I'm honored to share that I've been named OSA's third Artistic Director by a panel of arts teachers and administrators. I'm excited to continue and expand our artistic and community partnerships, bridge the arts and academics, and be an advocate for all of the schools of art and for arts education in general. I'll also continue my work in making OSA an official CTE (Career Technical Education) pathway school.
I'm currently a fellow with the Career Technical Education/Career Pathways Institute and working in collaboration with the California Department of Education. In my role I am developing career technical curriculum for performing arts programs in secondary schools across California. By May it will be on CTE Online for teachers to use. Stay tuned!
The world premiere of my short play The Little Mermaid had a great run at OSA in December, directed by OSA faculty member and TBA Award-winning director Nicole Helfer. Thanks to the OSA community for the warm reception!
I'm excited to share that I've been commissioned by the Throckmorton Theatre (formerly 142 Throckmorton for those of us who've been here long enough to remember!) to write a panto that combines "The Empreror's New Clothes" and our current presidential administration. It almost writes itself...but come see what develops! Opens in December for a limited holiday run. Details soon!
Along with the inimitable musical theatre scholar and fellow OSA faculty member Becky Potter and opera luminary and fellow faculty member Marie Plette, I'm getting down to work on a new version of THE THREEPENNY OPERA to debut April 2018. We hope to partner with the Goethe Institut and offer related events (lectures, symposium). Stay tuned for more info and for heads-ups about readings and workshops.
Matthew's new play The Oresteia will have its world premiere at Oakland School for the Arts. Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus, all three plays will be presented between April 20-30, including two full trilogy cycles on April 29 and 30. Visit osa-theatre.com for information about the production. You can purchase tickets here.
After a successful staged reading of Agamemnon at the Berkeley City Club on Friday 9/2, I'll be announcing soon a date and location for a staged reading of Electra in October, featuring actors from Ubuntu Theatre Project, OSA School of Theatre faculty, and freelance artists. Check back for more details.
The first part of my new version of The Oresteia will be given a staged reading at Central Works (at the Berkeley City Club) on Friday, September 2nd at 7pm. There will be a talk-back afterward with the actors and director. This will kick off a series of staged readings for each of the three parts (as I finish them) in different locations around Oakland and San Francisco. The complete cycle will be mounted at Oakland School for the Arts in April 2017. Soon I'll announce that a local theatre company will produce The Oresteia in Summer 2017. Check here for further news!
I'm looking forward in a little more than a month to the second year of the SF Summer Arts Collective, a residency program that connects younger artists with older more established peers. Unlike a traditional classroom, this residency is focused on the creating of art as a means of mentorship in itself. The two-week program will end in a gallery showing and performance of works in progress. I'll be heading up a playwriting and site-specific performance component. I'm looking forward to working on (and debuting parts of) my new version of The Oresteia which I'm hoping to announce soon will be a cross-generational co-production between Oakland School for the Arts and a local professional theatre company (check this blog for updates).
I've embarked on a new verse version of The Oresteia which has a contemporary slant and speaks to issues of social justice. I've been inspired by Aeschylus' trilogy for many years, and after writing a similarly updated version of The Trojan Women last year I wanted to revisit epic Greek theatre that speaks forcefully and poetically to contemporary urban America. As with The Trojan Women, I'm thrilled to write The Oresteia for the students of the OSA School of Theatre, of which I'm proud to serve as the chair, and to co-direct this epic with Amy-Marie Haven. TBA Award-winning choreographer Nicole Helfer will choreograph.
Check back soon for a preview of the script, which will be available for production after it is premiered in April 2017.
I'm excited to announce that I've been appointed to an advisory position at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (which comprises the De Young Museum and the California Palace of the Legion of Honor). I will be developing curriculum that connects students with objects in the Legion of Honor's collection. Since visual art plays a large role in my teaching of literary and cultural theory, I'm thrilled to share my background and interests (in pre-modernist art particularly) with Bay Area students in an authentic and intellectually rigorous way. My goal is to reduce the barriers between a diverse student body in San Francisco and the museums' collections, and to do so in an authentic and culturally relevant way.
I'm excited to announce that I've written a brand new verse version of Euripides' tragedy The Trojan Women which will be premiered at HEART OF OAKLAND on 2/4/16 at 7pm. The event is being held in the Fox Theatre in downtown Oakland and is a way for Oakland School for the Arts to connect with the city that gives the school its name. Each school of art at OSA has been given fifteen minutes to show what it does best. The School of Theatre (of which I'm proud to be the chair) is preparing a piece with particular relevance to Oakland. This new version of The Trojan Woman retains the classical feel and the Trojan War context of the original, but it has been updated to reflect the loss of young men of color to systematic oppression. A cast of nearly fifty School of Theatre students of all ages and grade levels will bring this piece to life. While this is a community outreach event first and foremost, any net proceeds will benefit arts education at OSA.
Tickets can be purchased online: http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/1C004F73FAE7455C
Prices range from $10 to $50 for VIP seating and commemorative art print. Please join us for this important and exciting event.
I'm thrilled to share that I've been granted permission by the British Library to examine selected autograph manuscripts and personal effects of Gerard Manley Hopkins and Christina Rossetti, two of the most acclaimed poets of Victorian England and among the most talented in the English language.
As a teacher and literary scholar I take great interest in Victorian poetry and the works of Hopkins, Rossetti, Algernon Charles Swinburne, and Alfred Tennyson. The Victorian period was a time of both traditionalism and significant innovation in poetry and offers fascinating issues to wrestle with in the areas of poetics, gender norms, and social change.
I'll be sure to post reports of my encounters with these artifacts, and probably a picture of me screaming and crying as if I were a teenager at a Beatles concert.
Over the summer I had the privilege to partner with Salome Milstead who is a local visual artist, filmmaker, and fellow educator. We created the San Francisco SummerArts Collective, a two-week residency at Workshop Residence in San Francisco dedicated to bringing together emerging artists and established artists for the purposes of making art. View my work and the work of my fellow artists at: http://www.sfsummerarts.com/blog.html.