Junior Nate Sweeney takes the stage in a lead role and finds community through his milestone in theatre performance.


A double-major in Social Programming and Liberal Arts with a minor in Psychology, Nate decided on Social Programming because of the practical applications it served for a future career. Ultimately, he is most driven by his second major in Liberal Arts with a concentration in literature/creative writing that has complemented and fueled Nate’s passion for entertaining others.

“One of my dreams in life is to entertain, and a good way I think I can do that is through writing,” he says. “I want to learn from stories others have written and bend the rules of fiction to make something unique and recognizable. Besides being genuinely fascinated by the mind and human behavior, I’m also hoping my minor in psychology will help me compose characters equally real as they are frightening or fantastic.”

Due to his love for entertaining, it’s only natural that Nate possesses a love for acting and pretend. “I like the commitment to a different self or characteristic,” he adds. “Performing for a crowd is like a game where everyone has to take the rules seriously…but then mid-sentence, when you get over the stage fright, you remember it’s all for fun.”

Meaningful Milestone Performance

Without a doubt, Nate’s most favorite performance was his role in MSJ theatre production his sophomore year, “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley.” Directed by Director of Theatre Arts, Lauren Carr, this play is a sequel to Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” novel:

The main character, Mary is growing tired of her role as dutiful middle sister in the face of her siblings’ romantic escapades. When the family gathers for Christmas, an unexpected guest sparks Mary’s hopes for independence, an intellectual match, and possibly even love.

Nate played the lead male role of Sir Arthur De Bourgh, and this was the first show he performed at the Mount that was one large story, rather than undertaking an anthology or segmented parts. Instantly, Nate felt incredibly accomplished after hearing he landed it, increasing his confidence in theatre that much more and providing him the opportunity to experience life through someone else’s eyes.

“It made me feel like I had more talent than I thought. Throughout rehearsals, it was a unique experience to tune down my more energetic and comedic personality in order to portray someone quiet and contemplative…someone who wasn’t really sure how to express themselves. I enjoyed the part tremendously!”

An Arena of Self-Discovery & Friendship

Leading up to a performance, the theatre rehearsals and meetings on campus welcomed students in a positive environment, providing them the chance to express both their opinions and creative mannerisms.

While many classroom environments tell their participants, ‘there’s no such thing as a stupid question,’ Nate personally feels that theatre is one of the few places where the best questions are the most nonsensical. “You can literally ask if a character would step with their left foot first or their right, and it has a chance of leading to a serious in-depth conversation about history and the meaning of our actions,” he says.

As a result, Nate made a great amount of friends in the cast who have all been a part of many pleasant memories for him as they learn and laugh together—flexing their empathy muscles and understanding what it means to be human in a shared space.

“By learning to play other characters, you get to learn about people with really fun people,” he says. “I had so much fun goofing around backstage with my cast mates. Often the really important onstage decisions were made while we were having fun during rehearsals and trying new things.”

Applause to MSJ Staff

Almost instantly after arriving to the Mount, Nate’s MSJ experience went from being a school to a second home both in the classroom and beyond. As a commuter student, he regularly finds himself spending the entire day on campus when only having one class for the day.

“I remember being so nervous in high school about what the college experience would be…but honestly everything has been much calmer and mentally supportive than I was expecting. Frequently, I get so caught up in the topics of certain course lectures that I continue the discussions in my free time by meeting professors in their office. I’ve easily gone over an hour taking up their time, but everyone always seems eager to talk with their students!”

Nate gives a warm thank you to professors Dr. Drew Shannon and Elijah Prewitt-Davis for their book and tv recommendations, as well as meaningful conversation that he treasures.

“I just cannot emphasize enough how excited I am to come to school each morning! Even the most stressful days seem easier to get through at MSJ,” Nate exclaims.

Interested in MSJ Theatre? Learn More!

Combining supportive training from professional artists and top-notch productions, Theatre Arts is open to all of the MSJ community.

Our process-based training creates a welcoming environment where all feel a sense of belonging as we work together or create artistic performances. Visit our MSJ Theatre Arts page to get involved!