Nora Hennessy recently completed her BFA in Musical Theatre at Missouri State University where she appeared as Serena in Legally Blonde: The Musical and in the ensembles of Pippin and Hair. She also toured with Missouri State’s children’s theatre troupe, the In-School Players. She has performed at the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre in Arrow Rock, MO and Maples Repertory Theatre in Macon. She has worked with young performers all across the state with TRYPS Theatre Institute at Stephens College, Summer Expeditions at Columbia College, and the Maples Rep Education Program. Her wildest dream is to have her own show on PBS Kids!
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.
Erin Ivanov is a teaching artist, performer, and director who graduated from Missouri State University in 2004 with a BA in Theatre and Communication and an emphasis in Children’s Theatre. She was involved in the theatre from a very young age performing in church plays and then plays and musicals in high school and college. In college, she was the leader for a traveling drama ministry group and was also a part of a children’s storytelling troupe. Her biggest theatre passion lies in directing and teaching.
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 theatre to children's theatre, teaching both dance and theatre classes. He has worked as a musical theatre director, choreographer, stage manager, and production assistant in several Kansas City locations including The Coterie, The Culture House, Theatre in the Park, Kansas City Actors Theatre, and Olathe Civic Theatre Association.
Haley Johnson is a recent graduate of Graceland University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre. Before joining The Coterie; Johnson appeared in shows such as 39 Steps, Speech and Debate, Ghost: The Musical and Lend Me a Tenor. Her undergraduate achievements include receiving the 2018 Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship followed by the Mark Twain Prize for Best Comedic Performance. She is thrilled to be making art with future theatre-makers.
Ashley Jones is so excited to make her Music Directing debut with the Coterie Theatre's education department. She is a graduate of The University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory and holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education. She previously worked at Grain Valley South Middle School as the Vocal Music Teacher. During her time at Grain Valley, she also choreographed the Middle School Musicals Schoolhouse Rock Live Jr., The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley., Alice in Wonderland Jr., High School Musical Jr., and Aladdin Jr.
Hailey Jones is an extremely active force in the Kansas City theatre community. She is a graduate of the Professional Training program in Physical and Ensemble Theatre with 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.