Meet Our Instructors

Julie Nottingham

Executive Director

Julie Nottingham has a B.M. in Vocal Music Education from Butler University. She has taught private voice and piano lessons for nine years and currently teaches privately for YIT and for Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School.  Julie has previously taught elementary music and produced several musical productions while in education.  Julie has also directed, choreographed and vocal directed productions throughout Hamilton County including Christian Youth Theatre, The CAT Theatre, The Artists’ Studio and Moriah Musicals.

Julie has performed in many productions including Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre, King’s Island Paramount Theatre, Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre, and several others. Julie is the proud mom of 4 kids and wife to an Indianapolis Firefighter.

Heather Rider

Assistant Executive Director

Heather has been dancing, acting and performing for the last 30 years. After opening her first
dance studio at age 17, she went on to get a degree in dance and theatre, a minor in youth ministry and a concentration in screen acting from PBA University in Florida. She has studied tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, modern, worship, musical theatre and various acting techniques; as well as in London and New York. Heather is passionate about both performing and teaching, having danced or acted in over 50 productions and on-screen dozens of times. She has taught in various studios across the country, developed her own children’s theatre company in Colorado and has directed and choreographed for over 20 shows. Instructing students individually in acting, audition technique, screen acting and dance is also something she’s spent years doing and hopes to always guide students’ hearts as well as their talents and techniques.

Lisa Williams

Executive Administrator

Lisa is honored to join the team at Youth Inspirations Theatre as Executive Administrator. Earning her B.A. in English (Secondary Education) from Hanover College, Lisa has worked with various children’s theatre groups for 20 years. In addition to directing many local school productions and variety shows, Lisa was a Founding Member of Christian Youth Theater (CYT) here in Indy and serves on their scholarship committee. She also held the following roles for CYT: Area Coordinator, Summer Camp Coordinator, Teacher, Show Chair, Parent Committee Chair and Assistant Director. Lisa just finished her term of Vice President of the Behind the Scenes Club at Carmel High School and is a big supporter of the local theatre scene. At The Cat Theatre, Lisa is the Artistic Director and one of the founders of Carmel Apprentice Theatre. You might see her in Westfield during her day job as the Teen Librarian at Washington Westfield Public Library. Much love to her understudies at home, husband Josh, children Zane, Piper, Egan & two Chiweenie puppies, Zuko & Cha Cha.

Kayla Brandt

Voice Instructor

Kayla Brandt is a Musical Theatre performer, teacher, and marketer. She graduated from Anderson University in 2019 with a B.A. in both Musical Theatre and Entertainment Business with a minor in Marketing. During her time at AU, she was cast in shows ranging from opera to jukebox musicals. She sang for IdleWild and Soakzone, a theme park in PA, through RWS Entertainment Group for two summers, and most recently was a performer for Walt Disney World Resort. When she’s not onstage, Kayla likes to teach theatre workshops and pursue digital marketing as a freelancer.

Amanda Gwin

Instructor/Play Co-Director

Amanda calls Indianapolis home. She lived in New York City for five years 2008-2013 where she had the pleasure of stage managing on such shows as Forbidden Broadway (Off Broadway), Avenue Q (Off Broadway), Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Broadway), and many more. She also toured with Artspower National Touring Theatre with Madeline and the Bad Hat, and Rainbow Fish all over the United States. She is a Proud member of Actor’s Equity. Amanda started teaching theatre as a senior in high school. She helped start a drama camp at the YMCA where she later began working with Rai Ortman. She has taught at many different studios in Indiana, Tennessee, and New York. She loves bringing her passion for theatre and teaching to her students. Amanda believes skills learned in the theatre arts can enrich a child’s life and prepare them for the future even if it does not become their career path.  Her hope is that her students gain experiences from being apart of a theatre community. One that will make a positive and lasting impact.

Rai Ortman

Play Co-Director/Instructor

Rai Ortman has been a part of the theater community since she was 6yrs old on stage at Footlite Theater. Growing up in a tough neighborhood in the inner city, the theater became her escape and safe haven. Throughout High School and into her college years, she worked for the Lilly Theater in the Indianapolis Children’s Museum as a performer and house manager. Rai went on to study Theater and Mass Communications at Indiana State University. She and Amanda have co-directed shows and camps for 15+ years together. Most recently they have directed the drama club and play at Carmel Middle school where they also charted an award winning Jr. Thespian Troupe. As both a person with a disability and a biracial woman, Rai has a desire to provide quality theater education and opportunities for youth of all abilities and ethnic backgrounds. Rai strives to produce shows/programs that can be an escape but also accurately and honestly represent the world we live in. She desires to help empower students to project and use their voice both on and off stage.

As a performer Rai has been a part of many productions at various theaters including Footlite, Lilly Theatre, Grace Church and local commercials. She lives on the eastside of Indianapolis with her husband who is a video producer/audio engineer and  their 3 children.

Allison Nimtz

Virtual Piano Instructor

Allison has been playing piano for 25 years and teaching for 15 years. She studied piano, voice, violin, and acting at Millikin University before transferring to Ball State to earn her Bachelor’s degree. One of her favorite music memories was studying Opera in Italy during college. Allison’s teaching approach is to start with the basics and then appeal to each individual child’s unique interests. Music can open so many doors and give so much joy! Let us help you and your child experience the joy of playing piano!