Results: The Proof Is In The Pudding

High-impact experiences with long-lasting ripples, that’s how we flow at Creatively Independent.

Results like these are game-changers in your art and life, beyond your expectations.

Here are a few testimonials from our amazing clients:



Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 2.33.28 PMOur students had the pleasure of experiencing a challenging and playful series of workshops with Chris Beaulieu from Creatively Independent. Students went from a “‘dipping their toe in” commitment to full-out crawling on the floor towards their objective within the first hour of his work. The ensemble, as the class quickly became, learned true commitment- all while engaged in creative play. As a professor, I learned techniques in heightening actions and objectives with student actors in a physically engaging way.

– Siouxsie Easter (Associate Professor of Theatre, Wells College)



brimmerIt was a pleasure and a revelation watching Christopher open up a safe, joyous environment for the students to rediscover their sense of play. Through his use of deceptively simple children’s games, he took the temperature of the room, made instant assessments, and, by asking astute questions, allowed the students to make their own discoveries, have ownership of their work, and empowered them to go deeper into the material with greater ease and facility. I fully intend to use these techniques in my own classroom- I cannot recommend Chris highly enough!”

– J. David Brimmer (Assoc. Prof. NYU/Tisch & SAFD Fight Master)



Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 2.17.42 PMChris and Jess were able to break-down the barriers between the teachers, opening them to the possibilities of direct exchanges of information both personally and professionally relevant to their team building. The exercises were a perfect antidote to clogged relationships and left the faculty members with both new insights into their own contributions to the team and a deeper appreciation of their colleague’s challenges, hopes and needs.  

I can without hesitation give Jess and Chris my highest recommendation for the effectiveness. The practical results have been teachers with a real commitment to working with each other in the service of the children at Discovery, along with some true breakthroughs of understanding as relevant to their co-workers. From an Administrator’s perspective, I wish we could have Jess and Chris work with each of our Faculty teams on an annual basis to promote the types of harmonious collegial relationships I have come to expect from our Montessori faculty. Jess and Chris are true gems in this industry and I have a deep respect for their commitment to each of the individuals they choose to work with.

– Kim Bednareck (Head of School, Discovery Montessori)



Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 2.27.12 PMTheir exhaustive battery of exercises always keeps the students engaged and focused on the task at hand. They set the bar of expectations high and the students do not quit until they meet those expectations for the presenters. Their work can only be described as miraculous. They’ve worked with my students and really forged a bond with our company of actors that binds them together in all their work. I cannot imagine my program, or the success we have experienced, without the resources provided by Chris and Jess and Creatively Independent.

– Randall Adkison (Assistant Director for Festival Operations at Florida State Thespians)




MichaelFields“Chris has a gift as a director and it transcends the physical work that is a core aspect of his training… His work as an actor/creator and a devisor of work with his own company [Creatively Independent] has also given him a real understanding of how to work with actors in the process of creation and rehearsal.  He has a keen eye.  He listens.  He has a great sense of humor.  He is collaborative, but also knows his own point of view and is not afraid to speak his mind.”

~ Michael Fields (Producing Artistic Director, Dell’Arte)



dasotaLogoCreatively Independent is bringing us into the 21st century artistically. I have seen their work embodied and applied in my students’ rehearsals and class work immediately! It is a rare combination to find guest artists that not only inspire, but provoke the students into discovering their own unique point of view as emerging artists.

~ Dr. Lee Beger (Theatre Department Chair, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts)




maggieKeenan-BolgerThe Creatively Independent Play Retreat was, without a doubt the highlight of my year. Chris and Jess have created a magical place to play with abandon while making meaningful, challenging and important discoveries about the role of play in our daily lives. They manage to create an environment where I not only felt safe and nurtured, but was challenged to push my boundaries, question my own actions and reactions and color way, way outside the lines.

~ Maggie Keenan-Bolger (Actor, Director, Co-Founder Honest Accomplice Theatre)




PVPEF“The feedback we’ve gotten from kids and parents is unbelievable.  It’s a wonderful program.  We’ve had kids every year who opt to come back.  It’s so different from anything else they get in school… [Creatively Independent] devised a strong, age specific teaching program incorporating vocal, movement and dramatic skills that show us how students can mentally obtain knowledge and also ‘wear’ it in their body and muscles.”

~ Marilyn Hoener (President, The Ponte Vedra Public Education Foundation)



derekCoghlanChris and Jess do an incredible job. They helped many of my quieter students find their voice and helped my leaders learn how to work as an ensemble. That’s quite a balancing act all while playing inside Shakespeare’s text.”

~ Derek Coghlan (Performer, PACE teacher, Nease HS)





jennifer_rikerJess Pillmore is a true professional at what she does. Two Parts Magician and One giant part Mamma Bear. In her care, she makes daring comfortable. She coaxes, prods, pokes, then pulls back the curtain and reveals the goods you didn’t even know were hidden in you. I’ve had plenty of mentors and teachers who “get you there” but none as safe and pure as Jess. She is exuberant, playful and incredibly knowledgeable in her field. I do believe she is an expert guide. Her positive psychology is addicting.

– Jennifer Riker (Actor, Full-time Theatre Arts teacher, K-8)



jtriceAs a theatre teacher, I grew weary of forcing myself to fit into the Professional Development classes that were available both in my district and on-line. They are either dedicated to teaching in general or all too often, I am asked to select a course from the English teachers’ catalog because our content is so closely related. Invariably I leave these courses with some new piece of information that I can use in my classes, but no holistic knowledge that will alter my teaching in any great way.

Jess Pillmore’s A Inspiring Vision has changed who I am as an arts educator from the ground up. This course, designed specifically for teachers of the arts, challenges us to understand who we as artists, teachers, and humans; it helps us distill down to the essence why we teach. Using that knowledge, we completed daily exercises that, in my case, resulted in designing a year-long curriculum from the ground up in under 5 days. With Jess’s “what-if” questions and “have you considered” alternatives, I had not just 7 units that connected logically and scaffolded the material in a manner that supported learning and growth, I had a course that I was on fire to teach and a journey that I couldn’t wait to travel with my students.

I started teaching in 2002, and the only Professional Development class that came close to being this invigorating, inspiring, and educational was ISTA’s IB DP Theatre workshop. At both I made great connections with amazing teachers, I learned more than I thought I could have, and I had more fun than I thought I was possible. The only difference is in Jess’s class I could stay in my jammies, I didn’t have to eat hotel food for three days, and I left with a complete year-long curriculum planned out.

The best thing about this course is that if I took it all over again, I’d come out with a completely different curriculum. Jess’s personal attention helps you find different material within your content that you may have forgotten or taken for granted. Her guidance also helps you find entry points into elements of your content about which you are passionate but couldn’t quite find a way to introduce to your grade level or within your time frame. I’m excited to see what happens when she offers the course again. I wonder what journey my students and I will end up taking next time.

– Jennifer Thomas Trice (Full-time Theatre Arts teacher, Green Run Collegiate High)



catharineslusarJess Pillmore will rearrange your brain. She is smart, compassionate and skilled. She knows art. Her excitement about my ideas and my day really changed my attitude. This large task I had before me suddenly seemed not only possible, but exciting. I used ALL of Jess’s suggestions, from the practical (carry snacks) to the magical (bring a talisman to ground you).

I am so lucky to  have done this. It refitted my brain. I was looking at my 12-hour interview day shrouded in dread. I think having a sympathetic ear to help me reframe my day was invaluable.

Jess was calm, clear and funny.  My expectations were not met.  They were surpassed.

It is valuable for me to consider myself as an actor. This redefinition allows me to exist on my own plane—not a plane where I am trying to compete with my boss [Mark]. It was useful to remember that I am NOT Mark, and that is a good thing. The department already has Mark. I am coming at directing from the position of an actor—this gives me great strength and a very different approach.

Jess, you are so good at listening. As my boss would say, you looked at what was there instead of trying to foist an agenda of what you with were there.

You were the perfect coach. You saw my hard moments of being indicative of positive values.

– Catharine K. Slusar (Actor, Director, and Associate Professor at Bryn Mawr College)



danGrankeThe week offers deep insight into play, and how it manifests not only in our work but in our lives. The days are full, fun, and exhausting, but the growth as individuals and as an ensemble are well worth the effort. Chris and Jess challenged us in ways that were profound yet gentle, and the backdrop of the mountains and the farm provided a serene and perfect environment for discovery in art.

~ Dan Granke (Visiting Asst. Professor, USF; Producing Artistic Director, Tampa Shakespeare; CT SAFD)



Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 1.27.14 PMJess Pillmore is a sensational creative sounding board! She is an understanding and supportive listener and has a gift for helping you pinpoint your creative goals. She guides you to clarify your process by asking mindful questions shaped to your individual needs. She does not push her own aesthetic and her criticism is always thoughtful, constructive and without agenda. She encouraged me to embrace my unique artistic voice and has been a pivotal part of my growth as a human and a maker of accessible art.

– Lara Segura (Artistic Program Manager, Malashock Dance Co.)



tanyaPerezThe work we did was exciting and really challenging in the most delightful way, that I wish I could do it again in 6 months… Or just every day of my life. I had a blast at the CI Play Retreat that well exceeded my expectations. It’s not every day you travel to the middle of Virginia with a bunch of strangers and roll around for a week in each other’s blood, sweat and tears. The playing was not just about fun, but it was boundless bits of work and collaboration and brevity as Chris and Jess unraveled the theme of the day. It was like we were unwrapping presents everyday. I can only say that you should join them on this journey because the kid in you totally deserves it!

– Tanya Perez (Actor)



Kristen Vermilyea

After graduate school, many people asked what I planned on doing and sometimes teaching came up as a possible idea. BUT WHAT CAN I TEACH?! Was always my answer/thought.

The thing that surprised me most is that in a relatively small amount of time – with a little focus, faith and some kick-ass guidance (JESS!) I was able to really create something authentic, viable, useful, true and me. I was in awe of how it all came together when I trusted the work and myself and paid attention to what Jess was saying and also observing all of your processes at work. It was truly inspirational and awesome.

I will keep going. I want to see where this goes…. I am taking with me a renewed sense of motivation and inspiration and trusting myself and my process. I needed this right now and feel incredibly honored and lucky to have been asked to be a part of this group.

What a fabulous class and experience, Jess. Truly. Thank you all.

– Kristen Vermilyea (Writer, Filmmaker, Provocateur) 



Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 2.14.41 PMI’m really in a place I can’t explain! No fear, no inhibition, no denying what I want to do. I’ve come into a place of peace and I can’t deny that what I have to offer is important and correct!! I just know without a doubt where I am and what I have to offer! I want to play, I need to share, and I have the courage to make it happen! It all started with a question from Jess about the boxes and I no longer live for them and they no longer have a place in my life. It was like identifying them made me see what was actually holding me back from living my life to the fullest. Like living everyone’s exceptions of my life was what I lived by. If I had not completely given into change I might not have ever had the courage, but now I see the other side. I now know something different, tangible, and real.

– Misty Muesing (Theatre Educator/Performer, former Department Head at Lavilla School of the Arts)





Beth VenableJess, your class was a turning point for me this summer.

It changed the frequency of how I was seeing my life. I had shifted into a very low frequency, as we so often do when thinking about how we fit in the world… when the externalized become more powerful than the internalized motivations. I had hit what I believe was the lowest of the low points. I did not think I had the capacity to participate with integrity, and I was running pretty low in the compassion for self department. I couldn’t pass up the adventure and the community aspect, though.

Diving into a study of what you can bring to the world seemed frivolous at the time, and it was also necessary. This class has given me space to create a vision for the future. At the beginning, I felt hopeless because I had run out of the energy it takes to create a vision.

By tackling each day’s assignment the focus was narrowed, blinders were on. Blinders to the negative thoughts, the “that will never work, because…” thoughts. Through this process, I have reclaimed the knowledge that I do not have to isolate and compartmentalize to be successful. It is conceivable to create a future that can only be accomplished with my particular blend of skills and experiences, and personality.

Beth Venable (Consultant for Life’s Adventures)

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