Kayla Sandusky is a teaching artist focused on creative play, storytelling, collaboration, and encouraging independence. She has a B.A. in Theatre Performance from the University of Kansas. Kayla has been an Assistant Director, Sound Board Operator, and Stage Manager at the Lawrence Arts Center in various productions as well as Assistant Directing and Stage Managing for First Act KC. Kayla teaches youth theatre classes and creative play classes around town, including the Lawrence Arts Center, Johnson County Arts and Heritage, and KCYA.
Matthew Schmidli is a local AEA Actor, Director, Playwright and Professorial Director of the Theatre Program at Rockhurst University. He received his MFA in Acting from Purdue University. Matthew has worked across the country in film, television and theatre, but is a proud member of the Kansas City artistic community, a city where he was born and raised.
Erdin Schultz-Bever is an actor and teaching artist in KC and Lawrence. A recent graduate from University of Evansville, in Indiana, with her degree in Theatre Performance, she has performed with Fishtank Theatre on projects including Belfast Girls and Dry Land, and worked with the Unicorn Theatre as a Literary Intern and Production Assistant. In addition to teaching with The Coterie, Erdin has also taught with the Lawrence Arts Center, Kansas City Young Audiences, and Raintree Montessori School. She has trained in with SITI Company and Anne Bogart in Viewpoints and Suzuki movement for theatre, and completed a residency with Cornerstone Theatre Company on their community-engaged production of Ghost Town, in Venice, CA.
Anna Sell, a Kansas City native, is a recent graduate of Nebrasksa Wesleyan University, receiving her BFA in Directing with a minor in communications. During her time there, Anna was able to direct plays that included Tribes, Crimes of the Heart, and many more. She has also taken part in many productions as a stage manager, including Death of a Salesman and Bridges of Madison County. Anna is excited to be back at The Coterie as a Teaching Artist after having been a student with them for many years.
Judy Simmons made her Coterie stage debut in Tomas and the Library Lady, after serving as a teaching artist for a variety of The Coterie's acting classes, including Welcome To Musical Theatre, Advanced Musical Theatre, Acting Techniques, and Audition Lab. Other recent productions include Between The Lines and Sunday in the Park with George at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Chruch Basement Ladies and Church Basement Ladies, A Second Helping at Chestnut Fine Arts Center, The Sound of Music at Starlight Theatre, and her solo show P.S. I Love You Sondheim at Quality Hill Playhouse. She has been a cabaret performer, actress, and teacher in Washington, DC, for over 25 years. Judy taught at American and Catholic unversities and enjoyed directing numerous cabarets for local artists. She directed musicals at Montgomery College, Catholic University, and other groups. Judy was also fortunate to have coached many high school students for their college entrance auditions.
Teaching theatre and dance to children brings Emily Nicole Simpson great joy. As a child Emily danced with Somerset Ballet and Valley View Dance, and spent her summers at Camelot Academy, a performing arts camp. After earning a BFA in Dance, Emily taught for Kansas City Ballet and State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara. She directed youth theatre and ballet programs in Durango, Colorado, before returning to the KC area to work towards earning her MA in Library Science. Emily is the Lower School Library Media Specialist at Pembroke Hill, and is thrilled to work with Coterie students this summer!
Karen Slagle is a Kansas City native who recently moved back to the KC area after living on Cape Cod, MA, where she taught special education and third grade for 30+ years. She holds a B.S.Ed in Elementary/Special Education from University of Central Missouri, and a M.A.Ed in Language & Literacy from Simmons College, Boston, MA. Karen founded the Falcon Theatre Company, a 4th-8th grade theatre program in 2002, in Sandwich, MA, with the desire to encourage young people to get involved in youth drama. Her productions incude Annie, Jr., Beauty and the Beast, Jr., Enchanted Sleeping Beauty, High School Musical: On Stage, Pocahontas, Seussical, Jr., and The Little Mermaid, Jr. to name a few! Karen also writes Readers Theatre scripts, teaches Readers Theatre classes, and directs both adult and children's Readers Theatre productions.
Anna May Smith is a teaching artist, comedian, writer and actress. She graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Theatre Performance and a love for comedy. She is a member of the professional cast at ComedyCity, and has been performing short and long form improv, musical and sketch comedy there since 2011. Through ComedyCity, she was able to start coaching with Operation: Show! A non-profit organization that teaches improv comedy to high school students, while raising money for their drama and forensics departments.
Taleel Smith is a performer and teaching artist from New Jersey and who has recently made Kansas City his new home. He received a Bachelor's Degree in Theater Performance in 2017. He has performed on the Broadway stage at Circle In the Square Theatre in New York City. Taleel is also a dancer, writer, and poet who is driven to inspire the idea of art and performing, as well as educating.
Michelle Staub graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. Before joining The Coterie she toured nationally with The Omaha Theatre Company, taught and directed at Performer's Edge Academy in Omaha, NE, as well as various theatrers in the Kansas City Metro. Her specialties are creative drama, musical theatre choreography, and youth musical directing. She loves learning from and creating with her students!