Kendra Chérie Grey is a true Renaissance woman.
Between teaching theater for Bossier Parish, composing music, taking care of her daughter Chai, and
helping others find their love of travel, Grey is focused on challenging her community with thought-provoking stage plays. Basically, she doesn’t want to do what’s been done before.
“Something’s pulling me,” said 29-year-old Grey. “There’s still work to be done here. I still need to touch some people. I meet different people every day.”
That’s important for Grey. She wants to expand her “crowd” even further and says this last year has been “eye opening.” With opportunities elsewhere, she’s found Shreveport-Bossier City is where she wants to make her impact.
Grey is a history and theater graduate of Louisiana State University Shreveport. Born and raised here, she’s spent the last five years crafting an arts community built around African-American creatives. That community, as she’s come to call it, is Lumpy Grits Artistry (LGA). The name is derived from a poem written by her friend and co-founder, Chryshelle Jennings.
“It’s all about enduring fortitude and having grit,” Grey said. “That’s what these people have.”
Grey has always been drawn to the theater, citing her first role in fourth grade as Pharaoh Queen Hatshepsut. She was in a summer program and had always been in music in elementary school, but it was this role that opened her eyes to the artistry of the stage. She continued to pursue music through high school (a Caddo Magnet alum) and even took up cosmetology. It wasn’t until college that she realized the stage was where she was meant to be. Now she teaches others what she’s learned, and for her, that’s the greatest gift she can give her students.
“All of them aren’t going to Broadway. They’re not going to L.A. or pursuing lm,” she said. “But they’re discovering what they’re able to do and what they’re capable of doing when they’re working with me.”
Grey is now a theater teacher in Bossier Parish for the Talented Arts Program where she works with second through fifth graders. She said it all starts with history, but from there she has developed curriculums around costuming, lighting, playwriting and, of course, acting.
When she’s not teaching, she’s working with LGA for its annual production. This year she’s tackling the classical Greek play Lysistrata, a comedy by Aristophanes written in 411 BC about women ending the Peloponnesian War by denying all men in their land any sex.
“It’s not a show your grandma’s going to,” Grey said, who made sure to mention this show specifically is 21 and up. “I want to show (people) where comedy comes from, where it originates, even if that includes semi-nude art.