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Popovich Receives Arts Educator Award

The Dearborn Community Arts Council has awarded a Mayor’s Arts Award, the Arts Educator Award, to Dr. George Popovich..

Mayor’s Arts Awards are given annually to an educator from the greater Dearborn community who has provided students with exemplary educational opportunities and has shown the importance of the arts and leads by example.

The Mayor’s Arts Awards for 2014, presented by the Dearborn Community Arts Council will be held Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 7:30 PM in Studio A at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center.

George Popovich was born in Monterey, California. He received B.A. and M.A.Degrees in English from the California State University and a Secondary Teaching Credential and Community College Teaching Credential from the California State University. He received an M.A. in Directing from the University of Texas and a Ph.D. in Theatre from the Ohio State University. He has taught secondary school full-time in California, Ohio, and Texas and University and Community College in California, Texas, Ohio and Michigan.

He is a graduate of South Coast Repertory Acting Conservatory, which won a Tony award for best regional theatre in the United States in 1988. While in California, Popovich founded the Tustin Theatre Guild, a professional acting company. He directed professionally in California at The Cabrillo Playhouse, Laguna Playhouse, and The Sandcastle Players.

He has been the full-time Director of Theatre Arts at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan since 1985. Popovich developed the Associate Arts Degree in Theatre at HFC and founded The New Playwright's Workshop in 1996, which produces new plays by Michigan playwrights.

Popovich's productions of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Macbeth, The Grapes of Wrath, The Tempest, and The Skriker have been honored by the Kennedy Center's American College Theatre Festival. He has directed and acted in over 400 productions at the college, professional, and community theatre levels and has designed scenery, lights, costumes, makeup, special effects, and sound for over 220 productions. He is the Director of HFC's Virtual Theatricality Lab. Dr. Popovich is a member of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education .

In 1993, he received The Dearborn Mayor's Arts Council Award for best Performer/Artist and in 1995 he was inducted into The Dearborn Theatre Hall of Fame. His productions have won over 35 Press and Guide Entertainment awards, including 3 awards for best director and awards for best sound design, best non-musical, best musical, best special effects, best makeup, best lighting, and best technical director.

Popovich's articles on film, performance theory, and digital theatre have appeared in many scholarly journals and his essay on the advanced theoretical applications of computer-generated theatrical scenery were included in Theatre and Cyberspace, a book of critical essays. His dissertation on modern science fiction films serves as a reference work for scholars in the United States and in Europe. His inter-disciplinary course "Science Fiction and Horror Films" is one of the most popular course offerings in the Fine Arts Department. Popovich's opinions on film are often quoted in various media.

His virtual reality production of The Tempest was a regional winner at The Kennedy Center's American College Theatre Festival at Illinois State University, January 2004. He directed the 2006 production of HFC's Virtual Theatricality Lab, Caryl Churchill's The Skriker. He is listed in the 2007 and 2008 editions of Who’s Who in America for his pioneering work in digital theatre through The Virtual Theatricality Lab. He was invited to the Kennedy Center's American College Theatre Festival in January, 2007 to give a Motion Capture Workshop. Popovich, along with Virtual Theatricality Lab Team member Alan Contino, won the Michigan Education LAND award for best innovation team, January, 2007 and the Community College Innovation League Award, in March, 2007. In October, 2007, Popovich's Virtual Theatricality Lab was visited by Dr. Guangyao Bai, Vice President, The National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts Beijing, China. His Virtual Theatricality Lab was a national finalist for The Bellwether Award in November, 2007.

From 2007-2011, Popovich developed several new VTL classes, including a course in greenscreen videography, 3d stereo videography, film acting, and motion capture acting, a Motion Capture Certificate, and presented several workshops for The Screen Actors Guild.

Popovich has a role in the film Misled completed in November, 2012. Misled had its world premiere in February, 2015. Misled starred a former student of Popovich’s, Jonathan Stanley.

Popovich directed Dinosaurus! in November, 2014. Dinosaurus was a production of HFC’s Virtual Theatricality Lab, which uses advanced cinema technology to enhance live stage shows. Dinosaurus! featured 3D animated dinosaurs interacting with live actors. Dinosaurus! broke all HFC Theatre Box Office records and was attended by many Metro area elementary schools. Over 50% of those schools were from Dearborn. Dinosaurus! was featured in over 20 newspapers and in over 100 trade papers and was favorably reviewed by Encore Michigan, Michigan professional theatre magazine.