I really dive into the world of the character,” Sallis said.
Sallis is currently playing the roles of St. Monica and Soldier in “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,” directed by David Belew.
Running now until Oct. 29 with the Eclectic Theatre Co. at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 North Southport, Chicago, this production tells the story of Judas, on trial in purgatory with a variety of witnesses including Satan and Sigmund Freud.
Sallis, who is always thinking ahead about her next role, said she goes to about four auditions each week. She said she is constantly looking for new and exciting things to be part of, and when one doesn’t work out, she does not get discouraged.
“Trust the process,” Sallis said. “Someone will see that potential.”
Sallis said she has learned this lesson time and time again throughout her life and her time at NIU. She said her professors helped her find herself in her craft as she learned to read as many plays as possible to increase her knowledge and perfect her abilities for future auditions.
When she first learned she had been named the “Hot New Face of Chicago Theater,” Sallis said she felt extremely humbled and felt as though she was dreaming.
“I thought it was a joke; there is no way this is real,” Sallis said. “I was taught to always be patient and figure out my own path, and it paid off.”