Our Mission: To build real-world skills through the creative arts.

Our History

Our Leadership

Gwen Tulin

Founder and Artistic Director
Gwen is the founder and current Artistic Director of Brain Arts Productions. Originally from Lexington, Massachusetts, she has been working in the performing arts for over fifteen years. Gwen's favorite teachable moment is when Peter's lyric idea was "Sauna, pizza, sauna, pizza, sauna," he looked around in trepidation, and was met with thunderous applause.

Victoria Golden

Program Director
Victoria is a teaching artist, stage manager, and all-around experience maker. Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, she is spearheading the new Louisville programming. Victoria joined Brain Arts Productions in 2014 and loves mixing learning and creativity. Her favorite teachable moment is "Kobe Wan Kenobi is George Washington's real father."

Teaching Team

Jess Benson

Jess is an improv comedian and teaching artist who resides in Chicago. She joined Brain Arts Productions in 2016 and loves creating a positively encouraging atmosphere where kids and adults are free to explore the far-reaching corners of their imaginations! Her favorite teaching moment was when Lily said "I most relate to Ron Weasley because I like to eat a lot!"

Lauren Bidwell

Lauren is a native of Louisville, Kentucky and joined Brain Surgeon Theatre in 2017. She enjoys directing, stage managing, and all aspects of theatre.

Simone Dowdell

Simone is a recent graduate from Roosevelt University and a Chicago native. She spends most of her time behind the camera whether she's recording or taking pictures. She loves channeling her creativity to help children and adults realize the importance of all forms of art and finding joy in everything around them.

Linsey Gessner

Linsey is a private acting coach as well as a teaching artist for Louisville's StageOne Family Theatre. She has over 15 years of experience in the performing arts and currently performs as an acrobat and flow artist. Her most memorable moment in the classroom was when she successfully mastered the art of speaking to preschoolers without her voice! PURE MAGIC!

Joe Giovannetti

Joe is a teaching artist as well as a writer and director of stage and film work. He's been living and working in Chicago for over a decade. Joe's favorite teachable moment is Giulio murmuring, "The cat is shining, the legend is true," which you should repeat at least 30 times to get the full effect.

Steph Hanney

Steph is a teaching artist and video editor. She hails from the Philadelphia region in Pennslyvania but currently lives in Chicago with her gang of cats after graduating from Columbia College with a Bachelor of Arts in Television. Stephanie's favorite teachable moment is when she helped create the plot of the next Harry Potter movie at Mia's birthday party.

Jessie Oliver

Jessie is a teacher, choreographer, and costumer extraordinaire for Brain Surgeon Theater. Originally from Chicago, Jessie has been teaching and working in the arts for 20 years. Her favorite teachable moment was bringing in an eyeliner pencil to draw on the unibrow Dev so desperately wanted.

Will Sonheim

Will currently works as the Communications Manager for The Neo-Futurists, an experimental theatre company in Chicago. A graduate of Northwestern University, Will has been making pretty silly videos for over a decade now and there's no end in sight. His favorite teachable moment was when a student designed a basketball room that was not only cool and colorful but also ran entirely on windmill power.
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Brain Arts Productions | Chicago, IL • Louisville, KY • Madison, WI