Matt Fotis, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Theatre, Department Chair, Director of Undergraduate Research
Center for the Arts 216
Ph.D. in Theatre, University of Missouri
M.A. in Theatre History & Criticism, Illinois State University
B.A. in Communications & Theatre Arts, Monmouth College
Matt Fotis is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Albright College where he teaches improvisation, acting, and writing for performance. He received his PhD in Theatre from the University of Missouri, where he was a Raymond White Dissertation Fellow. He holds a Master of Arts from Illinois State University where he received the James L. Fisher Outstanding Thesis Award from the College of Fine Arts, and a BA from Monmouth College. He is the author of Long Form Improvisation and American Comedy: The Harold, which garnered him The Dr. Henry P. and M. Page Laughlin Distinguished Faculty Award for Research, Satire & The State: Sketch Comedy and the Presidency, and the co-author of The Comedy Improv Handbook. His work has appeared in Theatre Journal, Theatre Topics, The Journal of American Drama & Theatre, Theatre/Practice, The Encyclopedia of Humor Studies, The Encyclopedia of American Studies, McSweeney’s, InsideHigherEd, and MLB.com. He is also an award-winning playwright, whose work has been produced or developed at such places as The Lark, The Playwrights’ Center, The Kennedy Center, The Great Plains Theatre Conference, Emerging Artists Theatre, MATC Dramatists Play Lab and many others. His plays have won The Mark Twain Prize for Comic Playwriting, UCM’s Theatre for Young Audiences National Playwriting Competition, and the Sonoma County Repertory Theatre’s New Play Competition. In addition to his work with the Domino Players, he runs Albright Improv, Albright Sketch Society, and The Children’s Theatre of Albright.
Areas of Expertise
Improvisational Theatre, Political Satire, Playwriting, New Play Development, Writing for Performance, Sketch Comedy, Political Humor, Comedy Studies
Areas of Research
- Satire & The State: Sketch Comedy and the Presidency, Routledge Press, 2020.
- The Comedy Improv Handbook, co-written with Siobhan O’Hara ’14, Focal Press/Routledge Press, 2016.
- Long Form Improvisation and American Comedy: The Harold, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012
Articles & Essays (select)
- “Sketch Comedy in the Age of Trump, or, A Snowflake Does a Political Sketch Revue at His ‘Liberal’ Arts College.” Theatre/Practice.
- “Political Satire in the Age of Post-Truth.” Academic Minute.
- “Satire is Changing – Have You Noticed?,” History News Network.
- “How Being a Cubs Fan Has Made Me a Better Father.”
- “Shakespeare without SHAKESPEARE: The Improvised Shakespeare Company,” Americana: The Journal of American Popular Culture.
- “Performing Fatherhood,” Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies.
- “Jonathan Goes to Washington: The Stage Yankee, George W. Bush & The American Presidency,” The Journal of American Drama & Theatre.
- “Call it Friendo – Flipism & Folklore in No Country for Old Men and The Dark Knight,” Riddle Me This Batman: Essays on the Universe of the Dark Knight.
Conference Presentations (select)
- “Using Improv Skills to Edit New Plays in Rehearsal,” part of the session “Directors Reworking Improvisation: Innovations in the Use of Improvisation Techniques for Directing and the Directing Classroom,” Association for Theatre in Higher Education.
- “The Rise of Verbatim Satire,” Association for Theatre Research.
- “Making the Invisible Work of Improvisation Visible: Advising, Refining, and Defending the Value of Improvisational Performance with Campus Improvisation Groups to Foster Positive Change,” Association for Theatre in Higher Education.
- “Del Close: The Madness & The Brilliance – The Invocation,” Association for Theatre in Higher Education.
- “Color/Advance/Reincorporate – Using Improvisation in the Playwriting Classroom,” Association for Theatre in Higher Education.
- “The 96-Hour Theatre Collaboratory – A New Spin on the 24-Hour Theatre Model,” Mid-America Theatre Conference.
- “Teaching Brecht Through Political Sketch Comedy,” Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association Conference.
- “Spontaneously Developing Narrative Using Status,” Association for Theatre in Higher Education.
- “Sketch Comedy in the Age of Trump,” Mid-America Theatre Conference.
- “Storytelling on Screen,” Reading Film Festival.
- “Improv as Capstone – Synthesizing History & Practice,” Association for Theatre in Higher Education.
- “Working with Harold,” Association for Theatre in Higher Education.
- “Long Form Improvisation: The Three Pulls,” Association for Theatre in Higher Education.
- “Inspiration in Long Form Improv – The Opener.” Mid-America Theatre Conference.
- “In Defense of Sketch Comedy: Re-visioning its Place in the Theatrical Hierarchy.” Mid-America Theatre Conference.
- “Revising the Way We Teach Revision in the Playwriting Classroom,” Mid-America Theatre Conference.
- “ACRES of Improv,” National Communication Association Conference.
- “Slow Comedy vs. (&) Originality in Long Form Improv,” Association for Theatre in Higher Education.
- “Shakespeare without SHAKESPEARE: The Improvised Shakespeare Company.” Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference.
Albright Creative Research Experience Projects (ACRE)
- “Yes, And…”: Creating an Improv Curriculum to Help Children with ASD Increase their Social and Behavioral Communication Skills, Matt Ortiz (2020)
- New Play Development for Traditional and Non-Traditional Plays, Alex Hermans (2020)
- The History of Sketch Comedy, Joey Love (2019)
- The Streets Are Paved in Gold – History & Practice of Satiric News, Joey Love (2018)
- Cover Your Mouth! Using Theatre to Teach Kids Healthy Habits, Maura Sheehan (2017)
- Theatre of the Absurd & Contemporary Young Adult Dystopic Literature, Rachel Roseman (2015)
- Performing Identity in Brighton Beach Memoirs, Ellie Smith (2015)
- Theatre for Young Audiences, John Tallarida (2014)
- Playwriting for Young Audiences, Tyler Ryan (2014)
- Less Than or Equal To Improv Handbook, Siobhan O’Hara (2013)
Domino Player Credits
- The Big House, co-writer/director, October 2022
- C’mon America, or, Hindsight is 2020, head-writer/director, November 2020
- Scene Changes, director, April 2020
- America: The Play! The Play About America, writer/director, February 2019
- Almost, Maine, director, February 2018
- Make Democracy Great Again! or, the Most Important Election of our Lifetime…That Is Until the Next One, head-writer/director, November 2016
- Marybeth Mary Roth, writer/director, September 2015
- Brighton Beach Memoirs, director, April 2015
- God of Carnage, director, September 2013
- Short & Sweet, writer/director, February 2013
Artistic Director, Albright Improv – 2012-present
Children’s Theatre of Albright
- Dungeons & Dumbos, director, May 2019
- The Adventures of TV Cat, writer/director, May 2018
- Charlie Whit & The Missing Museum, writer/director, May 2017
- The Magician & The Germ, co-writer/director, Feb 2017
- The Reading Eagle, co-writer, May 2016
- Operation Balding Eagles, co-writer, May 2015
- Gustav, The Goose Who Wouldn’t Fly, writer, October 2014
The Alright News Half-Hour Hour Report, with Joey Love ’20
Local theatrical credits include work with The Reading Theater Project, The Goggleworks, The Yocum Institute, and The Boscov Improv Players.
Satiric Essays have appeared in McSweeney’s, Extra Newsfeed, Satire & The State, The Haven, and The Monocle of Higher Education.
FYS100 – American Comedy: Race, Gender & Politics
THR101 – The Creative Process
THR150 – Acting Studio I
THR252 – Acting for the Camera
THR255 – Improvisational Theatre
THR260 – Playwriting
THR280 – Script Analysis
THR283 – Sketch Comedy
THR283 – Stand-Up Comedy
THR289 – Great Ages of Theatre II
THR361 – Screenwriting
SYN312 – Satire & The State
SYN315 – Baseball & American Culture
THR491 – Senior Seminar