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.
Allison Nissley (Theatre School Director) is a teaching artist, performer, director, and a lover of theatre for young audiences. She graduated from Northwest Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in Theatre Performance. Understanding the importance of being a well-rounded theatre artist, Allison has had experience with technical theatre focusing on scenic construction, and sound design, as well as directing and performance coaching. Some of her favorite roles as a performer have been in touring productions for elementary schools: The Snow Queen, Fishing for a Change, and Impawssible Pals.
Freddy Acevedo made his Coterie debut as Jack in Jack and the Bean Mágico! after having been seen locally in The Story Telling Project and Go. Please. Go. with UMKC Theatre, and King Lear at Kansas City Actors Theatre. Originally from Fort Worth, Texas, Freddy is currently a second year MFA Acting candidate at the University of Missouri- Kansas City.
Lindsay Adams is a performer, director, and nationally produced playwright. She was recently seen with the Fishtank Theater in Liminal Spaces, a devised dance theatre piece, and Just Puppets KC. Lindsay is currently directing Measure for Measure with Confluence Theatre Company. Lindsay has an M.F.A. in Playwriting from Catholic University of America in DC. Her play, Her Own Devices, received two awards from the Kennedy Center and the 2016 Judith Barlow Prize. Her work has been produced and developed at Women's Project Theatre (NYC), Theatre Alliance (DC), Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (PA), Keegan Theatre (DC), Interrobang Theatre (MD), Page-to- Stage Festival (DC), This is Water Theatre (TX), The Hub Theatre (VA), The Pearl KC (MO), Westridge Middle School (KS), Westport Center for the Arts (MO), Fishtank Theater (MO), KC Public Theater (MO), and The One Minute Play Festival (DC), among many others. She is a Midwest Dramatists Center Resident Playwright, and proud member of the Dramatists Guild and Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas.
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. He is also a singer, director, and writer who is inspired everyday by the excitement, energy, and dedication of his students.
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.
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.
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, getting her start at our own Coterie Theater in roles such as Marmee in Little Women and Ma in the Little House on the Prairie plays. In addition to Kansas City theaters such as The Coterie, Kansas City Rep, Kansas City Actors Theater, New Theater Restaurant, and American Heartland Theater, she has also appeared in national theaters such as The Denver Performing Arts Center and the Black Hills Playhouse. She has an extensive resume in film and commercials and has appeared in national films with actors such as Martin Sheen, Patty Duke, John Hurt, Ari Graynor, Colin Hanks, and Jeffrey Tambor, among others. Commercial credits include Hallmark, Harrahs, Walmart, Applebees, Intrust Bank, and many others.
Jeanne holds a BS in education and an MA in theater, both from the University of Kansas. During her career she has been awarded the Kansas Theater Teacher of the Year, the Lawrence Secondary Teacher of the Year, and was a semi-finalist for Kansas Teacher of the Year. She was also awarded the AATE (American Alliance for Theater in Education) National Theater 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.
Jeanne is currently continuing her professional acting career and teaching acting and film classes in the Lawrence and Kansas City area. She is thrilled to return to the Coterie family as a performer and educator.