20 Under 30: Leah Jenkins

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.

Photo Kevin O'Riley

Education Director, Springfield Regional Arts Council

Born: January 18, 1982


Scan a list of local plays, musicals and artistic events in Springfield over the last two years. Now, pick one at random. Chances are good you’ll find Leah Jenkins name (or her maiden name, Hamilton) somewhere in the program.

Leah has taken the local arts scene by storm since moving back to her hometown, after studying at the Royal Scottish Academy in Glasgow, in 2006. Her first acting gig, the female lead in The Full Monty, turned heads (and introduced her to her now-husband, the Skinny Improv’s Jeff Jenkins). But opera is her passion, and Leah soon found herself working part-time at the Springfield Regional Arts Council. A few months later, the head council’s education job—and oversight of programs like Arts in the Park, Movies at Founders Park, and others—was hers.

But that’s only a portion of the time she devotes to the arts. Since Monty, Leah has participated in a number of Springfield Regional Opera and Springfield Little Theatre productions, served as vocal director for SLT’s just-finished Tick, Tick… Boom!, teaches 8th graders for the Southwest Missouri Children’s Choir, and organizes weekly Operazzi programs at Nonna’s for the opera. All this while holding down a gig with Octarium, a Kansas City-based touring vocal group (she drives to K.C. every weekend several months out of the year for rehearsals). She also donates her time as a committee member for the city’s Red Wagon Children’s Coalition, and the Chamber’s The Network.

The setup is perfect, Leah says, because it allows her to have two sides: Educator by day, performer by night. “Performing all the time is too stressful,” she says. “It’s very self-indulgent. I’m glad to do something for the community.”

Once only sentimentally attached to Springfield, Leah hopes she’s here to stay and has dreams of—along with Jeff—helping the local arts scene develop into something truly amazing.

 

 

Randomness

 

 

What’s your favorite:

Movie?
Doctor Zhivago

TV Show?
Larry King Live

Band?
Rufus Wainright or The Pogues

Childhood cartoon character?
She-Ra

Sports team?
KU Jayhawks!

Adult beverage?
Red Wine (Malbec)

Local bar AND restaurant (name both)?
Gallery Bistro

Classical composer?
Ralph Vaughnn Williams or Beethoven

Local arts event (be honest)?
Even though I work the festival, Artsfest is always amazing. It brings about such a great community spirit and really highlights the amazing talent we have here in our region, visual, performing arts, non profits, etc. Also, I love The Springfield Playhouse shows at The Skinny Improv. They are so imaginative and unique. It makes me feel like a kid again. I truly love all of the local theatres and performance groups as well as First Friday Art Walk and am happy to live in a community that supports them.

 

 

Questions

What’s the first website you check every day?
Yahoo! News

One night, no consequences, whom do you seduce?
My husband or John C. Reilly, but they're almost the same if you think about it :)

What’s the best thing about being younger than 30?
You can still use your college student I.D. Card from 6 years ago at the movies or when traveling for a great discount.

 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More Articles Like This

November Speaker Series 2017

November Speaker Series: MetaMythic. The eFactory. November 30, 2017. Photos by Brad Zweerink.

Blue Ribbons & Red Flags 2017

The Network's Blue Ribbons & Red Flags community focus report. The Community Foundation of the Ozarks. November 29, 2017. Photos by Brad Zweerink.

Rosie Turns One!

Rosie turns one. The eFactory. November 6, 2017. Photos by Brad Zweerink.
Edit Module
Edit Module
Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Sign up for our newsletters Follow us on Instagram

Edit ModuleShow Tags

  1. Why Pickleball is the New “It” Sport
    The number of places to play pickleball has doubled since 2010. Digital Director Dayle Duggins...
  2. 50 Things Every 417-Lander Must Do
    When do you know you’ve become fully initiated into your home? You can start by trying all the...
  3. Beneath the Surface: Controversy on the Buffalo National River
    Since C&H Hog Farms opened its 2,500-sow operation in the Buffalo National River watershed in...
  4. Inside Innovative Dental’s Spa-Like Space
    Innovative Dental’s remodeled office in Southeast Springfield goes beyond the usual sterile...
  5. Get Killer Ramen at Skully’s Food Truck in Springfield
    Skully’s food truck offers fresh, Asian-fusion fare in an atmosphere that can’t be beat.
Edit Module
Edit Module