Coterie, Inc. dba Coterie Theatre
2450 Grand Blvd, Suite 144
Kansas City MO 64108-2520
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (816) 474-6785 229
Mission Statement
The Coterie exists to provide professional classic and contemporary theatre which challenges audience and artist, and to provide educational, dramatic outreach programs in the community. We seek to open lines of communication between races, genders, and generations in redefining children's theatre to include families and diverse audiences.
CEO/Executive Director Joette Pelster
Board Chair Mike Enos
Board Chair Company Affiliation
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1979
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Mission Statement The Coterie exists to provide professional classic and contemporary theatre which challenges audience and artist, and to provide educational, dramatic outreach programs in the community. We seek to open lines of communication between races, genders, and generations in redefining children's theatre to include families and diverse audiences.
Background Statement
The Coterie Theater, named one of the top five best theaters for young audiences in the nation by TIME magazine and winner of the 2004 Missouri Arts Award, is a not-for profit professional theater for youth and family audiences.
Established in 1979, it has provided live theater and educational programs for over one million individuals including children, teenagers, parents, teachers and grandparents located in the Kansas City metro area. The Coterie is truly a multi-generational theatre. The Coterie began with one production as a graduate student project by students at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, and has grown to seven annual productions, year-round theater classes taught onsite and at community satellite locations, and two educational outreach programs. Of its 202 productions produced since 1979, 56 have been world premieres or American premieres, many commissioned by the Coterie and have ranged from the beloved Little House on the Prairie series to The Wrestling Season, which dealt with the power of teen rumors. The Coterie continues to earn local, state and national awards. Three times the organization has participated in a prestigious new play development program sponsored by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and transferred two productions to the Kennedy Center’s Youth and Family series. In addition, Coterie productions have been featured in NYU's New Plays for Young Audiences. In 1991, the Coterie developed Reaching the Write Minds/Young Playwrights' Roundtable, a dramatic writing program that gives a voice to emerging teen playwrights (presently one of the largest writing programs in the city annually serving 400 teens). In 1993, it launched the Dramatic AIDS Education Project, now called The Dramatic Health Education Project (DHEP) an HIV/STDs education and prevention program that annually reaches approximately 8,000 young adults in grades 8-12 in presentations free of charge.
The Coterie maintains an environment where individuals of all ages can equally celebrate our humanity and our universality which live theater so aptly personifies at its finest.
Impact Statement

Recent accomplishments include:

  1. The annual season of plays finished with an average paid capacity of 85%, serving 77,943, a healthy percentage by industry standards.
  2. The Dramatic Health Education Project, a HIV/STD education and prevention program provided a record-breaking 245 presentations to over 8,000 teenagers (ages 13-18), offered free of charge.
  3. Received a National Endowment for the Arts Grant for Hana's Suitcase: A True Holocaust Mystery.  This marked the 22nd NEA award the theatre has received in the last 20 years.
  4. Project Pride, a Queer Youth Theatre that gives voice to LGBTQ youth and straight allied teens through the use of Theatre for Social Change techniques. 
  5. A new program, Your Ticket to Ride, was established to assist qualifying schools with transportation costs to ensure that in-need schools can access life theatre.
  6. New In-School workshops were offered to any schools booking group tickets to our older shows that serve middle and high school students.  These workshops prepared students to engage in the post-show forum following We Shall Not Be Moved: Sit-Ins of 1960.
Needs Statement
  • Ongoing IT support from outside vendors. The size of the Coterie precludes the addition of an IT staff position, whether full-time or part-time. 
  • Comprehensive analysis of the Coterie audience including individuals and groups (e.g. schools).  In terms of school groups - assessing changing policies and philosophies for field trips as well as identifying funds to support bus expenses for visiting schools, often a prohibitive factor in attending productions.
  • Assess staff needs and other infrastructure needs to support existing programming and any expansion.
Service Categories
Youth Development Programs
Areas of Service
MO - Jackson County
MO - Clay County
MO - Platte County
KS - Wyandotte County
KS - Johnson County
MO - Eastern Jackson Co
MO - Jackson County Urban Core
KS - Wyandotte County Urban Core
MO - Ray County
KS - Lawrence
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement

Coterie Board Members all share a common value, they are passionate about the Coterie.  Every board member is on the board because they believe in the artistic excellence of the Coterie and want to ensure that it will be around for future generations.  The Coterie Board is a working board.  Each board member works on at least one standing committee:  Marketing, Development and Finance. The committees meet every other month but task forces created from committee responsibilities meet regularly.  All new members have a provisional 1 year term, followed by multiple 3 year terms, if appropriate. Ideally, we like to keep board members 9-10 years.  In recent years, the Board has focused on long range objectives to enhance local popularity, as well as being recognized as a well managed, smooth running operation with a national reputation for artistic excellence, capable of securing new and renewable funding sources.  

The Coterie reaches more than 90,000 children and young adults annually through our stage performances, education classes and outreach programs.  As we look at our 33 year history, we are so proud that over 1 million children, teenagers, parents, teachers, individuals and grandparents have enjoyed more than 214 productions (more than 50 were world premieres).  8,000 teenagers alone are reached annually through our Dramatic Health Education Program, a community outreach programs helping a critical population understand the reality of remaining healthy and safe.  The Board is so proud of this program and its impact in our community.  As one Board member recently said to me, “I have so many commitments in this community, so many volunteer jobs I HAVE to do, this is the one Board that I WANT to be on and it feels good.”  We on the Coterie Board share a secret: it nurtures our soul.
Description Consists of eight full productions from September to August with an emphasis on new or recent works, reaching a multi-generational range of age groups: kindergarten through college, and adults. Also includes the Young Playwrights Festival and Project Pride.
Program Budget $850,000.00
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Theatrical Performances
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years), Minorities, At-Risk Populations
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success The Coterie has no vehicle in place to assess change in "behavior, attitude, condition, knowledge, status or satisfaction" for audiences attending our productions. It would be a mammoth task that would require tracking thousands of audience members over a 10 year period, beyond the capacity of most theatres. The one component we can measure is satisfaction though it is anecdotal or based on repeat attendance by teachers and parents who purchase the majority of tickets.
Long-Term Success Children and teenagers will consider live theatre an important part of their life as they move into adulthood. Only by experiencing high quality professional productions, including programming and actors who reflect the diverse population we serve, and a selection of plays that does not "talk down to its audience" can this goal be achieved. In addition, the Coterie has and will continue to contribute to the body of plays available to young audiences on a national level by commissioning new plays or producing world premieres.
Program Success Monitored By Progress is monitored by opportunities for students to respond to productions, detailed in digital resource guides for groups developed for each production and audience surveys, the latter however being filled out by adults who purchase tickets and not the children or teens attending.
Examples of Program Success
The Coterie enjoyed an average paid capacity of 85% reaching over 77,900 individuals in the 2016-2017 season. This is a phenomenal percentage for any live performing arts organization. The season included family favorites, including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Garfield, and Elephant & Piggie's "We Are in a Play!", as well as works that pushed audience thinking, including The Nine Who Dared: Courage in Little Rock, No Talking, and Hana's Suitcase: A True Holocaust Mystery.
Description Participating schools select students for specialized dramatic writing sessions, taught by professional playwrights. Students learn to create settings, devise scenarios, create conflict and build characters. From the program, motivated students are invited to be on the Young Playwrights' Roundtable which meets semi-monthly throughout the school year with Artistic Director Jeff Church who developed the program at the Kennedy Center. In the spring, selected members have their work featured in the Young Playwrights' Festival in a staged reading by professional actors and directors.
Program Budget $45,500.00
Category Youth Development, General/Other Youth Development, General/Other
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years), At-Risk Populations,
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success All students participating in Reaching the Write Minds fill out a pre- and post survey following the workshops which ask them to assess how they benefited from the workshop in terms of writing dialogue versus narrative, understanding conflict, and detail in character development. All workshop facilitators nominate students for the Young Playwrights’ Roundtable which includes an interview with Artistic Director, Jeff Church, before admission into this free program.
Long-Term Success By offering an alternative writing style, not readily available in schools, students will be motivated to write and less intimidated by other writing styles (e.g. short stories, essays) if they achieve success at playwriting. For those who have a long term interest in playwriting, the workshops provide the beginning training in character development and conflict, the most essential elements in a play.  Workshop facilitators nominate promising students who are interviewed by Artistic Director Jeff Church for acceptance into the Young Playwrights' Roundtable that meets throughout the year at no cost to the student.
Program Success Monitored By

Twenty Reaching the Write Minds workshops were conducted in the 2016-2017 school year. Significant improvement occurred in the areas of confidence in creating interesting characters, understanding how to use conflict in plays and stores, and having an idea for a play. Success is monitored through Roundtable participation and feedback, as well as a survey of participants.

Examples of Program Success Members of the Young Playwrights’ Roundtable were selected from the in-school playwriting workshops and meet semi-monthly throughout the year with Artistic Director Jeff Church. A total of 37 students were members in the 2016-2017 season.
Collaborative program developed in 1993 between the Coterie, the School of Nursing at KU and the School of Medicine at UMKC. Customized culturally- and gender-specific dramatic workshops are conducted by two ethnically diverse young adults of different gender who reflect the population of the participating group. A combination of a professional actor and a medical profession student, accompanied by slides and music, present a story of their lives as HIV-infected youth.
Information regarding myths about HIV and STDs, its transmission and prevention, are infused into their story lines. An "educational transition" concludes the dramatic portrayals where the dramatic team discloses they are portraying HIV positive teens and are really a medical profession student and an actor. Trained as AIDS peer educators, the teams highlight key preventive information and conduct a Q&A following each presentation and remain after the open discussion session to privately answer students questions.
Program Budget $85,000.00
Category Health Care, General/Other Preventive Health
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years), At-Risk Populations,
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success
The Coterie has three main outcomes it works towards when delivering the DHEP program:
  1. To improve knowledge regarding HIV/STDs.
  2. To reduce the intentions of teenagers to practice high-risk behaviors.
  3. Deliver content to teenagers that is current, culturally-relevant, and believable.
Long-Term Success The impact of HIV & STDs is far-reaching and pervasive, with lasting effects on quality of health and life. Young people are at a greater risk for contracting STDs, often because they are hesitant to talk openly and honestly about their sex lives and have difficulty navigating misinformation about sexual health and wellness. Adolescence is a critical time for physical, social, and intellectual growth. Teenagers spend a significant amount of time in school, making it a prime place to foster discussion and knowledge around HIV/STD transmission, protection, and overall sexual health. Through strong education and conversation, we can increase knowledge of STDs and reduce the intentions of teenagers to practice high-risk behaviors that lead to the spread of HIV/STDs in Kansas City.
Program Success Monitored By Progress towards the above outcomes are assessed through an evaluation administered by the co-directors from the UMKC School of Medicine, Dr. Sawkin and Dr. Ellison. The evaluation consists of a post-survey administered on-site and measures knowledge regarding all three outcomes. The survey consists of 13 questions, and include close-ended questions using ordinal scales to measure gradations in the opinions, attitudes, and behaviors of the teens, as well as open ended questions which are analyzed qualitatively.
Examples of Program Success The 2016-2107 year marked a dramatic increase in the number of presentations requested and presenters (previously 32, now 40) who have elected to participate in the program, which is a testament to the training and impact DHEP. 8,032 teenagers across Kansas City received the Dramatic Health Education Project through 245 presentations. Teens spanned 8th-12th grades and participated at a diverse group of 59 sites, including schools, community agencies, and juvenile detention centers.
Description The Coterie School for Theatre Exploration conducts a variety of theater classes for youth age 3 - 18. Classes are held in satellite sites in four locations:  The Coterie, Longview Community College, Miller-Marley School of Voice and Dance, and MCC Maple Woods. On-site theatre classes are also offered throughout the school year. Classes range from themed classes, to acting classes from Beginning Acting to Advanced as well as Master Acting and Comedy Master classes which are by invitation only.
Program Budget $80,000.00
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Children's Theater Programs
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years), ,
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success Former Coterie Education Director, Nancy Marcy, was on a national task force sponsored by Theatre Communications Group and USA/TYA, to develop industry specific outcome measurement tools, which was completed in May 2007. New student learning measurements for theatre classes has since been developed and all teachers are required to have approved lesson plans for all classes. This has always been a difficult area because classes are divided between students who attend on an occasional basis (in many instances for child care purposes) and those who are specifically interested in a career in the theatre. The Coterie does distribute surveys to parents following all classes but they are limited to general satisfaction and are not a real measurement of the program's success.
Long-Term Success
  • Increase self-esteem and self-confidence for children and teens whose purpose in participating in theatre classes does not include a career in the theatre.
  • Provide students who wish to pursue a career in the theatre with process based training in technique including scene study, characterization, and auditioning.
Program Success Monitored By
Parent general satisfaction feedback.
Examples of Program Success The following comment by a parent is indicative of what the program hopes to achieve for children who do not necessarily want a career in acting. "I was highly impressed with what the children learned in a mere week. Their short performance on the last day of class exceeded my expectations. I thought the children did an excellent job - obviously the result of wonderful teachers! I would sign my child up for another class. The reason I wanted her to take this class is because I wanted her to feel more comfortable in front of others...not necessarily because she would be a good actor. I think a few more classes and she'll have a higher degree of confidence in front of her peers."
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Joette Pelster
Term Start Apr 1993
Experience Joette Pelster (Executive Director) joined the Coterie Theater in 1993 where she has produced over 70 productions with Artistic Director Jeff Church. She was also one of the primary creditors of  the Dramatic Health Education Project. Her background is in arts administration, with extensive community arts coalition experience. Prior to joining the Coterie, Joette was Executive Director of the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey. Her success at KCFAA included spearheading the creation of AileyCamp, a nationally replicated program in six cities. She took a one-year sabbatical from the Coterie to assist the start-up of the Gem theater. She also served as Marketing Director for the Folly Theater. Joette has a BA in Political Science from Creighton University and has completed two years of graduate work at the University of Nebraskas Theater Arts where she was a founding member of the Nebraskas Directors Theater. Joette has also served as a research assistant at the National Conf. of State Legislature in DC.   She is currently Treasurer of Theatre for Young Audiences/USA, a member of the Charlotte Street Foundation Board, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey.
Co-CEO/Executive Director
Term Start 0
Compensation Last Year
Former CEOs
Ms. Kim Ingels Jan 1983 - Jan 1992
Senior Staff
Title Artistic Director
Experience/Biography Jeff Church (Artistic Director) joined the Coterie Theater in 1990 and has produced or directed over 70 productions. Jeff has also directed and or written plays and musicals for the Kennedy Center Theater for Young People (where he also served as playwright in residence for five years), New Yorks Young Playwrights Inc., Seattle Children's Theater, The Denver Center Theater Company, Studio Theater of Richmond, Birmingham Childrens Theater, The Unicorn Theater and Woolly Mammoth Theater in Washington, D.C. Jeff was instrumental in creating citywide writing programs for the Coterie, and, with the KU Dept of Preventive Medicine, the Dramatic AIDS Education Project. Jeff is on the board of directors for Theatre Communications Group, and is a site reporter for the National Endowment for the Arts, for which he has also served as a panelist. His plays are published by Anchorage Press, I. E. Clark and Dramatic Publishing.
Title Development Director
Title Director of Marketing and Public Relations
Title Education Director
Title Business Operations Manager
Paid Full-Time Staff 10
Paid Part-Time Staff 4
Volunteers 50
Paid Contractors 200
Retention Rate 90%
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No

The Dramatic Health Education Project (DHEP) is a collaborative program with the School of Medicine at UMKC and the KU School of Nursing. Co-directors from each of the medical schools join The Coterie in the management and implementation of the program.

The Coterie's strong audience numbers are attributable in part to strong show selection and high artistic standards, but also to many of the meaningful community partnerships we foster throughout our season. Between our mainstage and educational programs, there are several entry points for community to support our work that cover a variety of interest areas. One example of this community support revolved around The Coterie’s production of Hana’s Suitcase. The  partnering organization was The Midwest Center for Holocaust Education (MCHE), which provided hosted a training for teachers to equip them on teaching the Holocaust. MCHE also co-hosted a reception with The Coterie for members of the Jewish Community, following the performance on National Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The Coterie partnered with Wayside Waifs for our production of Garfield, including animal meet & greets and free post-performance conversations led by Wayside’s Humane Educator, teaching audiences of all ages how to practice empathy.
National Endowment for the Arts - Partner1986
Theatre Communications Groups - Constituent Theatre1993
Actor's Equity Association1998
One of Top Five Best Theatres for Young Audiences in the United StatesTime Magazine2004
Outstanding Achievement in the ArtsMissouri Arts Council2004
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? No
Board Chair
Board Chair Mike Enos
Term Jan 2016 to Dec 2018
Board Members
Sara Anthony Blue Cross Blue Shield
Amanda Beaver KPMG LLP
Mike Enos Community Volunteer
Marisa Fleenor Haith and Co.
Heather Freund C3
Amy Graham Community Volunteer
Michael Hagan B&B Theaters
Kara Harmon Community Volunteer
Colleen Hochberg Hallmark Cards
Kayden Howard Kansas City Southern
Brisa Izaguirre Wolfe Polsinelli
Karen Luchinsky Community Volunteer
Greg Oborny Olathe District Schools
Jaleeza Owens People Admin
Lori Riddle Linden West Elementary
Scott Stackhouse UMKC
Theresa Stoker Community Volunteer
Scott Taylor Miller & Company P.C.
Kristina Thompson American Century Investments
Lisa Veglahn Hospice Foundation of America
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 18
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 6
Female 14
Unspecified 0
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Standing Committees
Advisory Board / Advisory Council
Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)
Advisory Board Members
John Aisenbrey Stinson, Mag & Fizzell
Bruce Allen
Lydia Butler Euronet Worldwide
Martha Crider
Don Dagenais Lathrop & Gage
Olivia Dorsey KMBC-TV
Cathy Doyal Community Volunteer
Jeff Elliot
Barbara Fay Retired
Sandy Geduldig
Laura Hall
Bob Inderman Parris Communications, Inc.
Vivien Jennings Rainy Day Books
Susan Johnson Andrews McMeel Universal
Marianne Kilroy Professional Photographer
Barbara Landes Retired
Jeanne Sosland Community Volunteer
Mindy Stewart
Lou Jane Temple
Greg Vranicar Diocese of Kansas City & St. Joseph
Karen Weltner Community Volunteer
Randy Williams Kansas City Art Institute
Fiscal Year Start Sept 01, 2017
Fiscal Year End Aug 31, 2018
Projected Revenue $1,545,994
Projected Expenses $1,537,259
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FYE 8/31/2016, 2015, 2014: Financial data reported using IRS Form 990.
  • Foundation/corporate revenue line items may include individual contributions.
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$46,388$32,249$55,930
Individual Contributions------
Investment Income, Net of Losses$271$191$438
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$76,252$96,874$119,736
Revenue In-Kind$0$0$0
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$873,345$884,804$883,706
Administration Expense$364,763$290,963$266,330
Fundraising Expense$66,592$60,061$84,613
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.991.010.98
Program Expense/Total Expenses67%72%72%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue15%13%15%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$267,331$278,337$237,354
Current Assets$223,907$238,399$195,176
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$92,951$94,211$61,719
Total Net Assets$174,380$184,126$175,635
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities2.412.533.16
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountShubert Foundation $55,000Shubert Foundation $50,000 --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountRichard J. Stern Foundation $27,500Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts $30,000 --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountCrown Center Redevelopment Corps $27,000Crown Center Redevelopment Corporation $27,000 --
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years No
Organization Name Coterie, Inc. dba Coterie Theatre
Address 2450 Grand Blvd, Suite 144
Kansas City, MO 641082520
Primary Phone (816) 474-6785229
CEO/Executive Director Joette Pelster
Board Chair Mike Enos
Year of Incorporation 1979