George Roesler has been teaching theatre at Inver Hills Community College for 34 years. Born in Waseca, Minnesota, and a resident of St. Paul, George earned a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre with an emphasis in directing and a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Theatre with a minor in art from Minnesota State University, Mankato. As part of his M.F.A., he completed a two-year internship at the Guthrie Theater, an experience he credits with showing him the inner workings of really good theatre. George also has an Associate of Arts from Rochester Community and Technical College.

“I started at Inver Hills in the fall of 1980,” George said. “Ron Wiger, the theatre director at the college for years, was a Mankato graduate. Ron was taking a sabbatical and he called my professors at Mankato to see if they had anyone who could take his place—and they called me. I was his one-year replacement. That turned into two years, that turned into three years and that turned into permanent. I was very lucky.”

George reported that the Inver Hills Theatre does three plays a year, including a children’s play in April for students in area elementary schools. The theatre puts on a musical every couple of years. George has directed numerous plays at Inver Hills over the course of three decades, most recently The Seagull and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Jesus Christ Superstar, a musical, stands out in his memory, as do Frankenstein and Dracula, both dramas. He also directed a version of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night set in the mod period of the 1960s.

 “I don’t teach down to my students,” George said, regarding his teaching philosophy. “I’ve kept the courses so that students have to work to come up and get something out of them. Essentially, I’m working for my students. I owe my students everything I can give them.”

Building relationships with his students is one aspect of teaching that George finds most rewarding. He wants to make a difference in some small way in their lives He also noted that the A.F.A. in Theatre is a wonderful opportunity for young people. “Theatre at larger high schools is thriving,” he said. “Hundreds of students audition for plays. It’s a great way to participate.”

His advice for students thinking of pursuing the A.F.A. in Theatre centers on hard work and determination. “Theatre is a tough profession and one of those areas where you have to work your way up,” he said. “But I don’t believe achieving success in the arts is any more difficult than making it in business, IT or math. Apply yourself and focus and you can make a career.”

Every summer, George directs plays for Shakespeare & Company at the Outdoor Theatre Complex on the west campus of Century College. Last summer, he directed Macbeth; the summer of 2014, he directed As You Like It. “People bring blankets and picnic baskets,” he said. “It’s a really good experience.”

George’s wife, Bobbi, is a management consultant for the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Bobbi also works as a costumer for George’s summer plays. They have two daughters, Megan, a St. Paul firefighter and paramedic, and a graduate of the Inver Hills EMS program, and Briana, a teacher and abstract painter with a B.F.A. in Art from the University of Wisconsin, Stout.