Humans of the Arvada Center


Sophia Koop and Brenna Clendaniel

Best friends find they’re just better together

NOTE: As we look to reopen our doors and reignite the arts, one thing becomes clear: The key to our creativity is our people. Songs are not sung, sets are not built, choreography is not taught, and canvases are not painted on their own. In our ongoing “Humans of the Arvada Center” series, we are highlighting the heartbeat of the Center: The people who make up the Arvada Center family.

By Leslie Simon and John Moore

Brenna Clendaniel and Sophia KoopBrenna Clendaniel and Sophia Koop came to work in the Arvada Center box office at around the same time three years ago. What could have turned into a rivalry instead was the beginning of a best friendship as they have both risen through the ranks of the Arvada Center’s development department: Brenna as Corporate Relations Manager and Sophia as Advancement Assistant.

“I gotta tell you, friends really help get you through some of these crazy times,” Sophia said.

They come from very different backgrounds. Brenna describes her childhood in suburban Tucson as “pretty regular.” She has been drawn to the arts since she won the role of Pepper (the bully!) in her middle-school production of “Annie Jr.” Sophia, on the other hand, jokes that “I am the first person in my family to graduate from college that wasn’t a clown college.” Only here's the thing: She’s not joking!

'My dad was a clown and my mom was an elephant-riding, aerial-performing showgirl.'

“My parents met and fell in love when they were both performers with the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus,” she says. “My dad was a clown and my mom was an elephant-riding, aerial-performing showgirl.”

Sophia grew up in Golden performing with the world-famous Westernaires, a company of 1,000 young people ages 9 to 19 who teach self-respect, responsibility and leadership through horsemanship. She performed on the precision-mounted drill team on horseback. Her theatre career was cut short by a leg injury in high school.

Meanwhile, Brenna graduated from Colorado State University with a Masters of Arts Leadership and Administration. “I love building relationships with others in the community who enjoy theatre and art experiences,” she said. “I have extensive experience in customer service and relationship management, and love a challenge when working on new projects.”

Scott Koop, Annie Dwyer and TJ MullinSophia grew up around the legendary Heritage Square Music Hall, where her father, Scott Koop, was an actor and longtime Stage Manager. He once put his circus skills to work by playing Fezziwig as a clown in Heritage Square's "Ebenezer," a variation on "A Christmas Carol." He's pictured to the right performing with the legendary Annie Dwyer and TJ Mullin in 2009's "Desperado."

Sophia graduated from Lakewood High School and Western State University in Gunnison. She has had many creative opportunities with the Denver Center Theatre Company, including Assistant Directing mainstage productions of “Smart People” and “The Constant Wife.”

One of Sophia’s myriad responsibilities during the COVID shutdown has been processing donations that came in during the Arvada Center’s “Reignite the Arts” capital campaign, which brought in more than  $775,000 to help keep the Arvada Center engine running. “It truly gives me hope we will be able to move forward and continue to thrive just knowing there are people out there who support us,” she said.

Get to know these unsung off-stage heroes of the Arvada Center further through these three questions posed by Content Writer Leslie Simon:


Brenna Clendaniel was REALLY looking forward to 'Kinky Boots.' What was unique about your childhood? “I was raised about 20 miles southeast of Tucson in Vail, Arizona. I signed up for a lot of different sports. I tried basketball, softball, bowling, gymnastics and cheerleading. Nothing truly stuck – until I auditioned for “Annie Jr.” That’s when I discovered the arts, and I was drawn to them from then on."

And how did that happen? My best friend in middle school wanted to audition for "Annie Jr." I wasn't as interested, but I desperately wanted to hang out with her. She didn't show up for auditions, but I did, and I actually really enjoyed the experience. I loved the process, and I especially loved performing. I can still remember the first performance in my mind. I had the biggest grin on my face. (Pictured at right: Brenna Clendaniel was REALLY looking forward to "Kinky Boots" at the Arvada Center.) 

"Theatre helps you process grief in a powerful way."

What obstacles have you had to overcome? My dad passed away of cancer when I was in college. It was devastating for me and my whole family. Although he was never an artistic guy, he always supported me and my love for the arts. He attended my performances and paid for my acting classes. Theatre helps you process grief in a powerful way – not just performing, but watching as well. I could process emotions and witness struggle in a way that the real world never really talks about. There is this really traumatic thing that happens at the end of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons,” and when I was watching that play here at the Arvada Center, I could really relate to those characters because it was similar to what I went though. The grief is never gone, but understanding the pain definitely helps move through it. Being part of a community of people who are both empathetic and open to hearing about your struggles is really powerful. The arts just create that community for you – whether you are looking for it or not.

Shop local and support Arvada Center artists during the shutdown
Sophia Koop The Constant Wife

Sophia Koop, second from left, with cast members Carol Schultz and Rodney Lizcano, and director Shelley Butler of the DCPA Theatre Company's 'The Constant Wife.' Photo by John Moore


What was unique about your childhood? While my parents’ lives in the circus were long behind them when my sister and I came along, there was rarely a dull moment in our household growing up. Working in the arts was ingrained in me.

Sophia KoopHow did you find the arts? As might be expected, I was bitten by the bug from the very beginning – although my sister somehow avoided it pretty well. I was enrolled in dance classes from a young age and I would spend nights drinking Shirley Temples with my dad from the light booth at Heritage Square Music Hall. I am forever grateful that I was given the encouragement to explore the arts as a kid and be surrounded by the amazing communities that art can create. 

What obstacles have you overcome? In high school, I suffered a leg injury that kept me in a walking boot, crutches and a wheelchair for more than a year. (It’s not a very exciting story – I tripped off a curb.) But I had to give up all acting and dancing during that time and it actually opened the door to explore more opportunities within the theatre. I think it is important for kids to realize that there are so many other ways to be involved with the arts, especially out of the limelight. I believe that my injury was the beginning of my journey to the administrative side of the arts, which I am so grateful to be a part of now.

Now, check out the video:

Video above by Jacinta Lobato, Teresa YoKell and Marcus Turner.

To follow the Arvada Center's #HumansOfArvadaCenter campaign, go to

Home,Reignite the Arts,Donate Now,Donate Now,Corporate Giving,Art Circle,2024-2025 Theatre Season,Renew,Visit Us,View All Events,Roland Bernier: In Other Words,Word Play,Lola Montejo: After Another After,Floyd D. Tunson: Ascent,Anthony Garcia Sr: Pigment,Pamela Webb: Hand + Hammer,Lauri Lynnxe Murphy: Seeing the Trees For the Forest,Pink Progression: Collaborations,Imprint: Print Educators of Colorado,528.0: Regional Juried Printmaking Exhibition,Wood.Works,Carley Warren: Three Pieces,Viral Influence: Art in the Time of Coronavirus,Brady Smith: (Don’t be embarrassed by) Your Trouble with Living,Melody Epperson: 100 Years + 1,Blurring The Line,Narkita Gold: Black In Denver,Art of the State 2022,Into The Woods,One Sheet,The River Bride,Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,Colorado Abstract +10: A Survey,Gary Staab: Second Nature,Flora: Scientific Botanical Illustrations of Colorado Plants,Charlotte's Web,Art + Science,Jeffco Schools Foundation High School Art Exhibition,Wendy Kowynia: Following the Thread,Spring Pottery Sale,Damn Yankees,Bueno: Mark Bueno,Denver Gay Men's Chorus: Divas, Icons and Justice Warriors,The Book Club Play,Guitar Stars and Friends,The Denver Brass: In Pursuit of Leisure,Swing, Swing, Swing: Benny and Beyond ,A Night at the Movies with the Colorado Symphony,Toad the Wet Sprocket and Cracker,Ramón Bonilla: The boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places for me.,Keb' Mo',Boz Scaggs,Lucero,The Ladies of Soul,Ben Folds,Drawn: From The Source,Day of African Culture,Cleo Parker Robinson Dance presents Living the Lush Life,Face Vocal Band,George Thorogood and the Destroyers,Indigo Girls,Big Draw Colorado,Collective Soul,Rockley Instrument Sale,The Laramie Project Talkbacks with Judy and Dennis Shepard,Allyship & Advocacy in Action: Supporting the LGBTQAI+ Community,Emilio Lobato: A Mi Manera A 40-Year Survey,Latitude 37° Art of Southern Colorado,Beautiful - The Carole King Musical,The Laramie Project,Colcha Embroidery of the San Luis Valley,Hazel Miller and the Collective: Christmas with Soul,Fine Art Market,Holiday Pottery Sale,Our Town,Big Band Royalty: Nothin’ But the Blues,Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella Sensory Friendly Performance,Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella ASL Interpreted Performances ,Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella,Artist Proof: Print Process at Oehme Graphics,Exhibition Tour and Artist Talk with Sue Oehme,Sue Oehme Inclusions,Big Ink,53rd Annual Jeffco Schools Foundation High School Art Exhibition,Print Jam,Latin Sounds From Legendary Artists,A Year With Frog and Toad,Matt Christie: Between Then and Now,Robin Cole: Genesis,Arvada Center Spring Brunch,Preservation Hall Jazz Band,Mozart Under Moonlight,Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812,Nothing On,Corinne Bailey Rae,Tower of Power,A Tribute to Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops,CJRO Presents: Lady Sings the Groove with Tatiana LadyMay Mayfield,Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder,Orquesta Akokán with Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen,Spin Doctors with Cracker,Denver Gay Men's Chorus: Shout!,3rd Law Dance/Theater,Denver Brass presents: Brass, Camera, Action,The High Kings and Gaelic Storm,Big Richard,Melissa Etheridge: I’m Not Broken Tour,Noises Off,Dining Partners,Amplify,Theatre,Upcoming Shows,2024-2025 Theatre Season,Renew,Performances for Students,Auditions,Local Season AEA Auditions,Local Season Non-AEA Auditions,Galleries,Current Exhibitions,Gallery Events,Upcoming Exhibitions,Art Sales,Art Submissions,Sculpture Field,History Museum,Archive,Education,View All Classes,Summer Camps,Full Day,Summer Camp Performances,FAQ,Spring Break Camps,Classes for Kids,Classes for Adults,Ceramics,Front Range Youth Symphony,Dance Classes,Links and Forms,Arts Day,Arts Day Outreach,Ageless Adults,Scholarships,Yesterado,Yesterado,Field Trips and Outreach,ECE Field Trips,K-5 Field Trips,Middle and High School Field Trips,Outreach Programs,Preschool Partnership Program,Music and Dance,Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra,Summer Concerts,Humanities,Private Event Rentals,Caterers,Vendors,Straight Talk Series ,Straight Talk with Philip Sneed,COVID’s toll on Colorado theatre: 224 productions and counting ,Straight Talk with Lynne Collins,Straight Talk with Rod Lansberry,Straight Talk with Phamaly, Buntport, Colorado Shakes and Rocky Mountain Rep,Straight Talk with Creede Rep, Town Hall, Candlelight and Theatre Company of Lafayette,Straight Talk with Aurora Fox, BDT Stage, Cherry Creek Theatre and Misfits,Straight Talk with Su Teatro, Vintage, Backstage and Counterweight,Straight Talk with Local Theater Company, Theater 29, The Source and Equinox,Straight Talk with the Denver Center, Jesters Dinner Theatre, Glenwood Vaudeville Revue and Germinal Stage-Denver,Actors' union issues safety guidelines for re-opening,Straight Talk with square product, Forge Light, Springs Ensemble Theatre and Coal Creek Theatre of Louisville,Straight Talk with the Fine Arts Center, Miners Alley Playhouse, Dangerous Theatre and Lone Tree Arts Center ,Straight Talk with Lake Dillon Theatre Company, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company and Northglenn Arts,Straight Talk with The Catamounts, Bas Bleu and Thingamajig,Straight Talk with Curious Theatre Company,Straight Talk with OpenStage, Firehouse and Adams Mystery Playhouse,Straight Talk with Platte Valley Players and Theatreworks,Straight Talk with Parker Arts, Stories on Stage and Thunder River ,Staight Talk 2 with Philip Sneed: This much is uncertain,Arvada Center News,Getting to Know The Big Tuna,Getting to Know: Keith Ewer and his Hammered Dulcimer,Understanding Farce in Theatre,2024 Summer Concert Series Playlist Volume 1,Pivoting With,Pivoting with The Black Actors Guild,Pivoting with ... Emily Van Fleet and Nathan Jones,Pivoting With ... Tammy Franklin and the Curtain Playhouse,Pivoting With Nick Sugar and the Town Hall Arts Center,Pivoting With Helen Murray and the Aurora Fox,Pivoting with Edith Weiss and Christy Montour Larson,Pivoting With Scott RC Levy and the Fine Arts Center Theatre Company,Pivoting with Todd Debrecini for Halloween,Pivoting with Ashley Campbell,Pivoting with Meghan Anderson Doyle,Pivoting with Jenna Moll Reyes,Pivoting with Erik Fellenstein,Pivoting with Ray Bailey ,Pivoting with Tara Falk,Community News,Inside the Arvada Center,All About Printmaking Techniques,Humans of the Arvada Center: Meet Collin Parson ,Christina Noel-Adcock,"Bright Star" cast unveils video as message of hope,Humans of the Arvada Center: Meet Christine Moore,Humans of the Arvada Center: Steven Cogswell,Humans of the Arvada Center: Ashi K. Smythe,City of Arvada to install new sculpture in Hoskinson Park,Humans of the Arvada Center Jessie Page,Humans of the Arvada Center Cal Meakins,Humans of the Arvada Center: Adam Stolte,Supreme Court workplace ruling hits home for Lisa Leafgreen,'Time for talk is over': Arvada Center launch 'Amplify' series to raise black male voices,Humans of the Arvada Center Jon Olson ,Humans of the Arvada Center: Abygail Rosales,Revealing The Dialogue,Amplify Epiode 3 launches, series expanding to include black women,Photo Blog: Sweeney Todd Rehearsals,Humans of the Arvada Center: Gabriel Morales,Cleo Parker Robinson dances back in the box with Arvada Center,Amplify turns the mic over to local Black women ,Beth Malone bringing 'joy bomb' to Arvada Center oon September 4,Humans of the Arvada Center: Meet Emily King,Amplify Women Episode 2,Special Book Honors Special Dance Teacher,amplify-series-comes-to-powerful-conclusion,Take a stroll through 'Sculpture in the Field',Lessons from a summer of outdoor theatre in the time of COVID ,Humans of the Arvada Center: John Hamilton,Doreen Montalvo in Denver: Compassion and grit,Betty Hart's presidential promise: Build a bigger tent,Humans of the Arvada Center: Brenna Clendaniel and Sophia Koop,On being Black in Denver and all the colors that it brings,2020 True West Awards: Buntpivot ,2020 True West Awards: Lily Bradford,2020 True West Awards: The Scenesters,2020 True West Awards: Podcastic,2020 True West Awards: Phamaly takes 'Honk' to Japan,2020 True West Awards: Christine Moore,2020 True West Awards: Alive Inside,2020 True West Awards: Michael Ensminger,True West Awards: They Wrote the Book,True West Awards: Rent-A-Pals,True West Awards: Of Spacious Skies,True West Awards: Christopher Page-Sanders,2020 True West Awards: Suffer the little children,2020 True West Awards: Spirit of Giving,2020 True West Awards: Secret Gardeners,2020 True West Awards: Denis Berkfeldt,2020 True West Awards: Amplify,2020 True West Awards: Reclaiming One Star,2020 True West Awards: William Hahn and Jessica Robblee,2020 True West Awards: Lisa Wagner Erickson,20 for 20,Meet the Frasers,Lucy Roucis' final act is a gutpunch,Reunite the Arts Collin Parson,Jodie Steeves and Nancy Terry,Reunite the Arts Lisa Leafgreen,Remembering John Gratkins,Reunite the Arts: From our CEO,Danielle Johnson Q&A,Reunite the Arts Lynne Collins,The Show Must Go On,Diana and Mike Kinsey,Get to Know Kazu Oba,Meet Suzanna Champion,The Gear of Million Dollar Quartet,FRYS and the Symphony,Get to Know Carlou D,Stories From the Studio,Hispanic Heritage Month: Meet Lares Feliciano,21 for 21,An interview with Geoffrey Kent: The Liar,An interview with Jada Suzanne Dixon: Stick Fly,An interview with Jessica Robblee: Animal Farm,Fast Facts About Kinky Boots,Costume Department Boots Up,Rod A Lansberry Announces Retirement from Arvada Center,Lynne Collins Named Artistic Director of Arvada Center Theatre,Getting to Know José González,Getting to Know Joan Osborne and Madeleine Peyroux,The Many Sounds of Carlou D,Setting the mood: Into the Woods Set Designer Brian Mallgrave,Into the Woods Directors Note,The River Bride Director's Note,What is Magical Realism?,Hispanic Heritage Month: Meet Ana María Hernando,Meet Ceramics Artist Luanne Burke,From student to teacher: Hadley’s story,Tackling the Beast,Things to Know About Our Town,Creating the Look of Our Town: A Q and A with Set Designer Brian Mallgrave,Whatever Lola Wants - A Deep Dive into the Damn Yankees Signature Song,Selling Your Soul - A Pop Culture Favorite,The Book Club Play Reads,Metatheatre Elements in Our Town - When a Play Knows It's a Play,90s Throwback Vibe with Arvada Center 2023 Summer Concert Series,Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra at the Arvada Center,Opening Acts of the Arvada Center 2023 Summer Concert Series,Getting to know Baaba Maal,Big Draw Highlights,The Music of Keb' Mo,Getting to Know Lucero,The People at the Indigo Girls ,Listen to the hits of Carole King with this playlist,Carole King: The Writer Behind The Music,Songs inspired by Matthew Shepard,Summer Internship at The Arvada Center,Arvada Center journeys to Southern Colorado : A Photo Diary,Arvada Center and Colorado Chapter of Free Mom Hugs share the love,Costume Inspiration for Cinderella with Costume Designer Madison Booth,Getting to Know: iZCALLi and ArtistiCO,The Many Faces of Cinderella,Arvada Center awarded Social Impact Theatre Grant from Biller Family Foundation,The music that influenced the music of Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,Volunteer,About Us,Ticketing Policies,Authorized Ticketing,Group Tickets,Ticket Discounts,Contact Us,Accessibility,Health and Safety,Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access,Careers,Tours,Adopt an Actor 2023,Adopt An Artwork,Temp,Land Acknowledgement,What To Expect at the Theatre,One Sheet Music,Gift Certificates,LGBT Resources,Privacy Policy,Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet Seat Map,Gala,Gala Sponsors,Errors,404,Natasha and Pierre Synopsis,Concessions,Summer Preorders