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Harold Oaks

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Emeritus Professor of Theatre Dr. Harold R. Oaks has been chosen as the namesake for the Theatre for Young Audiences/USA (TYA/USA) award for significant contributions from organizations or individuals in the field of professional theatre for young audiences. Dr. Oaks served as the President of TYA/USA for eight years, and President of the international organization (ASSITEJ International with centers in over 70 countries) for three years. The Harold Oaks award has been presented to Joette Pelster (2013), the People’s Light & Theatre Company (2013), Scot Copeland (2014), and the Metro Theatre Company (2014). The 2015 recipients will be announced in May.

Much of Dr. Oaks’ work has been in professional theatre for young audiences, and his many contributions to the area merit the honor of being this award’s namesake. He founded the BYU Young Company (formerly the Whittlin’ Whistlin’ Brigade), which performs abridged classics and traditional fairy & folk tales for younger audiences and serves as a training ground for BYU actors and directors wanting to work with young audiences. The Company celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. At the request of the Church, Oaks also developed a series of substance abuse and health-education puppet shows that have been used in more than two dozen countries around the world and translated into more than 16 languages.

He has held offices and served on many boards for theatre associations including as President of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education and as Vice President of The American Theatre Association. He has received teaching and research awards from Brigham Young University, including the BYU Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 2011. He also received the Medallion of the Children’s Theatre Foundation and the Gold Medallion of Excellence from the American College Theatre Festival.

Dr. Oaks was a professor in the Theatre and Media Arts Department at BYU. He served as the department chair from 1980 to 1993 and as an Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications from 2000 to 2002. As a student, he received a bachelor’s degree in speech and drama and a master’s degree in dramatic arts from BYU. He received his PhD from the University of Minnesota.

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Christian Vuissa

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LDS Filmmaker Christian Vuissa received the Visual Arts Star Award from the SCERA Center for the Arts at the 2015 Presentation of the Star Awards. The awards and ceremony honor individuals and groups who have made significant contribution to the arts in Utah County and beyond.

Vuissa’s career in film began just a few months after graduating from Brigham Young University’s film program in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in media arts studies. He was hired to adapt the book ‘’Baptists at our Barbecue’’ to film. To facilitate his work on the film, he founded the production company Mirror Films in 2003, and the film was released the following year. After a few years in the film business, Vuissa received an Executive MBA in 2008 from the BYU School of Management.

Vuissa is the writer, director, and producer for many other popular LDS Films, including Silent Night (2012), One Good Man (2009), and The Errand of Angels (2008), which was filmed in his native Austria.

Besides being a successful writer, director, and producer of LDS films, Vuissa is also the founder and president of the LDS Film Festival. He created the festival in 2001 while still a film student at BYU. The festival is held every year in Orem, Utah, and provides a place for LDS filmmakers to network with each other and showcase their work. Since it’s establishment, the Festival has premiered dozens of theatrical releases, screened hundreds of films, and awarded over $40,000 in cash awards to young LDS filmmakers. The Festival launched the popular 24-hour filmmaking marathon, the 7-page Script Competition, and the Short Film Competition, and the winners have often taken their products and won prizes and awards at festivals nationwide.

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The Brigham Young University College of Fine Arts and Communications provides information on groups and persons associated with the college--either by employment, study, or performance--as a service to our readers. Statements or opinions expressed by external links or persons written about are provided on the wiki. However, views expressed by people or groups featured on the wiki do not necessarily reflect those of the BYU College of Fine Arts and Communications or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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For more information on the College of Fine Arts and Communications wiki page please consult our Purposes of the Wiki article, featured below.

Any misleading, incorrect or inappropriate content found on the Wiki page can be reported here: cfachistory@byu.edu.

The Purposes of the Wiki

Fine Arts Faculty, 1925.


1. To create a record of the organizational roots of the College of Fine Arts and Communications at Brigham Young University and its departments, places, significant events, professors, students, alumni, friends, and benefactors – and how they have contributed over time toward fulfilling the mission of Brigham Young University.


2. To provide a forum in which college alumni can record their contributions and performances; their experiences with teaching and learning; the ways in which they were mentored and influenced as students in this college, and how they are using their acquired skills to further their careers.


3. To recognize all who have been associated with the college who have made significant, national and international contributions to their fields.


4. To allow those who have been associated with the college over the years to be co-authors and collaborators in writing the college history.

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