Jeremy Swanton

Jeremy is a graduate of the B.A. Program in Performance Studies and specialized in the analysis of the performance of everyday life and minored in Business of Entertainment, Media, and Technology. Additionally, during his time at Performance Studies, Jeremy served as the President of the Tisch Undergraduate Student Council.

Jeremy's work plays with the limitations of words and the formation of identity structures throughout time and language.

Outside of NYU, Jeremy is a musical theatre writer, performer, and producer. His work has been performed at 54 Below, Off-Broadway, and at numerous cabarets throughout the city. He is the co-founder of Passion Projects Theatre Company, a nonprofit dedicated to producing new musical theatre works and educating communities about controversial issues through theatre.

Why PS @ NYU?

I chose Performance Studies at NYU because of the incredible individualized attention that this department has to offer. From the second I expressed interest in coming to NYU, the administration and faculty were incredibly helpful and encouraging. It set the tone for the rest of my experience with everyone in this department. They go above and beyond to make sure that you are on the path for success.

Over the course of my undergraduate career, I’ve been able to work with my advisor to tailor a program that encompass all of my interests that simultaneously challenges me academically.

As a Performance Studies student, I had the freedom to double major or double minor in another field if I so desired. What an amazing opportunity to have at a school like NYU! This aspect worked out well for me, as I have a lot of different interests. For example, I was able to take courses in gender and sexuality studies, photography, religious studies, and business. The Performance Studies not only allowed me the flexibility to incorporate me into my degree, but encouraged me to.

I was more than just a student, I was a person. My decisions, thoughts, and projects were met with enthusiasm and observed with the utmost sincerity. I can’t say that happens at every university, and I am grateful to have experienced that here.

The best part is Performance Studies is a small, tight-knit department. The faculty members know me on a personal level and they are truly interested in my academic and extracurricular involvement. We all play our part on this giant stage that is New York City, your world completely changes when you are here. It’s comforting to know that I have a group of people who care about my success, who are invested in my future and have my back. 

Performance Studies is everything. It is enigmatic and indefinable, yet it’s here. With the cultural magnitude of New York, you can experience performance in its true authentic form. You can walk right out of 721 Broadway after class and experience it for yourself every day. That type of immersion is unique to this department, and you will not find it anywhere else.

Areas of Concentration/Study

My interest in performance studies really evolved out of my love of theatre. I have said it before and I will say it again, I am here because I was a little too nerdy for the theatre kids and a little too theatrical for the nerds. Performance Studies is the perfect mix ofacademia and performance. We are analyzing the world of “play”. My capabilities as both a performer and writer have only been strengthened since coming to the department. I know it is because of the analytical training I have had here. They help make your art“smarter”through forcing you to think about every choice that you make and its implication.

I like to apply the lessons that I have learned from Performance Studies and my theatrical experience to my work. Everything is a performance. Especially your identity. I am interested in the works of Erving Goffman, particularly in role theory and its relation to the human condition. If I could say that my concentration is anything it would be the performance of everyday life and the questions that arise from that topic. What does it mean to be a body that is identified as human within this space and time? As humans what limitations are placed for us within this experience and how much of those are manmade? How do words and language filter into our perception of reality? My academic work explores those questions.

I am also interested in how this relates to gender performance. Gender is performative. In the words of Judith Butler, “to say that gender is performative is a little different because for something to be performative means that it produces a series of effects. We act and walk and speak and talk in ways that consolidate an impression of being a man or being a woman.” This in turn creates a lasting impression in the world, making it performative. I question what it means to exist within the gender binary and which bodies get to be seen and why? I am currently exploring all of these questions and topics through my individual performance studies course work. I seek to create change through conversation about these significant questions (and more) in my life’s work.

Other Projects and activities

During my Sophomore and Junior years, I was heavily involved in Tisch Undergraduate Student Council. I was the Alternate Senator for my first year and then became President my second year. Tisch is a school that is very divided due to its internal structure. During my time on the council, I really tried to facilitate connections between the different majors and create opportunities for students. I spearheaded the first ever TUSC Variety Show, which featured students from nearly every department in Tisch. I am grateful to have been able to represent the student body for as much time as I did.

Outside of NYU I am mostly a musical theatre writer. I am a performer as well and really enjoy performing in the projects that I have helped create. There is seriously no better feeling in the world. I recently had a show go up at Feinstein’s/54 Below of my collaborator, Kyle Reid Hass, and I’s original music. In summer of 2017, our original show Science Fair: A Game-Changing New Musical went up at Theatre Row. Science Fair is a show that addresses the opioid epidemic happening in high schools in the Midwest. Since then we have just been writing as much as we plan. We hope to release a cast album of the show sometime this year in addition to staging another production.

Here is a link to one of the songs from Science Fair:

I am also the co-founder of Passion Projects Theatre Company. A nonprofit dedicated to producing new musical theatre works and educating communities about controversial issues through theatre.

I have also worked on several films over the past few years from the production side. My roles on these projects has spanned from producer to boom operator. I do it all. One of the bigger projects that I got to work on was indie documentary project on the musical portraits of composer Scott Wheeler entitled Portraits: The Piano Music of Scott Wheeler. It is currently available on Amazon and iTunes.

I really just enjoy creating and the worlds of my imagination come to life through theatre, music, and film.


"Performance Studies is everything. It is enigmatic and indefinable, yet it’s here. With the cultural magnitude of New York, you can experience performance in its true authentic form." - Jeremy Swanton, BA '18