Katie Bartlett began her theatre journey at a young age, and her passion has never stopped growing. She is a native of Kansas City, currently residing in Overland Park. She holds a minor in Music and a degree in Elementary Education from Avila University. Katie was in the classroom as an elementary teacher for the past 12 years before deciding to stay at home with her two young children. Katie is thrilled to be a teaching artist to help foster children’s love of theatre.
Patrick Beasley made his Coterie debut in Madagascar: A Musical Adventure, after appearing in Phantom at Circa ‘21 Dinner Playhouse, La Cage aux Folles with Cape Reperatory Theatre, and Wouldn’t It Be Loverly at Musical Theatre Heritage. Patrick is a graduate from University of South Dakota with a BFA in Musical Theatre (Magna Cum Laude).
Jen Benkert (they/them) is a theatre actor, director, and small business owner in Kansas City. They graduated with their Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from Stephens College. Jen has appeared on stage at The Coterie, Fishtank Theatre, The Black Box, Late Night Theatre, Okoboji Summer Theatre, and City Theatre of Independence. They were also the assistant director for The Coterie Theatre’s Project Pride for 6 years. Jen is excited to empower youth with theatre just as they were at 14 when they took their first Coterie class!
Elizabeth Bettendorf Bowman is a director, teacher, and arts administrator from Wahoo, Nebraska. Since graduating from Northwest Missouri State University in 2012, she has made Kansas City her home. She received her Master of Arts in Theatre from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and is a faculty member at Benedictine College where she teaches theatre and public speaking courses. As an active teaching artist, Elizabeth has taught classes in sketch comedy, creative drama, scene study, improvisation, auditioning, stage combat, and beginning text analysis. Elizabeth has taught with The Coterie since 2012, and has worked in many theaters including Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, and Heart of America Shakespeare Festival. Elizabeth is the Executive Artistic Director of Kansas City Public Theatre
Aaron Branch is a comedian, writer, actor and artist. He began his acting career at the age of seven, participating in school plays and performing at The Coterie, a nationally-acclaimed children’s theater. Branch appeared in several Coterie productions including A Star Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hole in Heaven, Frindle, The Wiz and Bud, Not Buddy. Branch made his comedic debut at an open mic night when he was just 16 years old. Six months later, he won the title of “Best Comedian in Kansas City” at Stanford & Sons Comedy Club. He became a regular at the club, hosting and opening for a variety of headlining acts including Dave Coulier, Carlos Mencia, TJ Miller, Michelle Wolf, and Iliza Shlesinger.
By the time he was 17, Branch had written, produced and performed his first one-man show called The Aaron Branch Experience, which received rave reviews and was one of the top-grossing performances at the 2012 KC Fringe Festival. His next effort, Watch Me As I Go, was a unique, multi-media experience combining stand-up, poetry and original music. After graduating high school, Branch moved to Chicago to study comedic writing at Columbia College and completed his BA in Comedy Writing and Performance. While there, Branch’s love for writing and producing content continued to shine through his original podcasts Live! From My Dorm and Live! From My Apartment and his web-series Storytime with Aaron Branch. He also began writing, producing and performing with groups like Chicago’s College Class Clowns (C4), the Martin Luther King’s of Comedy and PREACH! In 2018, Branch was awarded the prestigious Bob Curry Fellowship in connection with Chicago’s Second City and NBC Universal. That same year, Branch packed his bags and moved to Los Angeles after booking a lead role in the ABC/Warner Brother television pilot spinoff of “The Middle”.
Now 25, Branch is signed to The Gersh Agency and is currently preparing the release of his debut stand-up comedy album.
Emily Bridges is a Kansas City native, director, and theatre teacher. Since graduating with her degree in Theatre and Speech Education from The University of Central Missouri, Emily has taught middle school and high school theatre; as well as serving as a teaching artist with Theatre Aspen, Starlight Theatre, Stage Right Performing Arts, (and now) The Coterie!
Martin Buchanan has been involved in theatre since he was twelve years old when his mother signed him up for an after school theatre program. As a former Resident Artist, Martin has appeared in numerous shows on The Coterie stage such as Night of the Living Dead; The Happy Elf; Sideways Stories from Wayside School; Our Town; Atypical Boy; Little House on the Prairie; Young Playwrights’ Festival; Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; Bud, Not Buddy; School House Rock; Lyle the Crocodile; Slashdance; Children of the
Kaitlyn Burns is an actor, director, scenic artist, and a lifetime adorer of theatrical arts. She graduated from Kansas State University with a B.F.A in Theatre in 2020. She trained in all areas of theatre from acting all the way to set construction. While studying at university, she was a part of a number of productions, both on and off stage, trying to gain as much experience as possible. Kaitlyn is beyond excited to teach the next generation of artists and show them just how cool theatre can be.
Melody Butler has been a Teaching Artist at The Coterie and Starlight Theatre since 2009. She has served as a Coterie Master Acting Teacher and has worked in the Education, Marketing, and Front of House departments. She has taught theatre and dance for a over a decade and loves it more every day. Melody is proud to also direct for The Coterie's summer program. She hopes not only to inspire those she meets but to be inspired by them as well.
Elise Campagna returned to The Coterie in Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical after making her Coterie stage debut during the 2016 run. She has also served as a Coterie teaching artist as well as a peer educator for The Coterie’s Dramatic Health Education Project: STDs/ HIV. Past credits include Evil Dead with Padget Productions, The Crucible with The Barn Players, and Antigone at the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre. She has a degree from the University of Indianapolis in Theatre and Creative Writing. In her spare time she enjoys writing, watercoloring, teaching, and playing the ukulele.