Matt Saunders

2014 Pew Fellow

1/9: Matt Saunders, 2014 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.
2/9: Angels in America, The Wilma Theater, 2012. Photo courtesy of Matt Saunders.
3/9: Katya Kabanova, Spoleto Festival USA, 2014. Photo courtesy of Matt Saunders.
4/9: Katya Kabanova, Spoleto Festival USA, 2014. Courtesy of Matt Saunders.
5/9: Katya Kabanova, Spoleto Festival USA, 2014. Photo courtesy of Matt Saunders.
6/9: 27, New Paradise Laboratories, 2012, FringeArts Festival. Photoourtesy of Matt Saunders.
7/9: Still Unknown, Subcircle Dance, FringeArts Festival, 2007. Photo courtesy of Matt Saunders.
8/9: Prom, New Paradise Laboratories/Children’s Theater Company, Minneapolis MN, 2006. Photo courtesy of Matt Saunders.
9/9: Bug, Theatre Exile, 2008. Photo courtesy of Matt Saunders.

“Instead of designing scenery, I create complete worlds—fully realized ecosystems that facilitate a given occasion’s live action.”

Matt Saunders (b. 1976) is a multidisciplinary theater artist whose practice is rooted in set design. He has shaped the artistic direction of many productions, including modern and classic plays, as well as devised theater, opera, and dance. “I grapple with the question of how do designs ‘mean,’ which is different from how they may convey meaning,” Saunders says. “I am trying to evoke rather than represent.” Saunders is a founding member and associate artistic director of Philadelphia theater company New Paradise Laboratories (NPL). His award-winning designs have received international acclaim; his design for NPL’s Fatebook was selected to represent American set design in the USA Pavilion at the 2011 Prague Quadrennial. He also received recent praise for his work on The Good Person of Szechuan and The Tempest, both produced at New York’s Public Theater. Saunders received his M.F.A in design from the Yale School of Drama in 2012, and he is currently an assistant professor of design and co-chair for production at Swarthmore College.


Collaborators & Colleagues

James Alan McPherson is the recipient of many national literary awards, including a Pulitzer Prize and a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship award.

On March 23, 2012, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage hosted Alan Brown of WolfBrown, and Brad Erickson and Clayton Lord of Theatre Bay Area, for an event that presented an important national study on the “intrinsic impact” and value of the arts.

Grants & Grantees

FringeArts presents, develops, and commissions a range of high-quality contemporary performing and visual arts in Philadelphia.

Legendary downtown theater artist Richard Schechner asks, “What’s the difference between forgery and art,” between “new” and “original?”

Grants & Grantees

The Arden Theatre Company produced a musical that sketched the artistic life and thoughts of Impressionist painter Georges Seurat and his great-grandson, also an artist.

Now at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, illusionist and performer Geoff Sobelle’s The Object Lesson unpacks the material components of memory.

Interdisciplinary artist Martha McDonald presents a site-specific installation and performance at RAIR’s recycling facility and artist space.

Grants & Grantees

Jim Hinz is a visual artist and a 2003 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

EgoPo Classic Theater transforms classic theater and literature into provocative performances, placing equal emphasis on text, vocals, and movement. Its

Grants & Grantees

Act II Playhouse produces classic and contemporary plays and musicals in suburban Ambler, Pennsylvania.

September 2015 Pew Fellows news highlights: The New York Times features exhibitions from Alex da Corte and Pepón Osorio in its “New Season” picks; Fellows such as Anthony Campuzano and Gabriel Martinez open new installations, and more.

Grants & Grantees

Theater artist Thaddeus Phillips, a 2002 Pew Fellow, will create a new bilingual performance work for theater, inspired by his experience working on Colombian telenovela Alias El Mexicano.