Matt's work focuses on theatre and drama in applied, educational, and community-engaged contexts; theatre for young audiences; audience / spectator studies; and qualitative research methods. He is particularly interested in exploring how performance impacts human experience.
As a creative artist, Matt has directed and/or devised over forty productions and readings with professional and semi-professional theatres; colleges and universities; and primary and secondary schools, including Arena Stage’s Voices of Now program in Washington, DC. As a deviser he primarily creates and mentors students in the creation of ethnographic performances that explore the lived experiences of diverse communities, including people experiencing mental illness, bi/multi-racial students at predominantly white universities, members of the LGBTQIA+ community from religious backgrounds, women, and older adults. He has led developmental workshops for several new plays for young audiences.
Matt was the inaugural recipient of the Johnny Saldaña Outstanding Professor of Theatre Education award from the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE). Other honors include AATE’s Lin Wright Special Recognition Award and the Founders Award from the Educational Theatre Association. At Utah State University he received the university-wide Eldon J. Gardner Teacher of the Year award as well as the Scholar / Creative Artist of the Year, Faculty Mentor of the Year, and Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year awards from the Caine College of the Arts.
An active leader in theatre arts and education, Matt has served three terms on the AATE Board of Directors, as an officer of two arts-focused special interest groups of the American Educational Research Association, and on the American Society for Theatre Research’s Executive Committee.
His publications, which have been cited over 1,000 times, include the books:
- Play, Performance, and Identity (Routledge, 2015) with Drew Chappell
- Playwriting and Young Audiences (Intellect, 2017) with Nicole B. Adkins
- Qualitative Research: Analyzing Life (2nd edition, SAGE, 2021) with Johnny Saldaña
- Impacting Theatre Audiences: Methods for Studying Change (Routledge, 2022) with Dani Snyder-Young
- PhD Theatre, Arizona State University
- MA Theatre Education, Emerson College
- BA Drama, Ithaca College