Meet Billy Elliot: COCA (St. Louis, MO)

    The Center of Creative Arts, known in St. Louis and internationally as COCA, will present Billy Elliot The Musical (BETM) as its summer musical, both in person on stage (from July 30 to August 1, 2021) and it will also be presented virtually via a stream of the production (available from July 30 to August 5, 2021).

    COCA’s story starts in 1986 with a small group united by friendship, idealism, and an entrepreneurial spirit.  Together, they transformed the recently vacated historic B’nai Amoona Synagogue into a community-based visual and performing arts center.  The idea: through the arts, COCA would serve as a bridge to connect people.

    COCA began as an arts incubator with studios, a gallery, and a theater in the synagogue’s former sanctuary.  More than 30 small arts groups moved in, but much of the building remained empty.  Enter COCA Founding Executive Director Stephanie Riven whose first task was to develop classes in the performing and visual arts — programs that would eventually become the core of the organization.

    Since those humble beginnings, COCA has grown into the fourth largest multidisciplinary community arts center in the country.  Under the leadership of Executive Director Kelly Pollock since 2010, COCA has expanded its reach and impact through innovative new programs that push boundaries, all aimed at building St. Louis’ creative capacity.

    COCA serves:

    • Dedicated students in dance, voice, theatre, and art and design
    • Recreational learners across arts disciplines
    • Area schools through its COCAedu program
    • Business leaders through its COCAbiz program
    • Community members through its performances and exhibitions

    More information about each of the above can be found on COCA’s website at:

    Billy Elliot The Musical

    The BETM production at COCA will feature some of the best triple-threat talent in St. Louis with COCA’s student performers, local apprentice actors, and regional professional performers all coming together under the direction of Nancy Bell for an uplifting and energetic theatre experience. 

    The in person live shows will be held in COCA’s Catherine B. Berges Theatre (pictured above), a state-of-the-art, 454-seat house with two tiers of seating.  This modern marvel features the latest in stage technology.

    THE BETM Set

    The cast will be led by Declan Ryan, who will be making his debut in the title role.

    To learn more about Declan, click on the Billy Profiles button (below) to be taken to his  profile. 
    billy profiles

    To see a complete listing of the rest of the COCA cast, just click on the Cast Information button.

    cast info


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