Alumni Spotlight: Brian Fruits (MFA '13)
Brian Fruits received a master of fine arts degree in directing from the University of Memphis in May 2013. He was a 4.0 student with a University of Memphis Full-Ride Fellowship and Grant.
While at the University of Memphis, Brian directed a variety of productions for the Department of Theatre and Dance. In 2012, he received a Best Dramatic Play Ostrander winner for “W;t.” That same year, he received the University of Memphis Creative Excellence Award in Fine Arts. In 2013, he received Best Director from the Fred Mertz Association and the Ostrander for Best Choreographer, Best Large Ensemble for “Medea.” He also received the 2013 Meritorious Teaching Award from the University.
He’s been directing professionally since 2005, when he directed “Jesus Christ Superstar” for Just Passing By Theatre in Northlake, Ill. His professional directorial debut in Memphis was “Prison Stories” for Voices of the South, a local production company. Since then, he’s directed in a variety of venues, such as Playhouse on the Square and Hattiloo Theatre. He also has a couple of film credits under his belt, with “Fortune Cookie” and “Yellow Light,” which was featured this year in the On Location Memphis International Film Festival.
Currently, Brian is working as a freelance producer and director in Chicago and Memphis, which includes “Black Pearl Sings,” a current project for the Hattiloo Theatre. He is also the artistic director and founder of The Just Passing By Theatre Company, NFP, working in the U.S. and Canada. His current project is “The Soundless Awe.” He is also director of creative development for B.B. King’s Restaurant and Blues Club. He’s been working with Tommy Peters, owner of B.B. King’s, as assistant director and his company, helping support and stage his traveling music show. This role has taken him all over the world on the major ships of Holland America Cruise Line.