Jeff Church (Producing Artistic Director) joined The Coterie as Producing Artistic Director in 1990, which, during his tenure, has been named in the top five children’s theatres in the U.S. by Time Magazine, where his Great Book/Banned Books Season was nationally recognized. He started a children’s theatre in his hometown of La Junta, Colorado, at age 15, continuing it while getting his BA in Fine Arts at Colorado College. In the 1980s he was playwright-in-residence at the Kennedy Center Youth and Family Programs and taught at Duke Ellington School.
Joette Pelster (Executive Director) is the Coterie's Executive Director. She completed her undergraduate degree in political science from Creighton University realizing she wanted to go into theatre. After this realization, Joette spent six months as a research analyst at the Nebraska Legislature, reading 100 plays to catch up before completing two years of graduate work at the University of Nebraska's Theatre Arts program.
Amanda Kibler (Education Director) earned her M.F.A. in theatre for young audiences from the University of Central Florida. Before joining The Coterie, she worked as an actor, director, and teaching artist at the Omaha Theater Company in Omaha, NE, Orlando Repertory Theatre in Orlando, FL, and Visible Fictions in Glasgow, Scotland. She loves creating theatre for and with youth of all ages.
Michelle Staub (Education Assistant) graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. Before joining The Coterie she toured nationally with The Omaha Theatre Company, taught and directed at Performer's Edge Academy in Omaha, NE, as well as various theatrers in the Kansas City Metro. Her specialties are creative drama, musical theatre choreography, and youth musical directing. She loves learning from and creating with her students!
Lindsay Adams is a teaching artist, playwright, director, coffee addict, and lover of all things theatrical. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a BA in English and a minor in theatre. She has acted and directed around the Kansas City area. Her stage writing has been featured at Potluck Productions, Kansas City Fringe Festival, Fishtank Performance Studio, and Barn Player's 6x10 Playwriting Festival. She is currently a contributing writer for KCMetropolis and often stage manages for the Midwest Dramatist Center.
Kevin Albert has been a teaching artist for The Coterie Theatre since 2008. He has appeared on many Kansas City stages. He was last seen on The Coterie stage in their production of Frindle. When he isn’t on stage Kevin is the Assistant Box Office Manager at The Coterie. He is also a singer, director, and writer. He is inspired everyday by the excitement, energy, and dedication of his students.
Damron Russel Armstrong returns to Kansas City after a busy year which started with Rhode Island’s 2013 Best Production - Rent! At The Coterie, his credits include The Wiz, Once On This Island, and Geppetto and Son, among many others.
Zachary Andrews is a graduate of the UMKC acting program who has appeared on The Coterie's stage in the one-man production of Dracula: The Journal of Jonathan Harker and as Randy in The Outsiders. Zachary has performed his way across the country and back again with companies including Riverside Theater, The Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Western Washington Summer Theater, Kansas City Rep, and The Denver Center Theatre Company.
Jeanne Averill has been a professional actress and award winning educator for more than 25 years. She has appeared in almost every professional venue in Kansas City including Kansas City Rep, Kansas City Actors Theater, New Theatre Restaurant, American Heartland Theater and, of course, The Coterie. She has also appeared nationally at The Denver Performing Arts Center and the Black Hills Playhouse. She has an extensive resume in film and commercials and has appeared on screen with Martin Sheen, Patty Duke, John Hurt, Ari Graynor, Colin Hanks, and Jeffrey Tambor, among others. Jeanne holds a BS in education and a MA in theater, both from KU. During her teaching career she has been awarded the Kansas Theater Teacher of the Year, the Lawrence Secondary Teacher of the Year and was also awarded the American Alliance for Theater in Education National Teacher of the Year. Much of Jeanne's advanced teaching artist training has been through the Kennedy Center Arts Partnership program with the Lied Center and Lawrence School District.
Ric Averill is a freelance director, playwright, teacher, screenwriter, actor, composer, music director, keyboard player, and conductor. Ric retired as Artistic Director, Emeritus, of the Lawrence Arts Center, the organization tha supported his artistic life for 16 years and allowed him to tour the country (37 states with his Seem-To-Be Players) and produce professional and educational theatre (including the award winning Summer Youth Theatre program, which he co-founded with actress wife, Jeanne). Averill has been commissioned by The Coterie Theatre in Kansas City, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, First Stage Miliwaukee, and San Diego State University's Theater of the World Festival to write plays and operas. The body of Ric's work may be found at Dramatic Publisshing. Ric's most recent work, Midnight Visit to the Grave of Poe; A Grotesque Arabesque, an opera with modern dance, rock instrumentation, and digital scneery, premiered at the Lawrence Arts Center in October of 2015.