Meet the Artists, Kendra Ball & Brissa Lopez!
Many of the performers you see on our mainstage here at The Rose Theater are teaching artists. They not only offer their talents as actors, dancers, and singers to our productions on our stage, but throughout the year they also work with young artists and students all over the Omaha community teaching them about the theater arts. Teaching Artists Kendra Ball and Brissa Lopez play roles in Matilda the Musical and also support younger performers who are in the cast. They also teach drama classes and direct young actors in our Rose Theater summer camps! We asked them to tell us a little bit more about their work on stage and behind the scenes.
Q: What is a “Teaching Artist”? What are some of the things you do as a part of your work as a teaching artist at The Rose?
Kendra: A Teaching Artist utilizes their artistic craft within the classes that they teach and provides educational support for their artistic ventures. As a Teaching Artist at The Rose, I bring my performing, playwriting, and directing experience into workshops that support core curriculum or teach theater skills. I also direct youth productions and perform on the mainstage, employing my educational leadership to support youth performers.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your roles in Matilda the Musical, on stage and backstage. What is a rehearsal like for you? What will your job be like during a performance?
Brissa: I play “Mrs. Phelps,” the librarian! Mrs. Phelps is one of the few kind adult mentors that Matilda has in her life. In addition to playing Mrs. Phelps I am also an Education Representative, responsible for assuring the student actors are well-equipped to thrive in their assignments.
Kendra: I play “The Acrobat,” a “Big Kid,” and other ensemble roles. I am also the Dance Captain for Matilda the Musical. My rehearsals in the beginning of the process were very music and choreography heavy; I received my vocal parts, learned all tracks of choreography, conducted some choreography review sessions, and talked with the artistic team about certain ensemble challenges. During the performance run of the show, I may review spacing for dances and clean choreography that has become messy in order to uphold the integrity of the artistic team’s vision for the production.
Q: There are many young performers in this production of Matilda the Musical. What are some of the ways that you help them to be successful as they are performing in a main stage musical at The Rose Theater?
Kendra: We provide a professional example for the young performers, sharing our personal tips for being an actor, as well as answering any questions they have about the rehearsal process or proper procedures when you are in a show at The Rose. Doubling as the Dance Captain for the youth performers means I have learned their choreography tracks in addition to my own. If performers missed a rehearsal, I would find a time to catch them up on their steps.
Brissa: I am responsible for mentoring young performers, checking them in & helping answer any questions they may have with music, blocking or character development. I also lead warm ups & ensemble activities!
Q: Is it difficult to be an actor and a teacher at the same time? What is the best part of your job? What is the most challenging part?
Brissa: It can be challenging at time when I am in a scene and cannot be backstage to help students be successful. My favorite part is mentoring the students off and on stage. I’ve made wonderful connections & am proud of their hard work in this production!
Kendra: I love to witness the growth of the young performers. It can be challenging to juggle different roles within a production process, but I’m so grateful to be able to empower youth to share their voices and talents and support them as they explore their gifts of storytelling!
THANKS SO MUCH for sharing your work with us, Kendra and Brissa!