As you cultivate your own talent, you will be joined by world-renowned Emerson faculty – distinguished directors, producers, writers, actors, performance artists, and educators with national and international experience. You will be given the chance to work hand-in-hand with these professionals; Emerson faculty members serve not only as your teachers but as your mentors and peers as well. Learn more about our faculty and stay up-to-date on department news and events.

Your Graduate Program Director Bethany Nelson will serve as your primary faculty advisor, guiding you on course selection to ensure that you will achieve your learning objectives and satisfy the program requirements. You will also receive program and department news from your program director along with any on- and off-campus opportunities that might be of interest to you.

Meet Your Graduate Program Director

  • Bethany Nelson
    Pronouns: (She/Her/Hers)
    Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director
    bethany_nelson@emerson.edu
    • Department Performing Arts

    Bethany Nelson not only teaches her students how to be theater educators, but she also represents the kind of educator her students want to be.

    After studying theater education as an undergraduate at Emerson College, Nelson began her career as a drama specialist working in devised theatre with adolescents, then in public schools using drama and theatre as tools for facilitating learning in core subject areas.  After working in urban schools, Nelson discovered the power of drama and theatre to inspire both students and teachers, and to improve learning for struggling students. She says: “Students who had given up on interest in learning came alive in drama; it’s a uniquely powerful tool that can help kids realize themselves as learners.”

    Her work since has revolved around this potential. After earning advanced degrees in multicultural education and the arts, Nelson has focused on playmaking and devising as vehicles for facilitating students’ understanding of the dynamics of privilege, and for helping them develop their agency as voices for change. In the classroom or the rehearsal room, she strives to make the theater education program reach beyond schools to empower developing community groups through the vehicle of theatre.

    In acknowledgment of her efforts, Nelson received the 2018 Ann Flagg Multicultural Education Award from the American Alliance for Theatre Education. Deeply influenced by graduate school faculty mentors, Nelson is dedicated to sharing her knowledge and to ensuring her students' success.

Current Graduate Faculty List