Q&A With Local Actor Jessica Knotts

Apr 27, 2024 | 2024 Articles, Lorie Lewis Ham, Theatre

by Lorie Lewis Ham

We used to do a lot of local actor profiles early on, but we haven’t done as many in the last several years. It’s not that there aren’t still a lot of talented local actors out there, because there are, but we have expanded into so many other areas over the years that we don’t have as much space for the profiles as we used to. But now and then we still get the chance to sit down and chat with a local actor and it’s always a lot of fun. We have been trying to connect with Jessica Knotts for a while now, but between our busy schedules, it hadn’t happened until just recently. I have enjoyed seeing Jessica on stage many times as she is a very talented actress, so I am happy to share this interview with you.

Jessica and her family moved from Ventura County to the Oakhurst/Bass Lake/North Fork area, in 1993. She graduated from Yosemite High School in 2003 and was living in Fresno full-time by 2004.

Jessica Knotts

KRL: What is your current day job?

Jessica: I am an acting coach at Matilda Torres High School in Madera, and I work in the Box Office at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theatre.

KRL: When did you first get involved in acting and why?

Jessica: In 1999 at North Fork Elementary. It’s a tiny school, we had maybe 50 kids in the whole 8th grade. Robyn Flory, who doubled as the choir and theatre teacher, and our English teacher Mr. Flippen, had the entire 8th grade class participate in a production. Everyone had to audition, it was part of our grade. I wanted to work backstage, I was terrified of public speaking. They cast me as the lead in Seven Brides for Dracula, and I fell in love with performance art.

KRL: What was your first part?

Jessica: I can’t remember the title or the character name, but it was a show I co-wrote and starred in in the 4th grade. It was about a group of young adults making their way West as part of a wagon train. Hahaha! We were studying the Gold Rush at that point in school. Our teacher helped us find costumes and rehearse, and we performed it for all of the 4th grade classes.

KRL: What are some of the shows you have been in, and the parts you have played and with what companies?

Jessica on stage

Jessica: I have been performing with Good Company Players for almost 20 years now! So many wonderful productions, The Crucible, Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution, two different Sherlock Holmes adventures, and many, many more. I helped run a small non-profit theatre for a few years, Fresno Soap Co., and got to do two amazing shows with Fresno City College, Silent Sky and The Little Prince.

KRL: Do you have a favorite type of show to be in?

Jessica on stage

Jessica: I love historical pieces. I am a sucker for a great costume.

KRL: What do you like best about acting?

Jessica: Living inside the stories.

KRL: What is the hardest?

Jessica: Memorizing my lines!

KRL: Future goals and dreams?

Jessica: I would love to one day do a show at the Pasadena Playhouse. My grandfather graduated from there in 1957 or ’58, when it was still an acting school. It would mean a lot to work on the same stage he did.

KRL: Heroes?

Jessica on stage

Jessica: My dad, my grandma, and my siblings. There is too much to write, but they are/were the strongest, most amazing humans.

KRL: What do you feel has helped you the most in growing as an actor?

Jessica: Not being afraid to ‘look stupid.’

KRL: What advice would you have for someone wanting to get into acting?

Jessica: Acting is a team sport. Always show respect for everyone you are working with. Every single person, from the janitor, to the sound engineer, to the star of the show, are absolutely vital pieces of the production as a whole. And listen to your directors! Hahaha!

KRL: Any funny and/or inspirational stories to share?

Jessica: Every show I have ever been a part of has been inspirational, all of the different people I’ve worked with, the stories I got to tell . . . nothing teaches empathy quite like trying to literally walk in someone else’s shoes.

KRL: What is your dream role?

Jessica: I’m not an excellent singer, but I would kill to be able to do Into the Woods. any role, I don’t care, I just love that show so much.

KRL: Is it hard balancing a job and acting?

Jessica: Oh, gosh, yes. Most theatre shows are done at night, meaning only day jobs. It makes for a lot of late nights and early mornings.

KRL: Hobbies?

Jessica: I love to read. Books are the best thing in the whole world!

KRL: Anything else you would like to add?

Jessica: Support live theatre! 🙂

If you love theatre, be sure to check out Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, and also on podbean.

Check out more theatre reviews & other local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section. You can also find more theatre coming up on KRL’s Local Theatre event page.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and a contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet. Lorie’s latest mystery novel, One of Us, is set in the Tower District of Fresno and the world of community theatre!<


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