George Nelson

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George D. Nelson graduated from Brigham Young University in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in theatre and cinematic arts. He received a masters of fine arts from the University of Washington in 1979.


He is presently a professor at BYU with a dual appointment in the David O. McKay School of Education and the College of Fine Arts and Communications. He currently advises Divine Comedy, a humor group at BYU. As a professor, director, and educational consultant, his work and influence has been felt in a wide range of institutions and educationally oriented organizations. The curriculum he has created has been used internationally to help teachers and trainers better reach their dramatic learners. Nelson travels extensively giving workshops, lectures, and in-service training for teachers, professors, and administrators.

In 2012, Nelson, the Divine Comedy cast, and Elizabeth Funk, his co-adviser, traveled to Los Angeles to attend professional workshops. Also in 2012, Nelson was featured on BYU Radio, where he talked about his experiences while living in Calgary and New Jersey. He also directed Ariel Mitchell's creation, A Second Birth, in 2012.

In 2013, Nelson directed BYU's Microbust Theatre Festival production, which consisted of seven ten-minute plays written by BYU students. The production was performed in February 2014 at the Kennedy Center American College Theater (KCACTF) in Los Angeles, where it was recognized for distinguished achievements in Production of a New Work, Direction of a New Work, and Ensemble Acting. Plays were contributed to Microburst Theatre Festival by Chelsea Hickman, Katie Jarvis, Chauntel Lopez, Amberly Plourde, Taryn Politis, Amanda Welch, and Amy McGreevy.

In 2014, Nelson trained professors at two Polish universities, teaching dramatic methodologies to engage learners. The same year, Nelson received a grant from the Laycock Center to produce the musical Trailer Trash, later called Single Wide. He worked with Jordan Kamalu, a commercial music student. The script was selected as a Next Link Project to be performed at the 2015 New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMTF). It is a tremendous honor, and Single Wide will receive a complete production at the festival with a budget, dramaturgy support, and access to workshops and agents. BYU graduate Jeff Whiting was chosen to be the director. In March of 2015, the musical was awarded the Blanche and Irving Laurie Musical Theatre Award from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

In November of that year, Nelson directed the musical Paint My Eyes, a musical written by BYU student Jamie Erekson. This project was also funded by the Laycock Center. In 2015, the Microburst Theatre Festival was held again in March with seven new ten-minute plays. Nelson was again the director.

Later in that month, Nelson directed BYU's production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast with Mark Johnson as musical director and Becky Phillips as choreographer. Although the songs and scenes remained the same, Nelson directed the play to focus more on the spiritual aspects of unconditional love and redemption throughout the play. The production focused more on humanistic changes and the beast inside of people rather than the outward expressions of magic and fantasy as portrayed in the animated film.

He has received numerous teaching awards and has been recognized by the American Alliance for Theatre in Education with the Linn Wright Special Recognition Award for his work with incarcerated Dramatic Learners.

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