Jessica Cope, B.F.A. '15
When Jessica Cope graduated from Grapevine [Texas] Faith Christian School in 2011, her next step academically was a foregone conclusion.
“I applied to many universities and auditioned for many different programs, but there was no choice. I had to go to Baylor University,” Cope says.
A third-generation Baylor graduate, Cope grew up attending All-University Sing and football games at Floyd Casey Stadium. Therefore, she was overjoyed when accepted into Baylor’s theatre performance program.
“I got to grow as a performer and learn a lot of different fields,” Cope says. “I had a very well-rounded education at Baylor, and I broadened my horizons as a performer outside of just acting.”
“I had a very well-rounded education at Baylor, and I broadened my horizons as a performer outside of just acting.”
While at Baylor, Cope was a member of the Baylor Theatre Student Society and Alpha Delta Pi Sing chair. Her many Baylor Theatre credits included portraying Elle Woods’ mother in a production of Legally Blonde. After graduation, Cope was a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Hostess at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida before returning to Texas.
In 2019, Cope co-founded The Hopeful Theatre Project, a Dallas-Fort Worth nonprofit theatre group through which actors can hone their craft and give back to the community. The Hopeful Theatre Project donates 100 percent of ticket proceeds from every show to charity and has raised more than $12,000 for organizations such as Ronald McDonald House Charities of Fort Worth, Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas, Salvation Army and Operation Christmas Child.
Last year, The Hopeful Theatre Project focused its charitable efforts on the American Red Cross due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s charity of focus is The Actors Fund, which provides housing, food and other means of subsistence to struggling actors.
“It’s really close to our hearts because we know our fellow actors are hurting all over the world,” Cope says. “Being able to give back to that family is important to us.”
Cope says her desire to serve others by the development of a charitable theatre is an extension of Baylor’s impact on her as a student.
“Baylor always gave me a sense of service, something that’s always been big on my heart,” she says. “When I thought about this calling to give back to others, I didn’t know what it looked like until it clicked one day. Why don’t I use the talents the Lord has given me and give back? Baylor set me up in service and theatre and gave me a purpose in life. I know it’s what I’m meant to do.”
Cope is proud to be a member of a Baylor family — literally and metaphorically. Her mother, her mother’s parents and her sister all graduated from Baylor, and her brother is a current Baylor student. Additionally, she relishes the instant connection with fellow Baylor alumni she meets professionally.
“Baylor is home. It’s where I came to be the person I am today,” Cope says. “I love being able to carry that connection with a home base wherever I go.”