Matthew Earnest’s many productions of new and classical plays, operas, musicals, and his own original works and literary adaptations have been seen in NYC, Canada, across the U.S., Europe, and in Africa. Originally from Texas, where he won both the Dallas Theater Critics’ Forum Award for Directing and the Dallas Observer’s Best of Dallas Award at age 23, Matthew has been an associate artist at Germany’s English Theatre Berlin since 1999, and at The REP/University of Delaware since 2001. From 1995-2007 he was Founding Artistic Director of the internationally-acclaimed touring company deep ellum ensemble, based in NYC, where he wrote and directed many pieces, including The Josephine footnote, Doctor Tedrow’s Last Breath, Ch’ien-nü leaves her body., 6 white plates, The Jilting of Granny Weatherall (from the story by Katherine Anne Porter), and blood pudding.
Today, in addition to maintaining an active career as an independent director, Matthew is Founding Artistic Director of The Lunar Stratagem (currently on hiatus), where he has written, directed, and choreographed [glug], Can You Forgive Her?, Dead Letter Office (a prelude to Bartleby the Scrivener), I, Ca$$ie… or The end of days, and Street Haunting, a site-specific, interactive iPlay based on the essay by Virginia Woolf. The more text-based of these pieces are published and are available for purchase here.
Matthew has twice been granted permission by the family of Bertolt Brecht to translate that playwright’s works for his own productions, and he has translated/adapted other European dramatists as well, including Wedekind, Chekhov, Ibsen, and Büchner. Matthew was profiled in American Theatre magazine for his 2010 production of Wanderlust: a History of Walking, which he adapted from the bestselling non-fiction book by Rebecca Solnit, created with an Access to Artistic Excellence grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and premiered at Cleveland Public Theatre prior to its NYC premiere at the Ice Factory. Matthew’s US premiere of Madrid-based playwright Juan Mayorga’s Himmelweg (Way to Heaven) ran Off-Broadway for nine months in 2011 after receiving The New York Times Critics’ Pick, and in summer 2014, Matthew was among a group of artists invited to Tijuana, Mexico to participate in TCG’s International Artistic Collaboration Forum.
Matthew’s NYC productions include: The Public Theater/Joe’s Pub, Gramercy Arts Theater, Teatro Círculo, Museum of Jewish Heritage, Ice Factory, Ontological-Hysteric Theater, Washington Square Church, Present Company Theatorium, Midtown International Theatre Festival, The Bridge Dance-Theater Series at WAX, KGB’s Kraine Theater, NY International Fringe Festival, Chelsea Arts Theater, One Dream Theatre, and NADA, Inc. His regional work includes: Theatre Three (Dallas), Independent Shakespeare Company (Los Angeles), Amphibian Stage (Fort Worth), Daniel Arts Center (MA), The REP (DE), Texas Shakespeare Festival, Hilberry Rep (Detroit), Cleveland Public Theatre, Adirondack Theatre Festival (NY), Beck Center for the Arts (Cleveland), DStv Festival (Ethiopia), Dublin Festival Fringe (Ireland), Warehouse Theatre (SC), Burning Coal Theatre Co (NC), Stoneleaf Festival (NC), Stillwater Theatre (NC), Porthouse Theatre (OH), Theatre Outlet (PA), Shakespeare Festival of Dallas, Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck (NY), Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival, Kitchen Dog Theater (Dallas), FIT Festival (Dallas), Arlington Opera (TX), and Moonstruck Theatre (Dallas).
Matthew has taught graduate and undergraduate students, led workshops, and directed productions at many universities, including Coastal Carolina University, Marshall University, University of Rochester, Ohio Northern University, University of North Texas, Meredith College, and Kent State University, where in 2008 he succeeded Ping Chong, Vincent Dowling, and other master theater makers as the Roe Green Visiting Director. A Drama League Directing Fellow, Matthew was selected for Richard Foreman’s Blueprint Series for Emerging Directors in 2002. He has created works with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, ArtNY, and other foundations, and in 2008 he served as an adjudicator of new plays at the American College Theater Festival.
Matthew’s many awards include a Carolina Curtain Call award for Directing and Production of the Year, Best Local Production (Fort Worth Weekly), Berkshire Stage and Screen’s Best of 2013, a Wilde Award (nomination), The New York Times Critics Pick, The Cleveland Scene’s Best Director Award, an Audience Favourite Award (Dublin Festival Fringe), a BIFF Award (New York International Fringe Festival), Outstanding Alumnus (UNT), a Dallas Theater Critics Forum Award, and the Dallas Observer’s Best of Dallas Award, among others, and his productions have been cited on Top 10 lists in major newspapers around the U.S. His work is highlighted in the recently published book, The Director’s Vision (Catron & Shattuck), and in numerous masters’ theses and doctoral dissertations, from Kent State University in Ohio to Cambridge in the UK.
Matthew holds an MFA in Theatre Directing from York University, Toronto, and is a member of SDC, the labor union of professional theater directors and choreographers in America. He teaches Directing at Marymount Manhattan College, and he lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with artist and stage designer William Bezek.