Meet Vancouver theatre maker, Jessica Anne Nelson.
Jessica is currently directing the University of British Columbia (UBC) Department of Theatre and Film’s final mainstage production, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. Using the Salem witch trials as an allegory to McCarthyism, Nelson puts a feminist spin on this classic piece of American theatre to resonate with audiences today.
With a BA Honors in Theatre from UBC and presently working on her MFA in Directing at UBC, Jessica has worked with a number of Vancouver theatre companies, including The Only Animal, ITSAZOO, The Cultch, and Bard on the Beach.
With a focus on uncovering the full range of the human experiences even within negatively viewed characters, and exploring how we enact our gender in performance and in our daily lives, Jessica will soon begin working on an immersive experience of stories from her grandmother’s life growing up on Commercial Drive during the 1940’s and 50’s.
20 Questions with Jessica Anne Nelson
1. Your first job.
I worked as a pizza maker at Panago. I smelt like pizza for almost two years straight.
2. The job you always wanted as a child?
3. Your pet peeve.
4. Your hero.
My mom and grandmothers, such loving, strong women. I owe them a lot.
5. Your biggest indulgence.
Sweets and shopping! I have a serious sweet tooth.
6. One thing no one knows about you.
I really don’t have anything; I’m an open book. When you’ve been friends with your husband for 16 years, and your best friend for 18 years, they pretty much know everything.
7. Three things you would want with you on a deserted island.
My dog Oliver and my husband Mike – I love them both dearly and couldn’t imagine even one day without them. And my iPad, that magically stays charged, because it has all of my songs, books and audio-books on it.
8. The one word your best friend would use to describe you.
9. If you were not pursuing a career in theatre, what would you be doing right now?
10. Hero or villain?
11. Your life’s motto/mantra.
Be content with what I have now, and don’t take for granted the people that I love and that love me.
12. The song that gets the most play on your iTunes / Spotify playlist.
It’s currently the whole Onegin soundtrack – mainly the song “Let Me Die”.
13. Your favourite play.
I have a favourite musical – Phantom of the Opera – but there are too many great plays.
14. If you were a cartoon character what cartoon character would you be and why?
Francine Smith from American Dad – she’s smart, hilarious, passionate, and strong but also can be kind of ditzy at times.
15. What will it say on your grave marker?
Joyful, loving, and loyal friend, wife and dog mom.
16. Who would you most like to have dinner with?
17. Your idea of happiness.
Working on plays during the day, going home to my wonderful husband at night but in Vancouver, it would have to be summer all the time! I love living here, but I hate being cold.
18. If you could go back in time, what would you tell your twenty year old self?.
To keep going, persevere; life is going to get so much better.
19. The one thing in your life that makes you most proud.
Doing my MFA in Directing because of the work and dedication that is required to go through this program at UBC.
20. To be or not to be?