Becca Hudgins originally hails from the Land of Enchantment in Albuquerque, NM and went to school at Stephen's College in Columbia, MO earning her BFA in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in acting. New to Kansas City, she is excited for all the wonderful artistic opportunities the city has to offer and is honored to be a part of The Coterie's teaching artist family.
Laura Jane Irwin-Henrickson has been an actress every since she can remember. She has taken classes in just about every aspect of theater you can imagine, from Shakespeare to Sword Fighting, and from Mime to Meisner. She graduated from Drury University in Springfield, MO with an Bachelors in theater under the direction of Robert Westenberg. In her spare time she loves to dance, sing, bake and crochet.
Michael James received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Production Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design. After discovering his love for teaching, Michael shifted his focus from technical theater to children's theater, teaching both dance and theater classes.
Hailey Jones is an extremely active force in the Kansas City theatre community. She is a graduate ensemble based physical theatre from Dell'Arte International in Blue Lake, CA and received her BA in theatre from UMKC. As an actor, creator, director, producer, teacher, clown, poet, she stays busy continually reaching out to inspire the world through theatre arts. Her mission is to continually create theatre that not just works, but lives and breathes. Her childhood motto was, "Be your own star, twinkle your own light."
Ellen Kirk is a Kansas City native currently teaching preschool at Clay Platte Montessori. In addition to being fortunate enough to teach for the Coterie she also spent all summer teaching Camp Shakespeare with the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival. Ellen is an actor and improviser around town playing on any stage that will allow her to do so. She graduated from Cornell College with a focus in Theater and Gender Studies in 2008. Once a full time nanny, Ellen found that being a Teaching Artist was the perfect mesh of all the things she loves most.
Whitney Klass graduated from William Jewell College in 2013 with a BA in Speech and Theatre Education and began her career at Cristo Rey Kansas City high school as the Theatre, Speech, and Debate Director. During her three years there, she directed multiple plays and one musical in addition to creating and utilizing lesson plans for the classroom. Subsequently, she went back to school and earned her MA from UMKC in Theatre History and Dramaturgy in 2017.
Chase Knueven is a summer Intern and couldn’t be more excited! Chase has just finished his first year at Nebraska Wesleyan University, majoring in Acting (BFA). At school he has taken part in productions of South Pacific and The Zimmer Girls. He has been a student of the Coterie’s Master Acting Class and Showcase. Chase is excited to be part of the Coterie team and can’t wait to get to work with everyone!
Matthew Koehler is a teaching artist, lifelong thespian, and believer in the value of artistic expression. Forged in the Omaha youth theater scene, he went on to earn a BFA in Theater with a concentration in acting from Kansas City’s Avila University. Growing up in the arts taught Matthew that the lessons of theater are inherently bound to the skills it takes to cultivate a full and forthright life. He uses this mindset — along with heaping loads of creative energy — to help inspire his students to grow both as actors and as people (and have some fun along the way).
Stephanie Laaker is an actor and teacher raised in the Kansas City metro. She recently graduated from the University of Central Missouri with a BFA in theatre performance and has also taught with the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival and Kansas City Young Audiences. She is so excited to be joining the Coterie team this year! She loves finding new ways to engage and learn with every student.
Sarah Mae Lamar is a native of Kansas City, with degrees in Vocal performance and Theater Education from Mid America Nazarene University and Kansas State University. She has performed in and produced musical theater all over Kansas City for the past seven years. Some of her local professional credits include shows at Starlight, Musical Theater Heritage, Quality Hill Playhouse, and The New Dinner Theater. Sarah also spent a year singing at a dinner theatre in Aspen, Colorado, and a summer with the Lyceum theatre in Arrowrock, Missouri.