Matt Saunders

30 Nov 2016


Matt Saunders, 2014 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.


Angels in America, The Wilma Theater, 2012. Photo courtesy of Matt Saunders.


Katya Kabanova, Spoleto Festival USA, 2014. Photo courtesy of Matt Saunders.


Katya Kabanova, Spoleto Festival USA, 2014. 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.