Is this biased as I am a theater major? Yes, BUT I strongly believe that every Swat student should take Theater and Performance with Professor Matt Saunders no matter what their major may be. In fact, I especially encourage you to take this class if you have limited experience with theater and feel a bit out of your depth with this art form. This is an introduction to theater class and is the most welcoming introduction you could hope for.
Starting off with the most exciting aspect of this class is the fact that you will be able to see professional theater for free! I went into Philadelphia countless times for this class and as I was a freshman at the time, this class really helped me get familiar with the wonderful city that’s only a train ride away from Swarthmore’s campus! I even got to go to New York City to see a production of The Bacchae for this class. The trips to see all the different shows and plays were so much fun and I had a blast talking with my fellow students about the productions on the way back home.
This class does an amazing job of introducing you to all different types of theater without ever making you feel overwhelmed or out of your depth. My only real experience with theater growing up was through my community theater. My high school didn’t have a drama program so I only had the local community theater and they solely did musicals. Despite my only familiarity being musicals, I never felt like I was incompetent or completely lost. Matt does a fantastic job of introducing students to all the different forms of theater in a very accessible and welcoming way.
Speaking to my personal favorite aspect of the class, I absolutely loved having Matt Saunders as my professor. I was very scared and nervous as a freshman and had trouble speaking in class, but Matt would try and get me in on the discussion without ever putting me in the spotlight and making me uncomfortable. He’s a very laid back professor who is very understanding of the fact that his students all have different levels of exposure to theater before his class. In my class, we had students who had gone to theater specific high schools, people who had only seen a few productions in their life, and those who only took the class for the writing credit. He knew this and helped work with us. If you’re someone who has very little experience with theater I highly recommend this class! You will be welcomed warmly and will get to experience theater without any judgment. Matt is also just a very cool guy to talk to about theater with as he is also a professional set designer.
Theater and Performance is one of my favorite classes I’ve taken at Swat and I cannot recommend it enough! It counts as a writing credit, you get to see tons of performances in big cities like Philadelphia and New York City for free, and you’ll have Professor Matt Saunders there to help guide you through all the different forms of theater!