Matthew J. Robinson '09

Matthew J. Robinson '09

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The Director

BS in Theatre

"SUNY Brockport is large enough to have a reputable name, yet small enough that I wasn't lost in a crowd of other struggling actors. It gave me the confidence to shine."

Matthew J. Robinson had the initial intention of attending Brockport to hone his acting skills. His passion for acting, however, led him to a new path—directing. "When I was applying to colleges, I was convinced that I wanted to act, and nothing else. But, because of the opportunities that I've been given at Brockport, I've found another passion in directing."

Matthew, of Greece, NY, is majoring in theatre. He also is a participant in SOUL (Sexual Orientations United for Liberation), the gay-straight alliance for Brockport, and serves as an officer for the Harlequins Theatre Group. Matthew also is a former resident assistant, which gave him the opportunity to be available when others needed him. "The best thing about being an RA was that every day I could say, 'Hey, I just helped someone.' You were able to watch people grow and change and you knew you had made a difference in their lives."

Matthew has acted in the Brockport Festival of Ten performances and took his theater skills overseas. "We went to Hungary to perform in the Festival of English Language Drama. I had a role in a comedy in the Festival of Ten and I was afraid the Hungarians wouldn't laugh—but they did. It was the most remarkable experience."

Matthew then took the other fork in the road in theater; down the path of directing. He has directed the Harlequins Student Theatre production of Free Will and Wanton Lust by Nicky Silver and Out the Window in the Brockport Festival of Ten. His senior project at the College is directing a portion of the play Angels in America. He also is an intern at the Geva Theatre Center, observing the professional production of Evie's Waltz.

A person who has influenced his passion for the theatre is actress Lizan Mitchell. The Brockport Department of Theatre featured her in a Geva Theatre Center Stage Directions Conversation. Mitchell, who was in the Geva Theatre Center production of Gem of the Ocean, spoke about her life as an actress. "She spoke about how she spent the majority of her younger life making back-up plans in case she didn't make it in theatre. Until one day, she realized that if she put all of her energy into her theatre career rather than half into theatre and half into waiting tables, it would work out—and it did. She has been pursuing her dream ever since."

His learning experiences in the classroom have made an impact on Matthew's career. "All the teachers at Brockport have such diverse backgrounds in theatre, which adds to the knowledge pool from which to learn. It also gives you a chance to work with many different kinds of people and learn different directing and acting styles, which you will encounter when you go into the professional world."

Buddha once said, "What we think, we become." Matthew guides his career by this quote. He is anticipating a chance for a year-long residency internship in directing and producing at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, NJ. His ultimate goal is to become a professional director working for a regional theater. He attributes his success to his determination. "If you want something to happen—go after it and it will happen."

Last Updated 7/12/21