Drama based training & actors for business

Drama based training & using professional business role-play actors  has proved to be the most effective way to train managers and staff in all aspects of people skills.

Throw away the PowerPoint bullets and use a training company that engages everyone every time.

Nelson Training has been leading the way with using professional role-play actors and interactive drama for the last 14 years, has won multiple awards and saved customers the costs of the training many times over. For a video of Viv Nelson and the Nelson Training Team in action there’s a YouTube video taken at the 2015 Standing Conference for Heads of Media Services. We offer accredited CPD from the CPD Standards Office for many of our drama based training sessions.

Drama based training uses scenarios that reflect the problems that delegates are actually facing and allows delegates to work through these problems and the skills they need to resolve their issues. Using drama-based training overcomes many problems that managers and staff of all types of organisations have with conventional training methods. Techniques such as forum theatre and live case studies using drama with a touch of comedy (whilst keeping things real!) engage the most hardy cynic.

  • Boredom

    Showing an endless array of PowerPoint bullets and then reading them to delegates has been proven to lead to very low levels of learning retention. Using realistic scenarios and interactive drama with professional business role-play actors has been shown to lead to very high levels of engagement.

  • Role-play

    Delegates often dread role-play as it forces them to take part in an artificial scenario without acting skills. Not everyone wants to be part of an amateur theatrical group. Delegates interacting with professional business role-play actors suspend belief and quickly engage.

  • Lecturing

    Just listening to a long, boring lecture leads to attention rapidly falling. Most non-professional speakers lack the skills to engage over a long period. Drama based training is interactive and so people are permanently in think mode rather than listen mode.

Nelson Training uses corporate drama with great success for a wide variety of people skills subjects such as  performance managementmotivating yourself and othersabsence managementhandling conflict,  communication and presentation skills .

Nelson Training also makes professional business actors available for other training providers and organisations that wish to use their own facilitators and trainers. We have a couple of helpful blogs for companies wanting to hire corporate role-players or business actors: How to Choose Business Actors and Tips For Hiring Business Actors.

Viv Nelson, Nelson Training’s Founder and Managing Director, has written an academic paper on the history and uses of drama based training in business training and the reasons for its effectiveness as a business and management training tool.

If you want to learn more about adding drama to your business training then contact Viv Nelson personally at viv@nelsontraining.co.uk or call 01684 311287 from the UK (+44 1684 311287 from elsewhere)


Training for Everyone

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Nelson Training Client Feedback

“Just wanted to say thank you to you all for really getting the right feel of all the scenarios, and managing to do such an effective job with such humour, making the afternoon so much more enjoyable than people would have expected.

It was really well done, and it’s broadened my attitude to different ways of engaging groups.”

Chris Chambers, Clinical Telehealth Facilitator, Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Group

Not run of the mill. Good value for money. Good grasp of current management issues – relevant”

Helen Dyer, Halesowen College

“Professional approach to training needs. Offers drama based training that’s enjoyable and produces good results. Delegates always enjoy the day”

Amanda Farmer, Coventry City Council, Training and Development

“Practical, down to earth, make learning engaging- never bored at Nelson events

Caroline Hunter, Medihome Learning & Development Manager

“Accommodating company, flexible, approachable, bunch of great people, top of their game, good reputation, actors make training enjoyable and humorous.”

Lindsay Whistance, Customer Services Training Advisor South Staffordshire Water

Innovative, effective, especially with interpersonal skills and any other people management topics.”

Elaine Freelove, Personnel Officer, Jephson Housing Association


Nelson Training feedback from a recent management open course

“Excellent. Thoroughly enjoyable. Lots of useful tips to put into practice.”

Jo Adams, Collections Manager, Echo Managed Services

“Very good and well presented. It was fun to be involved, and that it was not a Power Point Course!”

Sukvinder Sond, Snr. Manager, Halfords Auto Centres

“Excellent Course, relaxed but intensive, great fun, loads of ideas, Highly recommended, Thanks!!”

Jonathan Franks, Assistant Registrar, Halesowen College

Fantastic two days. Learnt a lot. Met a group of people who I will remain in contact with.”

Anita Cartmell, Supported Housing Manager, Worcester Community Housing


Jennifer Soley, Snr Housing Officer, Nexus Housing

See some of Nelson Training’s results here

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Meet the Nelson Training Team

A Passion For Training

Training that people want to go to…

We have come a long way since it all started in 2001 and Nelson Training was conceived to eliminate all the major turn-off’s on a training course. It’s time to share what the Nelson Training team have learned with you. This website is to inspire you, inform you, and help you make the right decisions about your training, conference, film, or e-learning.

Since we started we have had bags of fun, learned shed loads, and made lots of mistakes but along the way we’ve tried to create the best quality and best value drama based training company in the UK. That’s it….but there’s so much more to it than that ..

It’s creative and great fun designing training sessions with you and for you, especially when harnessing it to performing arts! What is more challenging, yet essential is making it ‘stick’, making it ‘work’, and then measuring the results ..and that’s where we can help you. It’s all very well having the ‘wow’ effect on the training if (heaven forbid!) staff go straight back to work and do exactly what they did before.

Training must be an investment for your organisation, not a cost and our job is to help you make it just that.

Meet the Nelson Training team

Viv Nelson
Managing Director

Viv Nelson, founder, leader and inspiration of the Nelson Training team

I came to drama-based training rather late in life after spending many years in teaching and training. I had always wanted to be a teacher but got rejected from 8 teacher training colleges when I was 18 so I abandoned that plan and studied instead for an HND in Business Studies in Flintshire College of Technology. On my first day I met a chemistry student called Jon Mortimer and got married 3 years later!

Following the HND, I read social science at University College Cardiff gaining a 2:1 and not content with spending taxpayers’ money to study, went straight to Warwick University and got my first masters degree in industrial relations.

Following 3 years working for the (then) Central Electricity Generating Board, I began working as a lecturer. Solihull College was where I was to spend the next 18 years … lecturer, head of department and training consultant. Along the way, I picked up two more masters degrees: M.Sc in Training from Leicester University and then an M.Ed from the Open University. I am currently studying Performance Studies at Worcester, since I have been harnessing it for training purposes since 1998!

My quest is to make training fun, to make it stick and to make it pay for itself! Along the way I have been very lucky in working with a great bunch of actors and of course Jon………. It’s what makes the Nelson Training team work!

Jon Mortimer
Director & Company Secretary

Dr Jon Mortimer, technical brains behind the Nelson Training team

I met Viv on her first day at Flintshire College in 1972. I was studying chemistry there whilst working for ICI. We both went on to University College Cardiff after we got married as it was somewhere that would take us both. I gained my PhD there and went on to work for the Coal Research Establishment.
After this I began lecturing in the department of Mathematics and Computing at the University of the West of England where I gained a Professorship and ran two major European Union projects

Following this I went on to act as consultant to Airport Commercial Ventures and WorkNorth (both venture capital companies supporting technology based businesses) and was Campus Ventures Visiting Fellow to Manchester University. Whilst there, I developed their business management training programme for high technology companies and went on to work with the development of a number of technology based businesses. In my spare time I picked up an MA in music from Birmingham Conservatoire which has come in handy for writing the music for Nelson Training videos.

I joined Viv three years after Nelson Training team started, as it evolved to the training company it is today. During this time, I also studied film at the University of Bristol School of Drama which enabled us to develop video and e-learning production within the company.

Over the last 10 years I’ve become increasingly interested in diversity and inclusion issues in the workplace and have developed CPD accredited courses in workplace equality with particular reference to the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty. I’ve also developed effective drama based programmes in bullying and harassment which have been widely taken up.

Nicola Rozier
Office Manager

Nicola Rozier, the office manager that makes the Nelson Training team work

Nicola is everyone’s first point of contact at Nelson Training.

The Nelson Training team’s amazing office manager, she emails and calls all the customers, arranges the actors and makes sure they know where to go, manages Viv and Jon (an epic task in its own right!), keeps the accounts and the diary and ensures everything runs smoothly.

An ACCA and BA Econ (London) she has been with us for the last four years.

She is also our Centre Administrator for all CPD matters and is responsible for the maintenance of all administrative procedures including learner registrations, maintenance of assessment paperwork, verification documents, recording and storing of all information (electronic and paperwork) relating to the CPD.