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KC’s Coterie Theatre’s Joette Pelster Dies At Age 71



KC's Coterie Theatre's Joette Pelster Dies At Age 71

The Director of Kansas City’s Coterie dies after announcing her retirement next year. For the unversed, Joette Pelster was leading the campaign for youth theater since the year 1993.

Recently, she happened to announce her retirement plans and passed away in a week, on November 25.

She spent almost three decades of her life leading Coterie Theatre. The theater mainly catered to shows for the youth. All those interested in knowing more about the life and career of the lady can read on.

The End Of An Era For Youth Theatre In Kansas City

According to the team at Coterie Theatre, Joette Pelster peacefully passed away in her sleep. It had been just one week since she announced her retirement in January 2023. She had wanted to retire before the pandemic hit the globe.

KC's Coterie Theatre's Joette Pelster Dies At Age 71

However, her plans got delayed. However, she saw everyone spring back into action after a lull of two years and then decided to take the plunge. The organization made huge profits during her time. The annual budget sprang from $600,000 to $1.6 million.

She was also responsible for increasing the community reach of the theater. Moreover, she also took a lot of interest in organizing drama classes, school programs, and community projects. For those who do not know, the theater was founded in 1979.

The show house has already hosted more than 350 shows for all its patrons as well. Moreover, the show house catered to 97,000 people annually. That is quite a feat for a theater in Kansas City.

Joette Pelster joined the group in 1993. Before joining the show house, Pelster worked at Folly Theatre, as a Marketing Director. She also happened to hold the position of the first Executive Director at Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey.

During her term at the latter, she also launched the popular campaign, Ailey Camp in 1989. The other camps emulated the same business model.

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Pelster’s Career At Coterie And Other Engagements

Pelster took a break from her stint at Coterie, to revive a dying theater group as well. She worked hand-in-hand with Pat Jordan to restore Vine district’s Gem Theater from the doldrums in the year 1997.

When Pelster joined Coterie, she faced a different set of challenges, unlike the one presented by the pandemic. She had been entrusted to make the theater viable for an adult audience group.

She set the standard operating procedures at Coterie. Pelster always believed that one should follow set rules, no matter what age group they are serving.

The Coterie Theatre is a renowned professional actors’ theater. It hosts both classic and contemporary shows.

The company is pretty organized today, with trained people working and managing the shows as well as the backend operations. Two decades back, in the year 2004, Times Magazine named it among the top theaters for the young audience.

In her career with Coterie, Pelster worked with Jeff Church, on several projects. In the last 25 years, Coterie has already hosted more than 50 top shows that also found pride of place at the New Victory Theatre in New York City and also The Kennedy Center in Washington.

In the mid-90s, Pelster also hit the headlines for showcasing play on banned books. It also helped her to cement her status in the organization and also the theater community as a whole.

A succession plan is already in place, although none have disclosed it yet. Joette Pelster’s death comes as a shock to the Coterie family and also to the theater community as a whole.

Everyone is grieving the top boss’s death. A remembrance ceremony has been organized on December 19, 2022, for the beloved.

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