Derek Nelson

Derek Nelson

Class Year


Current home

Wales, United Kingdom



Current Position

Film actor in the United Kingdom

“Carthage Theatre best prepared me for the real world in several ways. The first is by bringing in guest artists to write commissioned work. It was a great way for me to start networking before being thrust into the ‘real world.’ There were connections made from the plays I was involved in that have already led to new opportunities. Secondly, the Theatre Department really let us branch out in what we studied on our own, forming clubs like the Neil-Futurists that encourage writing new works. In a career that requires you to forge your own path of success, learning how to write your own work is a crucial skill for your toolbox.

Right now I am an acting apprentice at Actors Theatre of Louisville, which is a job I got from doing a show at Carthage. I am playing the Monster in “Dracula,” which is a show that has been running for the past 17 years. This role has led to me receiving my EMC card. I just closed an ensemble-generated show “Actually, Actually” and am currently working on a solo show.

My advice to current students is that in this business networking is so important. You never know when you will get a job because of someone you made a good impression on. Never burn bridges. Reputation is so important. Establish a good reputation early on, along with a great work ethic. Be the person they want to work with. The monologue is only part of why you will get cast, you have to be someone they want to spend the next six weeks with. Also, read as many new plays as possible. Be educated on what’s currently happening in your specific area of theatre. Go see shows, different types of work to really understand what draws you in and what type of theatre you want to pursue. Finally, don’t neglect the business side of things. Research theatres you want to work with and don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. If you want to do theatre, go out and do it. Make your own path.”

Are you a Carthage alum who is excelling in your field?


“If you want to do theatre, go out and do it. Make your own path.”

Derek Nelson, ’12