Tickets on sale now for the Lion King Jr!

Click HERE for more information


Classes and summer camps are now completed for the 2014-2015 year.

For more information about the Academy For Creative Excellence year-round classes, please attend our upcoming parent information session:

Fall Registration Information Coming Soon

Please check back on August 10th, 2015.  In the meantime, please drop us an email at


Fall Registration and Class Placement Auditions

Saturday, August 22, 2015



If you want to inspire a life-long love for opera and musical theatre and offer your student an opportunity to be engaged in the highest possible standard of performing arts training and performance experience in the central Kentucky area, this program is for you!

Mary Joy Nelson has been teaching youth and children in the performing arts for over 18 years. She is the founding director of the Academy of Creative Excellence for the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre and for Broadway Bound summer programs.   Under Ms. Nelson’s leadership, the A.C.E. program has grown from 35 students (2009) to over 250 students.  A.C.E. has received Outstanding Production and other prestigious awards at the Junior Theatre Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, has debuted pilot productions of new musical theatre works for iTheatrics (New York, NY), and has seen its students cast in regional and national broadway and opera productions.

As a vocal coach, musical director, and casting director, Ms. Nelson has worked on numerous musical productions, including UK Theatre Department (A Christmas Carol 2013, Spring Awakening 2013,) and UK Opera Theatre children’s choruses and children’s operas (Les Miserables 2013, Brundibar 2012, La Boheme 2007/2011, The Little Prince 2004 and It’s a Grand Night for Singing 2008-present).  Ms. Nelson has also had the privilege of directing/teaching for the Saskatchewan Choral Federation, Saskatchewan Express Summer School Productions, ArtSchool Saskatchewan, North Battleford Children’s Choir and Teen Choir, North Battleford Community Youth Choir, and Centenary United Methodist Youth choirs.   In fall 2010, she served as the Youth Coordinator for the World Equestrian Games opening ceremonies, preparing 156 to perform in the opening ceremonies of the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, KY.  In partnership with Global Creative Connections, Ms. Nelson has prepared children’s vocal ensembles to perform for former president Bill Clinton at the Lexington Speech and Hearing Foundation Gala (2010) and for Laura Bush at the “Day Among Friends” Literacy Event (2011.).




The Academy for Creative Excellence would like to thank the following entities for their support: