LA: Chad Coe

What happens to our students after college? In this series we will look at Hope College alumni taking on the real world in no other city than Los Angeles.

To begin our series we will start with Hope alum, Chad Coe, a 2004 graduate with big dreams. We are so proud to see his dreams becoming a reality.   

Chad Coe made his Victory Theatre debut this fall in the World Premiere Parody based of Hedda Gabler – Resolving Hedda.  He is just coming off the Ovation nominated West Coast Premiere of The Lyons at The Road TheatreChad was also in the original cast of The Rose and the Rime at The Kennedy Center. His Los Angeles theatre credits include: Dracula Directed by Ken Sawyer, World Premieres of The Red Room Directed James Mellon and The Light Bulb w/ Stephanie Powers. He can be seen on TV recurring on Colony(USA Network) and Matador (EL Rey Network)

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Coe was originally recruited to Hope by the basketball team. However, the summer before freshman year Coe became ill and was not able to join the team in the fall. During this time, Coe was inspired by his brother, a student at NYU, who was shooting a feature film. Excited about a new passion, Coe quickly joined Hope’s theatre program in hopes of chasing a similar dream to his brother’s.

“It was kind of a serendipitous moment for me,” Coe explains.

He acted in plays in elementary and high school but when he took his first acting class with Professor Jean Bahle, Coe knew theatre was the right fit.

Though Coe actually graduated with a communication degree from Hope, he was a huge part of the theatre program. From his favorite role in Hope’s devised piece, The Rose and the Rime, where he and the cast performed in Washington D.C. on the Kennedy Center stage for Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Coe threw himself into theatre productions and took every acting class the department had to offer. Coe is thankful for the technique he learned at Hope that served as a foundation for taking his craft out into the working world.

In the midst of his TV and theatre career in L.A., Coe began to lose the “why” in acting career. What was he doing all this for anyway? Last spring, Coe was cast in the Nicky Silver play, The Lyons. The play is a dark comedy about family relationships. The production was in an intimate venue in the city and ran for a 5 months- A long run in the city of L.A.

  

What draws Coe to L.A. is the creativity surrounding him. Need a drummer? Ask the neighbor. Need a graphic designer? Ask the barista. Creativity is wheeling in and out of every conversation and the collaborative opportunities are never ending.

“What is it inherently inside of you that’s bringing you here? If you work and work and work, you get better but you have to really strip down and reveal who you are.”

To follow Chad Coe and his career in L.A as he continues his work check out his website! www.chadmcoe.com

We are proud of our Hope alums and the contribution they are making to the theatre scene in Los Angeles.

Faculty Summer Series: Daina Robins

Daina Robins, Professor of Theatre and Chair of the Theatre Department, has co-led a May term to Ireland for the past four years. Professor emeritus John Tammi led the first Ireland May term in 1996, But now Robins joins him as they take a group of students through winding cobblestone streets and incredible cliff side views. The aspect Robins loves most about leading with Tammi is the fact that he is a wonderful storyteller and has a terrific sense of humor, two things that blend right in with Irish culture.

The traditional classroom is transformed into a mystical, magical, foggy fairytale as students learn about the culture by interacting with it day in and day out.The students pile into 9-person vans and travel throughout the countryside in order to soak in everything Ireland has to offer. The trip takes you through Dublin, Belfast, Galway, and other small towns that are filled with quaint pubs, gorgeous landscapes, and rich history.

Even though Robins and Tammi have theatre backgrounds, you do not need to be a theatre major or even interested in theatre in order to partake in this incredible opportunity. Conversations spring from the rich cultural heritage that is woven into the roots of the country. Conversations of politics, history, poetry, religion, people, and politics evolve in the vans between visiting historic sites, museums, and theatres.

Primarily built as a Senior Seminar, the Irish Culture and Celtic Wisdom May term culminates in students writing a life view paper. The class gives students access to the Irish people and culture and prompts them to ask deeper questions of themselves.

 “Immersing into a culture gives you the opportunity to reflect back on your own life: What are your values? What is your belief system? What is your relationship to faith, religion, politics, land, family, urban life, art?”

This term is three plus weeks of self-exploration through the study of Celtic culture, Irish people, and the way others live and breathe the same way we do on the other side of the ocean.

Faculty Summer Series: Richard Perez

Professor Richard Perez as Director of Water and Power with the Urban Theatre Company of Chicago

Professor Perez, known as Rich, quirky and kind, radiated a welcoming, creative presence as I took a seat across from him in his office. There is no question this Hope College professor is determined to bring diversity and edge to the program.

Before he began teaching at Hope in 2013, Rich worked as Associate Artistic Director at Chicago Dramatists. His previous experience includes actor training with Uta Hagen in New York, leadership of the Bloomington Playwrights Project in Indiana for seven years, and a season as an acting apprentice at Actors Theatre of Louisville. (Just to name a few credentials.)

With a passion for inclusion, Rich often dedicates his time and efforts to produce diverse, thought provoking theatre and this summer was no exception. As a part of the Latinx community, Rich found the perfect project to continue achieving that work.

This past May, Rich went to Chicago to direct Water and Power with the Urban Theatre Company (UTC) This play, by Richard Montoya, was originally set in Los Angeles. In order to make it more relevant to a local audience, Montoya adapted the script to take place in Chicago for the UTC production. The theatre rests in a cozy little storefront in the middle of Humboldt Park, a predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood.

Water and Power grapples with the questions of politics, power, and what it means to be “good”, in a society that often blurs the meaning of those words.  

Rich stands behind the notion that “in order to diversify the audience, you must diversify the plays.” As a man who grew up in California of Mexican heritage, and has lived in a variety of places such as New York, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan, Rich has encountered many cultures in his communities. “We enter relationships with preconceived ideas of who certain people are. Perhaps it would be easier to get along if instead we sought out our similarities instead of our differences.”

This season at Hope College, Rich is directing the play Human Error; a complex comedy that wrestles with the complexities of divisiveness between progressives and conservatives. Rich ended our interview stating, “If nothing else, theatre should initiate lively conversation, long after you leave the playhouse.” For more details about our production of Human Error click here

Faculty Summer Series: Michelle Bombe

We our proud of our faculty working professionally during their summers. In this series we meet the faculty and hear about their work!

Walking into her new office, you are greeted with an eclectic, ceramic puppet tauntingly hung with strings from the wall. Colors dance around the room and Hope’s very own Director of Theatre sits behind her desk.

Michelle Bombe, Professor of Theatre, Director of Theatre, and Resident Costume Designer (Whoa titles!) obviously wears many hats in the Department. Her hard work and dedication to the craft of theatre is what keeps the spark alive and possible for many of her students. Along with her roles during the school year, Michelle has had an active professional career with 10 summers at Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, 1 summer at Theatre at Monmouth and a total of 18 summer seasons at Hope Summer Repertory Theatre. HSRT is a professional theatre company right here on Hope’s campus. This past season, she designed the costumes for Working.

Michelle enjoyed designing a production sharing “real stories that opened up different and diverse ways of thinking” for Holland Michigan.

What made season 46 unique for Michelle was the fact that her son was offered an acting internship at HSRT just like she had been 33 years prior for season 13 at HSRT. Griffin is a senior theatre major at Hope College this year and thought it was “cool to be in a theatre [he] had looked up to [his] whole life.”

Michelle fell in love with Holland and theatre at HSRT.  She has been on the faculty at Hope since 1991. What keeps her grounded in theatre is the fact she is “in love with the idea that, as a designer, [she] is creat[ing] the world of a play.” Griffin fell hard for theatre as well, with the help of his mother, by exposing him to varieties of productions of different genres. He pursues theatre because he “loves bringing stories to life and inspiring others to tell their stories.”

We are so glad the two of them share such a deep love and passion for the arts!