This Is My Brave


White Pines is partnering with Elkins Park neighbor Judah Rosenstein to support a production of This Is My Brave - a show about what it's like to live through mental illness and come out on the other side. The emotions from having experienced mental illness first-hand are raw, excruciating, thrilling, inspiring and so much more.

The mission of This Is My Brave, Inc. is to end the stigma surrounding mental health issues by sharing personal stories of individuals living successful, full lives despite mental illness through poetry, essay and original music, on stage in front of a live audience, through stories submitted and published to our blog, and via our YouTube channel.

From the This Is My Brave website: In August of 2011, more than six years after Jennifer Marshall's bipolar disorder first surfaced, she decided to start a blog. It became a place where she turned to write about her life as a wife and young mom to two small kids, and writing helped her begin to heal. She titled it: Bipolar Mom Life.



Jennifer wrote anonymously at first, because she was afraid of being judged. She also worried that disclosing her mental illness may make future employment opportunities difficult. For eighteen months, Jennifer wrote and found community online. Other writers who were openly sharing their stories of overcoming mental illness inspired her, and when she landed her first paid writing job, Jennifer decided to stop hiding behind a pen name. 

When published her first article with Jennifer's byline, it was also picked up by (the parent company). The outpouring of support and gratitude when that piece hit the Internet with her real name was overwhelming. She knew immediately that disclosing was the right decision. She could finally talk about all parts of her life, and not just the shiny, fun moments.

About six months later, Jennifer had the idea to launch a theater show. She wanted to give others the same opportunity she had - a stage on which to share their story of living a successful life despite mental illness. Jennifer met her Co-Founder, Anne Marie Ames, at a mutual friend's party and recruited her to help put the project out to the world.

Jennifer and Anne Marie launched This Is My Brave on Kickstarter in October of 2013 and the excitement surrounding the project grew and grew. They offered tickets to the first show and handmade "BRAVE" bracelets, among other items, as rewards for financial pledges of support. Within 31 days, the campaign had surpassed their goal of $6500 to fund the first show, ending up with over $10,000 in contributions. It was clear that the community wanted to help bring this show to life - they believed in the vision and Jennifer and Anne Marie were dedicated to delivering an exceptional production.


Do you have a story to share? Craft your piece via poetry, original music, personal essay or even a comedy set. Yes, experiencing mental illness can be funny, believe it or not. :)

On July 5th we're holding auditions for our Elkins Park, PA show (scheduled for October 18th) at The White Pines Place. We’re seeking individuals who have a talent in writing or music and are ready to share their story of living a successful life despite having experienced a mental health issue. Each essay, original song, poem or comedy set must not exceed 5 minutes in length. Think of your piece as a “snippet” of your life, rather than your entire life story.

Click here to sign up for an audition slot!

View our YouTube Channel for examples of stories we feature:

We can't wait to hear your BRAVE!

Boden & Lloyd returns . . . in Virginia!

deep end.jpg
Josh Boden

Josh Boden

Last summer, Bright Invention Artisitc Director Benjamin Lloyd and Bright Invention member Joshua Boden created "Boden & Lloyd", a two-act longform with  . . .  just the two of them. Inspired by the duet longforms of TJ & Dave, Bassprov, and Razowsky and Bernard, The Deep End is inspired by conversations with the audience occurring just before the show. 

Benjamin Lloyd

Benjamin Lloyd

Then Joshua up and moved to Virginia! How dare he! But the desire to continue creating is relentless . . . so, come on down to Staunton VA for  the weekend, take in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and swing by The Kettle Saturday night for . . .


The Deep End,

with Boden and Lloyd! 

Tickets at the door only . . . 

Improv is the Future of Theatre: panel discussion. Our report!

On Saturday February 17th, Bright Invention Artistic Director Benjamin Lloyd joined an illustrious panel of Philadelphia improvisers and theater artists at Phildelphia theatre Company, to discuss Philadelphia's improv scene, and reflect on the role improv has to play in the future of the performing arts in America. The Panel included Bobbi Block, Artistic Director of Tongue & Groove Spontaneous Theatre; Scott Greer, Philadelphia actor; Dave Jadico, Artistic Director of Comedy Sportz; Tara Demmy, teacher at PHIT; and Nick Gillette Artistic Director of Almanac Theater. The panel was moderated by noted Philadelphia theatre critic Mark Cofta. About 50 people were in the audience. Bright Invention, Tongue & Groove and Philadelphia Theatre Company co-hosted the event, which was part of Philly Theatre Week. 

Over the course of an hour, the panel discussed such themes as the differences between scripted and unscripted theater, the experience of the audience at an improv shows, differences between kinds of improv, how improv is used in other theatrical forms (like devised theater), and the effect improv has on performers, audience and students. 

During the Q&A several audience members asked about techniques used by improvisers, and about the future viability of both scripted and unscripted theater in America, from an economic point of view. One woman came from New York state for the panel - and spoke movingly about the transformative effect improv has on her teenaged students. Another young person spoke about the way improv forces actors to abandon the narcissism sometimes ingrained in young actors. 

Watch out for more events in the future bringing Philly's awesome improv community together! 

You can view a video of the panel here:

And here's a slide show:

Improv is the Future of Theater: a panel discussion

White Pines is excited to announce . . .

A Special Event for Theatre Philadelphia’s Theater Week

Benjamin Lloyd, Artistic Director Bright Invention

Benjamin Lloyd, Artistic Director Bright Invention

 “The impact this ephemeral art form has had on popular entertainment is undeniable. Improv has replaced jazz as America’s most popular art.”   Sam Wasson, author of Improv Nation

An exceptional panel of Philadelphia theater artists will gather for brunch and a spirited panel discussion about improvised and scripted theater, and how improv uniquely satisfies our need for communal artistic experience. The event will shed light on the many genres of unscripted theater available to Philadelphia theater-goers. The panel will include Q&A with the audience and open dialogue. 

Bobbi Block, Artistic Director Tongue & Groove Spontaneous Theatre

Bobbi Block, Artistic Director Tongue & Groove Spontaneous Theatre

The idea for the panel came from Bright Invention Artistic Director Benjamin Lloyd. “I have been thinking for a long time about the future of theater in America – scripted and unscripted,” he says. “I created White Pines with Bright Invention at its center as a new paradigm for American theater, based on the skills of the improviser. When I saw the invitation from Theatre Philadelphia to create events for Philly Theatre Week, I called Bobbi Block of Tongue & Groove Spontaneous Theater and we got to work creating this panel. She will be joined by Philly actor Scott Greer, and Dave Jadico of Comedy Sportz among others!”

Bagels provided by The Bagel Place! Check them out at

Bagels provided by The Bagel Place! Check them out at

•    Date: Saturday February 17, 2018
•    Location: Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Broad and Lombard Streets
•    Doors open 11am — brunch and mingle
•    Panel discussion:  11:30 - 12:30 (or longer, if the discussion warrants!)          
•    Bagels provided; mimosas and other beverages available at the cash bar.


Scott Greer, Philadelphia actor

Scott Greer, Philadelphia actor

¥    Benjamin Lloyd, Artistic Director, Bright Invention: The White Pines Ensemble
¥    Bobbi Block, Producing Artistic Director, Tongue & Groove Spontaneous Theater, Co-founder, ComedySportz Philadelphia
¥    Scott Greer, Veteran Philly actor, former ComedySportz company member; recently performed the one-man hybrid scripted/improvised play Every Brilliant Thing at Arden Theater.
¥    Dave Jadico, Artistic Director, ComedySportz Philadelphia, Actor/Writer and External Relations Director, 1812 Productions
¥    Tara Demmy, Instructor, Philly Improv Theater, Company member, Tribe of Fools
¥    Nick Gillette, Instructor, Philly Improv Theater, Co-Founde, Almanac Dance Circus Theater 

Moderator:   Mark Cofta, Theater Critic, Broad Street Review


Free event, registration required:

White Pines Masque picture gallery

Members of the  Thriller  dance corp!

Members of the Thriller dance corp!

Our first Masque was held Sunday October 22nd at St. Paul's Elkins Park, in their beautiful sanctuary. It was gala fundraiser, aimed at supporting our work with youth in the refugee and disability community. About 75 people attended and saw Bright Invention perform some improv, BEATPEACE play some amazing music, and a crew of zombies perform the Thriller dance from the Michael Jackson music video!

"We are especially proud of the dance," remarked Executive Director Benjamin Lloyd, "since it showcased the kind of radical inclusion we practice at White Pines. It featured members of the board and ensemble of White Pines, and kids with and without disabilities. And one executive director."

Student Elias Rosen (in wheelchair in the photo) and his mother Jill Spector spoke movingly about the impact of having an acting class especially for kids with disabilities to go to. And Director of Education Dani Bryant spoke about White Pines' work with refugee children. She introduced the founder of KXB Studios Klementina Budnik who has led this partnership with HIAS Pennsylvania. Tina spoke about the work she has done with these kids, and her admiration for White Pines. Tina, who teaches animation at White Pines, is an accomplished filmmaker and shot video of the Masque. Look for our Masque-movie soon! 

Board president David Cohen, himself a dancing zombie, remarked "We hope to bring the Masque back in 2018, and generate excitement and support for White Pines programs annually."

Click here to see photos of the Masque!