Photo by Fritz Liedtke
Rich has been immersed in the life of Eric Liddell since 2000 when Liddell's niece Peggy Judge gave him a tour of the Eric Liddell Centre in Edinburgh, where he pored through family photos and out-of-print biographies. The Edinburgh Fringe performances were in the lunchroom where Eric Liddell ate his meals at the University of Edinburgh. It was transformed into a theatre space, and it was 100m from Liddell's dorm room and 100m from McEwan Hall, where Liddell graduated. Rich's performances have also taken him to Le Stade de Colombes in Paris, where Liddell broke the world record, and to Tientsin, China, and a track Liddell designed, the home where he lived and a church where he preached. He's interviewed people that remember Liddell on four continents, including all three of Liddell's daughters, two of his wife's siblings, one of his students, and numerous people who were interned with him in China.
Rich was a writer for the documentary Olympic Hero in China: The Eric Liddell Story, for which he recorded the English narration. He is working on turning some of his one-man plays into feature films.
Rich has lived in New York City since 1993, where he's acted in a number of productions for stage, film, radio, and several of the films in which he's performed have been aired on television. He has been featured in about 30 film projects, most notably the lead role of Mitchell Little in Providence, (shown in select AMC Theatres February, 2016), the lead role of Frederich Lehman in Indescribable, the featured role of Dr. Bonneville in Beyond the Mask, the featured role of Claud in A Christmas Snow, the principal role of Coach Sean Ryan in For the Glory, and the featured role of Sheriff Hanson in the award-winning Pawn's Move, the featured role of John Gray in In His Steps, the featured role of a land speculator in Alone Yet Not Alone, Hollywood director Forrest Woods in The Screenwriters, a quirky clerk in Christmas Grace, a lead in the short film Settled, the featured role of Dr. Bonneville in Beyond the Mask, the featured role of a land speculator in Polycarp: Destroyer of Gods, the featured role of a homeless man in Confessions of a Prodigal Son, the featured role of a newscaster in Creed of Gold, and the featured role of Nigel Livengood in Princess Cut. For the complete lineup visit IMDb.me/RichSwingle and RichDrama.com/Films.
He performed as The Apostle Paul for CD and DVD in God of Hope. He played the narrator and all other roles in Paradise Lost, which was featured at the International Double Reed Conference. In the "audio movie" The Dragon and the Raven he performed three featured roles and one principle in a cast with John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings, Beyond the Mask), Helen George (Call the Midwife), and John Bell (The Hobbit). He and Brian Deacon (Jesus in The Jesus Film) played brothers. For the Beginners Bible video series, distributed by Sony Wonder, he did 20 roles including Jesus, Adam, and the Serpent. He recorded two projects related to the September 11th attacks: Crossing Barriers and Stage Shadows. He has performed voice-overs and on-screen roles in several commercials. He originated the roles of Simonides and Pontius Pilate in the musical Judah Ben-Hurin Singapore, and he performed five poems by George Herbert at The Kennedy Center.
Rich has co-directed with John Kirby (acting coach on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, DéJà Vu, Count of Monte Cristo) on Tartuffe and Our Town, during which Rich performed the role of the Stage Manager, and The Miracle Worker. He worked with Patricia Mauceri (Broadway: Othello with James Earl Jones, film: Don Juan de Marco with Johnny Depp and TV: One Life to Live) to direct The Crucible, The Jeweler's Shop by Pope John Paul II, Twelve Angry Jurors, and Much Ado About Nothing. The last three plays were performed in Theatre 315, and Off-Broadway space.
Rich's shorter works have shared the stage with numerous musicians including Margaret Becker, Bob Carlisle, The Martins and Fernando Ortega.
Rich was on the planning committee for Media and Arts at the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town, South Africa, and he is on the board of Christians in Theatre Arts, through which he was selected as a leader and Featured Dramatist for CITA to the Nations, a trip to Jordan and Israel in which he taught, directed, performed and organized others to do the same for students in Amman, Jordan. Then they performed biblical sketches where they took place in Jordan and Israel.
Rich is a Freedom Finder for Graceworks, helping presenters in a variety of fields overcome stage fright and connect with their audiences through seminars and project coaching.
He has performed and/or taught workshops in over 40 colleges and universities, including his alma mater, George Fox University (rated the number one Christian college in the US by Forbes and US News and World Report), University of Memphis, Namseoul University in Korea, Singapore Bible College, and Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary in the Philippines. Each spring he teaches a workshop at Princeton University. Rich also spoke at the Ivy League Congress on Faith and Action, hosted by the Harvard University chapter of Christian Union.
He received his master's degree in theatre from Hunter College, where he studied under Eric Bentley (C. S. Lewis was his advisor at Oxford), Tina Howe (playwriting: nominated for the Tony Award, Pulitzer Prize and winner of the Guggenheim Fellowship), Patricia Sternberg (sociodrama: a student of sociodrama's inventor, Jacob L. Moreno), Jerome Coopersmith (screenwriting: screenwriter for An American Christmas Carol and many of the original Hawaii Five-O episodes), Jonathan Kalb (criticism: critic for the New York Times).
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