ChiArts is thrilled to announce Lauren Wells-Mann as the new Theatre Department Head! Ms. Wells-Mann is a licensed Theatre educator with a strong background in Theatre education, leadership, and as an actor, director, dancer, and choreographer. Ms. Wells-Mann began her leadership at ChiArts on June 27, 2022 and shares, “ChiArts is an amazing institution that I have admired for years. I am so grateful for the opportunity to add to the tradition of excellence and serve students in their quest for success in the world of Theatre. I am looking forward to this upcoming school year that I anticipate will be one of the best years yet!”
Lauren Wells-Mann is a proud company member with MPAACT, where she had the pleasure of directing the following productions: Mother of the Dark Water (Jeff Nominee for Best Ensemble, Black Excellence Nominee for Best Production and Best Direction), By Association by Shepsu Aakhu (Black Excellence Nominee for Best Production) and various podcast plays. Assistant Director credits include: Upstate by Aaron Todd Douglass, directed by Carla Stillwell and Crowns by Regina Taylor, directed by Chuck Smith. Mrs. Wells-Mann holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Theater/Acting from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Secondary Education from University of Phoenix. She began her professional acting career with Eta Creative Arts Foundation. It was here that Lauren had the pleasure of working with esteemed directors such as Ilesa Duncan, Kemati Porter, Runako Jahi, and Cheryl Lynn Bruce. She has also performed with companies such as Lookingglass Theatre Company, Black Ensemble, MPAACT, Harlem Theater Company, Healthworks Theater Company, and Victory Gardens to name a few. Lauren also directed and choreographed for Eta’s summer program, Chicago on the Nile for 3 years, Black Lives Black Words – Chicago and 20% Theater Company, Perceptions Theatre, and Griot Theatre Collective. Lauren attributes her directing prowess to the tutelage of Darcelle Williams, Cheryl Frazier, and Carla Stillwell.
In addition to these accolades, Mrs. Wells-Mann has been coaching competitive acting and speech events for the Illinois High School Association for 19 years. Under her direction, students have won numerous state and national championships in various acting and public speaking activities. Lauren Wells-Mann believes in the power of the arts and the importance of BIPOC artists having autonomy over their own narratives; it is a mission to which she is deeply committed.