Alumna Karissa Thorpe appeared in the nationwide Christian drama film "War Room," directed by Alex Kendrick and co-written and produced by Stephan Kendrick. The film grossed $11,351,389 its opening weekend and $65,791,210 worldwide as of October 22, 2015.
Thorpe said, "I'm extremely grateful to be connected to War Room. It was a life-giving and encouraging experience to work with the Kendrick Brothers and to be part of this powerful movie."
Thorpe takes on the role of a nurse. The movie is about a seemingly perfect family who looks to fix their problems with the help of Miss Clara, an older, wiser woman. Miss Clara teaches them to find their happiness through prayer.
Thorpe discovered the role in "War Room" through her mother who was the church liaison to the Kendrick Brothers production office.
Thorpe's current acts include stand-up comedy and character comedy; she also works as a guidance counselor and theater arts teacher at Concord First Assembly Academy in Concord, North Carolina.
Thorpe graduated from SAGU in 2006, with a bachelor's degree in Secondary Education; English, Language Arts and Reading.
After graduating, Thorpe continued to perform stand up and sketch comedy at Sunday services, women’s conferences, and church events at Trinity Church in Cedar Hill, Texas.
Thorpe said, "At SAGU I began to develop as a writer and performer." She continued, "SAGU formed me as a teacher. I attribute my organizational and procedural competence, classroom management skills, and my teaching content to the professors at SAGU."
Thorpe began participating in drama as a junior high student through her church at the Assemblies of God Fine Arts Festivals. During her time as a SAGU student, Thorpe participated in Southwestern Live, a sketch comedy production during SAGU Campus Days.
She was later introduced to the Four Day Weekend Theater in Fort Worth, Texas, and began taking comedy classes in January 2009, completing all four levels of the comedy program within a year. Upon graduation in November 2009, Thorpe and a group of fellow students formed their own comedy group called Gangs of Recess.
Gangs of Recess performed in the Dallas Comedy Festival; the Megaphone Marathons in Dallas, Austin, and New Orleans; the Red Dirt Improv Festival in Oklahoma City; and the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in addition to regular performances at Dallas Comedy House and Four Day Weekend Theater. Gangs of Recess have also performed for the Texas Associations of Realtors at their annual conference.
Thorpe connected with Dallas Comedy House (DCH) through the Dallas Comedy Festival. Thorpe graduated from the DCH Training Center in July 2010. After graduation, Thorpe was asked to be part of the teaching staff at the training center.
Through the DCH, Thorpe became part of two other improv groups: Commerce Street and Local Honey.
Commerce Street was an improvisational puppeteering group that has performed in the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival in Austin and the Dallas Comedy Festival.
Local Honey performed in the San Francisco Improv Festival, the Dallas Comedy Festival and the Chicago Improv Festival in addition to regular performances at the Dallas Comedy House.
Thorpe was the headlining guest speaker for Girlfriends Night at Calvary Church in September 2012. She performed a 75-minute one-woman talk show called "Let's Talk! with Karissa Ross."
Previously Thorpe was employed at Life School in Oak Cliff, Texas, as an English, journalism and theater arts teacher and also served as an Academic Dean at Trinity Christian School in Cedar Hill, Texas. In addition to teaching and administration, she has coached volleyball and track.
She went on to be the headlining comedian for a large women’s event at Calvary Church outside of Chicago, and opened for Henry Cho in 2014.