Actor Spotlight: Matthew Leine

IT Careers major portrayed Creon in fall production of Antigone

Matthew Leine, 36, is earning his A.A.S in Network Technology and Security at Inver Hills Community College. Matt is on track to graduate from Inver Hills in May 2023. He had considered transferring to St. Cloud State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree, but he’s now focused on entering the workforce as soon as possible.

“I’m looking to get into the information security field in the area of penetration testing,” Matt said, ” and then working my way toward red teaming, which is simulating an incursion to test a target’s security protocols and systems.”

Matt began his college career at Inver Hills right after graduating from Farmington High School in 2004. He was active in theater throughout high school, performing in Godspell and Romeo and Juliet. In the latter production, he played the swashbuckling Tybalt.

“I got the chance to kill my best friend onstage as Mercutio,” Matt mentioned. “I topped off my senior year as Professor Harold Hill in The Music Man. I was in countless plays growing up—being involved in theater has been part of my life for longer than I can remember.”

Director perspective: George Roesler

George Roesler
“Sometimes you just get lucky in an open audition. Sometimes the right person for the right role happens to show up and walk through the door. This was the case for me at the Antigone auditions.
“When Matt walked in to the audition for Antigone, I thought to myself how lucky am I to have him come to my audition. Matt was a student at Inver Hills many years ago and performed in our production of Oklahoma, directed by Meri Golden. And now here he is again, slightly more mature, and perfect for the role of Creon.
“Matt turned out to be the most reliable person, and I know I could count on him to work hard and help guide my young cast to create a very successful show. In directing Matt, I found him to be enthusiastically experimental and flexible enough to consider alternative ideas regarding character development.
“Matt has the ability to create a believable character, both truthful and focused. I know I can rely on him to be prepared and ready to work hard to achieve the desired results. I look forward to working with him again on future projects.”
George Roesler
Theatre and Communication Studies Faculty
Antigone Director
Inver Hills Community College

Matt’s path back to Inver Hills…

On his first go at Inver Hills, Matt played the part of Andrew Carnes, the farmer father of Ado Annie, in the Inver Hills Theatre production of Oklahoma. As things worked out, Matt could not convey his success as an actor to his academic life.

“I didn’t really have the appreciation for what higher education could provide me,” he recalled, “and I basically failed all my classes and dropped out. I then went on to work in the service and insurance industries for the following years.”

Matt excelled in his duties, making sure he provided his customers with top-level service. While working at Morgan Planning Group as a HIPAA certified and licensed account manager, he increased his knowledge of data protection procedures and best practices. He also worked on the insurance company’s IT help desk thanks to his computer technology skill set.

“I finally returned to school in the fall of 2019 and was taking all online classes at Lake Superior College,” Matt said. “I did not like the online learning experience, but I had to take a concurrent math course at Inver that first semester. I fell in love with the in-person campus environment at Inver Hills Community College.”

The following semester, he switched to all in-person courses and was excited about taking classes with other students on campus, but the COVID-19 pandemic intervened.

“Well, the world had different plans,” Matt said, “and in the spring of 2020, we found ourselves all separated and online learning was a sad necessity. Going to school online during a pandemic was quite taxing, and I will empathize and sympathize with any fellow students who have had to experience what that was like.”

Matt served as a math peer tutor via Zoom during that time. More than one student told him he was the only actual person they interacted with during their first year at Inver Hills.

“That was tough to swallow,” Matt said, “but we made it through and, thankfully, we get to experience the joys of campus life and community once again.”

Antigone cast and crew

Photos courtesy of Matt Leine

Matt Leine Creon gallery

More about Matt…

Matt Leine

Matt is originally from Farmington, Minnesota. He belongs to large blended family, including his mom, Kay Marie, stepdad, Tim, and stepsiblings, Michael and Beth, and his dad, Merlin, stepmom, Karla, and stepsiblings, Brett, Tyler, and Todd. His brother, Jacob, and sister-in-law, Michelle, have three children, Madelyn, Cameron, and Emmalyn. He has four step-nieces and step-nephews, Cooper, Ezri, Austin, and Ephraim.

Matt has one dog, a yellow Lab named Maggie, and one cat, a tuxedo Maine coon named Smokey.

In his free time, Matt enjoys canoeing, camping (Boundary Waters Canoe Area), cooking, cycling, alliteration, hiking, skiing, working out, yoga, mindfulness, reading, road trips, and bonfires. Matt resides in Farmington.

One word that best describes your experience at Inver Hills:


Matt Leine Q & A

Matt Leine
What acting role have you enjoyed the most and why?

My current role as Creon has been my favorite and most difficult role. It’s probably the largest part I’ve ever had. Certainly, the most dialogue.

What do you like best about your role as Creon, Antigone’s uncle?

His commitment to law and order that he executes menacingly and methodically.

What is the most important message the audience can derive from Antigone, a tragedy first written by Sophocles, the Greek playwright, nearly 2,500 years ago?

That even the smallest person can stand in the face of a tyrant and hold their own, even if it means their death. To challenge ultimate power completely and to the bitter end if need be.

When kings demand obedience under the penalty of death, there is still a choice. One can choose death in the ultimate act of rebellion and, even if they aren’t around to see it, they’ve placed a small crack in the king’s power. Perhaps inspiring others in the future to rebel, successfully.

What is the most rewarding outcome of acting in a theatrical production?

The camaraderie that we develop as a cast. We put in the hours and work to make the performance happen. Everyone is crucial to the overall outcome of the play, and we couldn’t do it without all of us being present.

From the smallest part to the lead, to the sound and light techs behind the scenes and, of course, the director! We’re all necessary to give the audience a show. When my fellow castmates express any hints of nervousness about being onstage in front of an audience, I always smile and tell them, “We get to do what many people never do. Perform onstage. It is a privilege, and the audience wishes they could be up here.”

What advice would you give students who would like to be in a college production, but have little or no acting experience?

Go for it! If you don’t audition, you can never try! You might be a natural—acting is just pretending to be someone else in a different situation, but using your physical body and voice to convey the story. That’s it. You might not get the role you want the first time, but learning the ropes and refining your craft is incredibly valuable.

Three words that describe you as an actor:

What advice would you give working adults thinking about returning to college or enrolling for the first time?

Focus on time management and not overloading yourself with too much. If we burn ourselves out, we won’t be able to accomplish our overall goal.

What did you like best about your role as a math peer tutor at Inver Hills?

The gratification I got when a fellow student was able to learn something new. That spark in their eyes and “Ohhhh” got me every time. Probably something to do with mirror neurons and dopamine, but it sure felt good. I respect and envy those in the teaching profession even more after my experience as a peer tutor.

Why did you choose your major at Inver Hills?

I chose information security after I was burnt out by the sad reality of our private insurance industry. Having to give people bad news every year as well as processing death claims for life insurance had taken its toll on me, and I decided I needed to switch paths.

A good friend of mine had always been very happy with his career and would laugh about being able to “work from home” as far back as 2016. I talked to him about options and began my second attempt at college.

Three words that describe you as college student:

What interests you most about your chosen career path?

The ever-evolving nature of the field. Each day can present a new challenge or emergency that needs to be dealt with swiftly and efficiently.

What person has influenced your life the most and why?

I’d have to say my mom. She got me into singing, dancing, and acting. She’s always been there for me and pushed me to do my best. And if I couldn’t do my best, or felt I failed at something, she never judged me and always loved me regardless. Thanks, Mom!

Where do you hope to find yourself in 20 years?

Leading a ragtag group of Zoomers, Millennials, and Alphas through the barren desert of Iowa, returning from a scouting mission for survivors in the upcoming Water Wars.

That or perhaps living on a 40-acre homestead with high-speed internet, chickens, goats, vegetables, along with friends and lovers that know how to brew beer, cook, and dance the night away. We’d be self-sustaining and 100 percent off the grid. I’d be consulting for work and hopefully running a nonprofit that helps those less fortunate.

Antigone gallery

Friday, November 4, 2022, performance

View more performance photos by visiting the Inver Hills Flickr album:


Matt Leine 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Canoeing
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Norway
  3. Most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Solo road trip from Farmington, Minnesota to Zion, Utah
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Delete Facebook 2) Lawyer up 3) Hit the gym
  5. Best book or movie you’ve read or seen lately: Thor: Love and Thunder
  6. Time period (past or future) you would explore if you could time travel: I’m a big sci-fi fan, so I’d really like to see how things pan out in the future; I’m thinking like 500 years, see if we end up with Star Trek or Dune; or maybe we’ll be back to beating rocks together to make tools, but people will talk with some kind of weird meme derived language—Bedrock Be Bussin’ or something like that—could be a TV show!
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in your life: Existing as a positive force for those around me
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: American crow (they’re badass and intelligent enough to exact revenge upon their enemies)
  9. Dream occupation: Global hegemon
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Bernie Sanders
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Sewing and mending clothes
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Anthropomorphic climate change; we’re slowly causing the death and destruction of our planet to feed a machine that is destined to fail; hopefully, we don’t let it take us with it as it dies; humans are the stewards of planet Earth, and we must do better as a whole
Learn more about the Theatre department at Inver Hills by contacting:

George M. Roesler
Theatre and Communication Studies Faculty
Inver Hills Community College

Learn more about Information Technology Careers by contacting:

Admissions Team
College Center

More about the Theatre department at Inver Hills…

Rapunzel and the Frog Prince
The Theatre department at Inver Hills is on a mission. As a student in our program, you will learn we are driven to instill in you a lifelong appreciation for the theatre arts and film studies. Our curriculum will encourage you to develop your performance skills and capabilities.

Stella Adler, the renowned acting teacher, once said: “The theatre is a spiritual and social X-ray of its time. The theatre was created to tell people the truth about life and the social situation.”

Why Study Theatre at Inver Hills?

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz

Take your theatrical skills to the next stage.
The Transfer Pathway A.F.A. in Theatre offers you the powerful opportunity to complete your associate degree and then transfer with junior-year status to a Minnesota State university to pursue a baccalaureate degree in the theatre arts.

Confirm theory through practice.
Our Theatre department offers a wide variety of courses, both practical and theoretical, that will give you the experience and knowledge you need to harness your talent. You can begin by taking introductory film, cinema, and theatre courses that teach you how to view and analyze performances. You can follow through by taking practicum courses that provide hands-on learning in essential theatrical areas.

Spark your magic by acting in college plays.
Inver Hills features two venues ideally suited for live theatrical performances, the 300-seat Inver Hills Theatre and the more intimate Black Box Theatre. The former features three plays a year, including a children’s play in April for elementary school students. Our theatre students have worked on and performed in numerous college productions from Dracula to Jesus Christ Superstar to Aladdin to Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz to Sylvia.

Our faculty live and breathe theatre.
The instructors in our Theatre department bring strong academic credentials and professional experience to their curriculums. Many work on Twin Cities theatrical productions, directing and performing live. The theatrical world is the engine of their lives.

Join a community that lasts a lifetime.
Theatre at Inver Hills provides opportunities for both beginners and old hands, including the chance to participate in student-directed productions through Theatre Club. The sense of a shared purpose gives our department an exciting, interconnected atmosphere. Former students have gone on to become respected professional actors, designers, and theatrical managers in the Twin Cities metro area theatre community.

Theatre tells you how it is.

Alice in Wonderland

Indeed Career Guide offers this advice: “If you love the stage and majored in theatre, there are many jobs in the theatre industry you can pursue. Understanding where you can work and what you can do with your theatre degree can help you determine the best career path for your interests.”

Career Opportunities

Our Town

Theatre arts date back more than 2,500 years to the city-state of Athens in ancient Greece.

Modern theatre in the English-speaking world is exemplified by Broadway, which features 40 professional theatres with 500 seats or more. Dozens and dozens of theatre companies across the U.S. produce plays of all kinds, including dramas, tragedies, musicals, comedies, and improv.

Theatre majors obtain a remarkable range of communication, organizational, people, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills that apply to numerous careers beyond the performing arts.

Some occupations you could consider are attorney, program officer, researcher, policy analyst, advocate, and social services professional.


Information Security Analysts

Install and maintain computer network systems for businesses.

What Information Security Analysts Do
Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems.

Work Environment
Most information security analysts work for computer companies, consulting firms, or business and financial companies.

The median annual wage for information security analysts was $102,600 in May 2021.

Job Outlook
Employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 35 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 19,500 openings for information security analysts are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook (November 9, 2022)

Network Technology and Security A.A.S. at Inver Hills

The 60-credit Network Technology and Security A.A.S. degree program prepares you for a rewarding career in the dynamic field of computer networking and security.

The tremendous, ongoing expansion of the internet, wide area networks (WANs), and local area networks (LANs) require the expertise of IT professionals with the broad knowledge and skills needed to design, manage, secure, and troubleshoot sophisticated information storage, retrieval, and presentation systems.

Coursework explains the workings of networks and systems from desktop and mobile devices to cloud servers that could be located anywhere in the world.

We designed the curriculum to encompass many of the same competencies covered by several recognized IT industry certifications:

  • CompTIA’s A+
  • Network+
  • Linux+
  • Security+
  • Cisco CCNA, CCNP, and CCNA Cyber Operations
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)

As you work toward graduation, you will gain the knowledge and skills universally recognized as crucial for employment in the IT field. As a student in this A.A.S. degree program, you will complete the Network Technology and Security Curriculum (44 credits) and the General Education Curriculum (16 credits) for a credit total of 60.


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