Proud Stories: Matthew Petrucelli (He/Him/His)
Q: What kind of performance artist are you?
Actor & Educator
Q: When did you first know that you wanted to be a full-time artist?
It was not until I finished my undergraduate degree that I realized I truly wanted a life in art. Shortly after graduating with my bachelors, I became a public school teacher in Newark, NJ. It was at my school that I helped build the drama curriculum for all of the grades between kindergarten and eighth. Throughout my time there, I truly saw how art can inspire and invoke change. Through the medium of theatre, I was able to transcend each student's learning experience. They had fun, gained confidence, and were continually proud of themselves. Teaching there changed my life. It has been from then on that I realized I want to be an artist to continue inspiring and making change.
Q: How are you keeping yourself inspired to create during this unprecedented time?
I cannot lie, it has been challenging. I have, first and foremost, tried to be easy on myself. Not comparing, not putting pressure "to create," and most importantly giving myself permission to just breathe and exist. There is a lot going on in the world around us, and I think it has been vital during this time to reflect and really hone in on what is most important to me. From this, I have actually found a lot of inspiration -- and from there I either voice memo or journal my thoughts down.
Q: What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome as an artist and how did you overcome it?
My biggest obstacle has been the struggle with my sexuality. Truly accepting and loving myself. I am gay, and I am proud of who I am. However, I still find myself apologizing for it. Feeling that I may come across as "too gay," or "too effeminate" for a specific role I may be auditioning for. I am still on the journey of overcoming it, and every day I am more comfortable fully presenting myself to the world. It's important that we all give ourselves permission to truly be who we want to be.
Q: What are you most proud of in your career thus far?
I am most proud of completing my MFA in acting! It was three and a half years of intense work. Going back to school in your adult life comes with its own obstacles, and then add on a rigorous conservatory -- phew!
Q: Is there anything you are working on now that can be shared and supported?
I finished filming a web series, 'Neighbors' -- which I am humbled and grateful to be part of. Neighbors "celebrates love, friendship, people of color, and the LGBTQ experience!" -- Website: www.neighbors-series.com