Brian Fruits

Visiting Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies

First-Year Experience Curriculum Coordinator (FYEC Coordinator)

College of Arts and Sciences

Brian Fruits graduated, locally, from West Leyden High School in 1998 where he is an elected member of their Alumni Wall of Fame. As a Leyden honors student, Brian participated in football, track & field, basketball, school newspaper, intramurals, choir, and theatre at both the East and West campuses. He holds an M.F.A. in Stage Direction & Theatre from the University of Memphis and hails originally from Northlake, Illinois. Brian created the Jeff Award winning Saltbox Theatre Collective in 2015 and serves as both Artistic Director and Founder. He has a B.A. in Secondary Education from Concordia University of Chicago and currently serves as a full-time faculty member there, as well. After undergrad, he has worked as a high school English/Theatre/Speech teacher at Oswego East and Dundee-Crown directing musicals, plays, speech while coaching football. Brian has coached 4 IHSA regional championship teams with Oswego East and Morris High Schools. Several students of his went on to IHSA Speech Team sectionals and state competition. After graduate school, he went to work for legendary blues musician, B.B. King, overseeing his operations, as the Head of Creative Talent and Operations on Holland American Cruise Lines. There, he helped create and shape the current B.B. King’s Beale St. Heat Live stage show that is currently being performed on the largest ships of Holland America Cruise Lines across the globe.  A few of his regional directing credits include Line, The Comedy of Errors, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Red, 4:48 Psychosis, Wit, Race, Sarafina!, Medea, The Bacchae, Henry IV: Parts 1 & 2, Talking With, Almost, Maine, Black Pearl Sings!, Macbeth, Cabaret, Hamletmachine, 4:48 Psychosis and the Chicago Shakespeare Company’s world premiere of The Adventures of Pinocchio in which he served as Assistant Director to 2010 Chicago Director of the Year, Rachel Rockwell. His two short films (Fortune Cookie and Yellow Light) were featured in the 2012 and 2013 Southern Film Fest and the Midtown Arts Film Fest, respectively. He is a proud member of the Illinois Theatre Association (ITA), Still Point Theatre Collective and an Associate Member of the Stage Director & Choreographers Union (SDC). Brian serves as the Alumni Board President of Hephzibah Children’s Association in Oak Park, Illinois. Brian also helped create the educational info structure of an alternative high school in Frasier, Tennessee called Pathways in Education helping high school dropouts gain high school diplomas through state support and funding. His latest production In the Soundless Awe was about the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and was staged in front of the U.S. Navy this past summer as part of its reunion weekend. Brian is a pervious winner of Leyden High Schools’ Loyal Eagle Award and is most proud of his 2012 Teaching Meritorious Award and 2013 Creative Excellence Award from the University of Memphis. He has two godchildren. Brian was inspired to teach by Janine Asmus and inspired by Mark Bernstein to purse the arts. He is greatest accomplishment is marrying his wife, April on May 21, 2016. Brian is a proud member of the Trinity-Galewood and is a proud member of the LCMS community and assists with the L.E.A. (Lutheran Education Association) Convocations every few years serving as director and arts consultant. Degrees:

  • MFA, Theatre Direction - University of Memphis; Memphis, TN
  • BA, Secondary Education - Concordia University Chicago; River Forest, IL