Temple University, MFA
Southern Oregon University, BFA
email: jenifer.cote [at] sonomaacademy.org
phone: (707) 636-2015
Jen Coté has been the director of Sonoma Academy’s theater program since 2012. She loves theater because it is a powerful way to tell a story. Jen believes that theater should make you think about the world and question humanity. Before joining our community, she studied theater and received her BFA in Oregon and her MFA in Philadelphia, and worked in New York in casting with Broadway producers. She then moved to California to teach theater to high school and college students.
Her favorite classes to teach at Sonoma Academy are Contemporary Theater—because it allows the students to work with new, interesting pieces in the theater world—and Studio Production because it combines acting with design and producing. Jen’s favorite moments as a teacher are when students enter her Foundation Arts Theater class and find a hidden talent in theater, whether that be directing, acting, or design. She encourages students to continue with theater after this class by taking part in the productions and going to see live productions. Each spring, Jen creates a musical with her Production and Design Studio class. Rehearsals for this production are held during the school day, which creates a unique opportunity for students who normally cannot be in a play due to sports or other extracurricular activities, to be a part of this play.
In her free time, Jen acts in local commercials and plays, which she believes make her a better director, as it puts her in the shoes of her students. "I love teaching theater here because our community both gives students the freedom to do plays that cause the audience to think and feel the material without being censored, and celebrates and nurtures the arts." Jen hopes that her role in the youth theater community will create an appreciation for the arts, both within the Sonoma Academy community and beyond.