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.
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
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.
Emma Carter is a playwright, actress, and teaching artist currently based in Kansas City, MO. She holds a BFA in Theatre Arts with a minor in Music from Stephens College in Columbia, MO. Emma teaches drama classes and camps and leads Reaching the Write Minds playwriting workshops for The Coterie. She also teaches drama and basic ballet through Kansas City Young Audiences, The Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, and Tippi Toes Kansas City. Emma is a year-round cast member of the Dinner Detective Kansas City, a member of the Midwest Dramatists Center, a standardized patient with KUMC and UMKC, and is currently signed with Exposure Model & Talent. Her work Role Play was recently presented online by KC Public Theatre. For more information visit www.emmakcarter.com.
Darrington Clark returns to The Coterie stage in We Shall Not Be Moved - The Student Sit-Ins of 1960. He was last seen at The Coterie as Odie in Garfield - The Musical with Cattitude and Madagascar- A Musical Adventure as Kowalski the penguin. Other theatre credits include Hospital Ghost in Ghost the Musical with Circa 21 and Toad in A Year With Frog and Toad at Children’s Theater of Madison. Darrington was a student of Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude director Jerry Jay Cranford at K-State University.
Kali Coates is a teaching artist, performer, and director new to the Kansas City area. She graduated from Northwest Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in Theatre Performance in 2018. Understanding the importance of being a well-rounded theatre artist, Kali has had experience with technical theatre focusing on stage management and props design, as well as directing and performance coaching. Some of her favorite roles as a performer have been in touring productions for elementary schools: Fishing for a Change, Impawssible Pals, and In Search of Sunshine.
Christi Coffey holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from the Conservatory of Theatre and Dance at Southeast Missouri State. She is a professional actress who has performed at The MET, Egads!, and The Living Room. She taught preschool for many years which is where she found her love of teaching children. Christi was a full time nanny for 5 years, until recently when she decided to involve herself in more teaching opportunities.
Walter Coppage has performed on The Coterie stage for over 25 years since My Children! My Africa! in 1993, also performing in Becoming Martin, The Miracle Worker, James and The Giant Peach, Our Town, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Giver, Valley Song, Frankenstein, and Green Eggs and Ham. He has also appeared at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Studio Theatre in Washington, DC, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, The St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre, Unicorn Theatre, Kansas City Actors Theatre, and Spinning Tree Theatre. His work in feature films includes: All Creatures Here Below, In The Wake Of Ire, Goodland, Jayhawkers, Destination: Planet Negro, The Profit, The Only Good Indian, If Night Comes and Last Ounce Of Courage. His TV credits include: Detroiters (Comedy Central), Chicago Med (NBC), Gone In The Night (CBS), The Only Witness (Lifetime), A Deadly Vision (ABC), 12 Days of Giving (UP TV), All Roads Lead Home (Showtime), Truman (HBO). He has also directed productions for Kansas City Actors Theatre (The Island), Spinning Tree Theatre (Black Pearl Sings), and The Coterie (Hana’s Suitcase). Upcoming: A Christmas Carol and Pride And Prejudice at KC Rep.
Scott Cox is a Missouri native who began acting professionally at 14. He currently acts, writes, directs, and produces in addition to serving as the Chair of Theatre & Dance at Benedictine College. He studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Pasadena, California, before getting his BA in Theatre at Missouri State University. He received his MA in Playwriting and Dramaturgy at UMKC, and completed his PhD at KU. He spent two seasons touring with The Coterie's Once Upon a Treasure Trunk and has served as a teaching artist since 2004.