The Naples Players’ very own Captain von Trapp, aka Matt Schwabauer, moved to Naples from Atlanta just after Hurricane Ian. He works as a carpenter at our neighboring Gulfshore Playhouse and is delighted to be onstage at TNP simultaneously!
“Before moving, I researched different theaters in the area because I knew I wanted to work on both sides of the stage if I could. I have been paid to act in the past but I was up for volunteering – it was important to me to have something I could plug into right away.”
Atlanta to Naples might seem like a big move, but Matt has experienced his share of moving around!
“I’m a bit of a nomad. I grew up as a Navy brat – my dad was a Navy Chaplain and we moved around a lot. At one point, we lived in Italy for three years. As an adult, I kept moving and getting blown around by the wind. My friends joke that I’ve lived many lives!”
No stranger to theatre, Matt started appearing on stage as young as 8th grade. “I was in my first one act that year. During my freshman year of high school, ironically, The Sound of Music was the first musical I was ever in – I played Friedrich. It feels fitting to get to play Captain von Trapp after so many years of doing that. I genuinely love the show, it’s one of my favorites.”
Matt continued studying theatre in high school and college.
“I was at my first high school for two years and then we moved again, so I was in a different high school in a different state the last two years. That was one of the more difficult moves. I had a strong trajectory at the first school, but the second one was great and I integrated really well. After that, I got my BA in performance and creative writing at Hope College in Michigan. From there, I took a long hiatus for four years. Once I came back, I got into doing Shakespeare and all that good stuff.”
Matt worked at Gordon College in Massachusetts as a technical director and production manager. “I was a team of one and I had to really pull from the skills I learned in school. Even though I avoided tech as much as possible in my undergrad, this job turned out to be the dream job I really wanted. I had all of these students their freshman year and I would give them a questionnaire asking for their interests and what they wanted to learn, etc. Some would initially say that they only wanted to participate in front of house, and then later on they became a star carpenter. All of it put together was what really fueled my passion; getting to invest in people but also getting to make great art.”
Just before moving to Naples, Matt had returned to theatre again after a six-year hiatus.
“I did community theatre in Atlanta and was in On Golden Pond and it felt natural to be back on stage. When I got here, people at work told me to audition for TNP. Even in my research before arriving in Naples, TNP seemed like the most legit community Théâtre in the area.”
All of us at The Naples Players are grateful to each and every one of our volunteers – from our longtime regulars to our newbies!
Matt explains that he was welcomed from the moment he set foot in the theatre.
“The audition process was a well-oiled machine and I felt so secure. I had the usual nerves come in but it was easy to brush aside because the atmosphere was really comfortable. I wanted to be somewhere that was putting on really high-caliber work and somewhere I could stretch myself artistically.”
A warm welcome to Matt and congratulations on your first production in TNP’s Blackburn Hall. All of our staff and volunteers love to get new volunteers into the mix!
If you’re new to the area or just new to volunteering at TNP, don’t hesitate to join the fun. Test your skills at the next audition or contact Pamela Larkin Caruso today at 239.434.7340 ext.104 to find out what other opportunities there are backstage and front of house!