Melissa Trierweiler is an actor, director, and teaching artist based in Kansas City, MO. She is originally from Columbia, MO, where she received a BFA in Theatre Arts from Stephens College in 2016. Since her graduation she has worked as a professional teaching artist and director at many places including TRYPS Children’s Theatre Institute (Columbia, MO), Presser Arts Center (Mexico, MO), and of course The Coterie Theatre here in Kansas City! She has taught many different ages of students, ranging from three years old to college aged! She has also directed full length plays and musicals including Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, and Dinosaurs Before Dark: Kids! When not teaching or directing, Melissa also loves to perform onstage as an actor and singer! She has been seen in a few local productions, her favorites include The Belfast Girls at Fishtank Theatre and Mirrors: A Staged Reading with Bodhi Theatre. She has also performed at the Okoboji Summer Theatre and the Boji Bantam Children’s Theatre in Iowa since leaving college. When not teaching, Melissa can still be found working at The Coterie as a box office assistant, house manager, and peer educator with the Dramatic STD/HIV Project.
Tara Varney is an actor, singer, director, playwright, producer, and the head of the Theatre department at Kansas City Academy (grades 6-12). Some favorite roles include Carrie's mother in Egads Theatre's Carrie the Musical, Agnes in I Do! I Do!, Percy in Spitfire Grill, Sister Hubert in Nunsense, and Agnes in Dancing at Lughnasa. She has written and directed shows each year for the Kansas City Fringe Festival since 2008, including KHAAAAAN! The Musical, the original opera Red Death, and Voyage to Voyager. Tara is the recipent of an ArtsKC Inspiration Grant, had a four-month-long experimental exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins Museum, and has been a Dickens Caroler for over a decade. Tara has been a teaching artist for The Coterie since 2007.
Bethany Vermillion is a playwright, actress, director, costume designer, and teacher who just graduated with a BA in Theatre from Southwest Baptist University. Bethany has worked as a teaching assistant at the Starlight Theatre and an intern for Kansas City Young Audiences. During college, Bethany worked as the costume shop supervisor for her theatre, and designed costumes for four shows including Inventing Van Gogh and The Importance of Being Earnest. She also acted in several shows, including the title role in Medea, and Lucy in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. After being chosen as a student director, Bethany directed SBU’s production of Wit. Her original play, For Such a Time as This, was a regional semi-finalist for the John Cauble Short Play competition at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in 2018, and premiered on the SBU stage in April 2019. Outside of college productions, Bethany wrote, produced, and starred in a modern-literary web series adaptation of Little Women called The Attic Series. This fall, Bethany will continue pursuing her education through the Arts Leadership in Management Master’s program with Wichita State University.
Jessica Wagner has earned her master's degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Kansas and her bachelor's degree in Music Education from Missouri State University and is a certified music teacher in Missouri for students K-12. She has enjoyed performing in operas, musicals, and concerts on stages both locally and internationally. She cannot wait to be able to share her love of music and theatre with the students at The Coterie this summer!
Vincent Wagner has been seen at The Coterie as Schroeder in both of the sold-out runs of A Charlie Brown Christmas. He made his debut many years ago as Jem Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, directed by Cynthia Levin, and as a youhg actor also worked at the KC Rep and Heart of America Shakespeare Festival. Vincent has also appeared in Equus at The Living Room, Romeo & Juliet at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, and Inspecting Carol and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: The Musical at Unicorn Theatre. For the KC Fringe Festival, he has been seen in DADA is Dead, Long Live DADA! (which he also co-wrote). He earned his BA in Theatre Performance from Fordham College at Lincoln Center in New York City, and recently completed his MFA in Acting & Directing at UMKC, where he has taught classes both as a graduate teaching assistant and an adjunct instructor. Vincent's work with The Coterie includes teaching classes for many different age levels and working as a Teaching Artist for the recent productions of And Justice for Some: The Freedom Trial of Anthony Burns, The Nine Who Dared and We Shall Not Be Moved.
Grant Wayman is a teaching artist, facilitator, and performer who recently received his MFA in Theatre for Youth and Communities at Arizona State University. Grant's interests include devising original work with and for young people as well as arts and culture-based community development. As part of Grant's thesis project, he devised Mr. Dave's Treasure Chest, an imaginative solo performance that offers young children, ages 3-5, a unique and hands-on theatrical experience exploring interactive play, empathy, and imagination. While in Arizona, Grant worked with the young artists of Rising Youth Theatre to devise The Kid's Table, an original production in grown up conversations. He performed and facilitated in Sojurn Theatre's The Race, a movement-based and interactive performance held on the campus of Arizona State University during the election of 2016. While at ASU, Grant worked on a partnership with the city of Phoenix to create a Youth Arts and Cultural Council comprised of teen artists that created arts advocacy programming including a devised performance that advocated at Phoenix city budget hearings for greater arts funding. Grant is excited to be back in Kansas City and create with young artists in the area.
Lindsay Weaver is a local actor with performance credits all over the Kansas City metro. She's a Nebraska native who graduated from Emporia State University with a BFA in Theatre in 2010. While Lindsay is passionate about theatre, she also enjoys cooking and playing with her dog. Lindsay hopes to forge a career balanced equally between artistry and education here in Kansas City.
Chase Wheaton-Werle is a recent Musical Theatre graduate from the University of Tulsa where he also worked as Teaching Assistant for the Musical Theatre Performance course. In the year since his graduation, Chase has enjoyed performing in Kansas City, Missouri; Lincoln, Nebraska; Peterborough, New Hampshire; and several locations in the New England area. As an actor, Chase's top favorite roles have included Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Roy Cohn in Angels in America, and Matt in Altar Boyz. As a theatre educator, Chase's credits include Theatre Education Intern with Starlight Theatre, Assistant Director in a number of productions with Music Theatre Kansas City, and Actor/Educator with Children's Stage Adventures. Chase is very excited to be back in Kansas City and to help young artists hone their crafts!
Shelley Wyche has happily served as a Coterie Teaching Artist since 2003. Her classes have ranged from fairy tales with six year-olds to directing teenagers in Coterie performance camps. Shelley recently earned her Master's degree in Applied Theatre at University of London's Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and has made theatre with children across the UK and South Africa. A professional actress, her Kansas City roles include Romeo and Juliet, The Giver, Our Town, Spring Awakening, Vincent in Brixton, and Amadaeus. As a child, Shelley got her brothers to act out stories with her by agreeing to play flag football first. She still throws a mean spiral, but she'll tell you that theatre is way more fun.