058: Prepare and connect. Actor Lakeisha Coffey shares her theatre wisdom and her gratitude.

Want acting tips from one of the Triangle’s most well-known actors? Actor Lakeisha Coffey reveals her process, how to audition, and how she finds her character. (Guess what? She played Durham civil rights activist Ann Atwater twice — have you seen the movie trailer for Best of Enemies, the upcoming film with Taraji Henson? That’s Lakeisha’s part!) We discuss what it was like to take the final bow with Derrick Ivey on Manbites Dog Theater’s stage when the beloved company closed after 31 seasons. Again and again in this conversation, you’ll hear Lakeisha emphasize the power of supportive relationships, connection and gratitude in theatre-making.

Lakeisha Coffey made her first professional appearance in Durham at Manbites Dog Theatre in The Overwhelming. She’s performed in many Manbites productions since then, including the company’s farewell production of Wakey Wakey directed by Jeff Storer. Lakeisha has worked locally with theatre companies such as Forty/Am, Bartlett Theater, Justice Theatre Project, Burning Coal, Raleigh Little Theatre and Little Green Pig. She was part of the creative development Team for the inaugural Bull City Black Theatre Festival held in March 2018 in Durham, NC. Lakeisha is also a founding member of Bulldog Ensemble Theater.

Mentions: 007: Actor Thaddeus Edwards reframes Vanya…and failure…and life

This episode is brought to you by the Soapboxers, the official patrons of the Artist Soapbox. If you like these episodes and want more, get on the Soapbox! This episode was recorded at Shadowbox Studio. Artist Soapbox theme music by Bart Matthews. Additional audio editing by Merrybelle Park Productions.

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Time break-down:

[0:00] Episode intro and Lakeisha’s bio.

[1:51] How and when did Lakeisha start acting in the Triangle?

[4:35] What was little Lakeisha like?

[5:35] Lakeisha tells us about her favorite roles

[7:10] What was it like to play a role more than once?

[9:05] Lakeisha shares her thoughts about how casts come together

[12:01] How did Lakeisha approach playing the incredible Ann Atwater?

[15:39] Preparing for an audition

[17:14] Lakeisha tells us what it was like teaching an acting workshop for Bull City Black Theater Festival and shares tips for actors

[23:45] Challenges and misconceptions Lakeisha has faced

[26:18] The emotional investment when approaching a role

[29:47] After a long history with Manbites Dog Theatre, what was it like to say goodbye while doing multiple shows during their final season?

[34:52] What’s next for Lakeisha? (Spoiler alert: She’s writing a play!)

[38:53] Thanks and sign-off

Artist Soapbox podcast is a listener supported podcast. If you listen, please support the podcast by sharing episodes with friends and contributing via our Patreon campaign.

If you have feedback, questions, suggestions, please email artistsoapbox@gmail.com. FEEDBACK IS EVERYTHING TO ASBX.


  • Appreciating the fact that you have this opportunity helps to make you more of a sponge.
  • The actors cannot take stage, the director cannot direct, there is nothing to light, to sound, or put costumes on if the writer does not put those words on that paper…honor that. Honor every word as written.
  • Acting is more than just memorizing lines. You have to have it in your body. You have to care about the story and if you’re just memorizing lines and reciting them, you’re not doing that.

Artist Soapbox

Artist Soapbox is a platform for original scripted audio fiction and an opportunity for artists to discuss their creative work in their own voices. We do this through our interview podcast, our blog, and original audio dramas.

Artist Soapbox is an anti-racist organization. We believe Black Lives Matter. In addition, as a podcast production company, ASBX has signed the Equality in Audio Pact on Broccoli Content.

Artist Soapbox is more than just a podcast.

We lead writers groups, accountability support, workshops, and events. We produce and create audio dramas too! Listen to the Master BuilderThe New Colossus Audio Drama, Jesus Pancake, Declaration of Love, and ASBX Shorts. Stay tuned to hear about more projects written by the Soapbox Audio Collective Writers’ Group.

Audio Dramas

Jesus (1400 × 1400 px)-2

Jesus Pancake

Jesus Pancake is the newest scripted audio fiction series from Artist Soapbox. Nine episodes of zany dark comedy.


The New Colossus

The New Colossus Audio Drama is a totally unhinged dark comedy reboot of Anton Chekhov’s classic play, THE SEAGULL.


Master Builder

This audio drama was adapted from Tamara’s 2018 stage play produced by Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern and inspired by Henrick Ibsen’s classic, The Master Builder published in 1892.


Declaration of Love

Co-producers Aurelia Belfield and Tamara Kissane of Artist Soapbox commissioned eleven NC playwrights to craft short audio scenes based on the prompt “Declaration of Love.”


ASBX Shorts

ASBX Shorts are six short audio fiction pieces created and produced by North Carolina artists. Artist Soapbox Shorts were specifically contributed by the artists to aid in fundraising and to get everyone excited about Jesus Pancake, our new audio fiction series in development.

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