Matthew Spangler is a playwright, director, and professor of performance studies based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
His plays have appeared on London’s West End (at Wyndham’s Theatre and the Playhouse Theatre), off-Broadway at 59E59 Theatre, the San Jose Repertory Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Cleveland Playhouse, San Diego Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse (staged reading), New Repertory Theatre, Poets’ Theatre (Boston), Western Stage (Salinas, CA), Theatre Calgary, Citadel Theatre, Nottingham Playhouse, Liverpool Playhouse, Oxford Playhouse, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Brighton Festival, the National Steinbeck Center, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the Avignon Theatre Festival, among other theatres and festivals. His adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner received five San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics’ Circle Awards: Best Original Script, Best Overall Production for a 300+ seat theatre, as well as awards for Lighting Design, Scenic Design, and Sound Design (produced by the San Jose Repertory Theatre; directed by David Ira Goldstein).
His other plays include Tortilla Curtain, adapted from the novel by T.C. Boyle, which received an Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award, as well as being a finalist for the San Diego Theatre Critics’ Circle Award for Best New Play; Albatross based on the poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, which received Boston’s Elliot Norton Theatre Awards for Outstanding Production by a Small Theatre and Outstanding Solo Performance. Other works include one-person shows of James Joyce’s Dubliners and Finnegans Wake; A Paradise It Seems, an adaptation of John Cheever’s short stories; Mozart!, a musical theatre adaptation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s letters; as well as stage adaptations of John Steinbeck’s fiction; Ernest Hemingway’s short stories; Clyde Edgerton’s Where Trouble Sleeps; and Thomas Wolfe’s The Lost Boy.
Some of Matthew’s recent directing credits include The Forgotten Empress (for which he also wrote the script), a dance drama production featuring Kathak dance and music: at the Bing Theatre in Los Angeles (LACMA), Mexican Heritage Center in San José, and in theatres in Lahore and Karachi, Pakistan. Also, credits include an adaptation of T.C. Boyle’s short story “Killing Babies” for Word for Word Performing Arts Company at the Z Space in San Francisco; Martin McDonagh’s The Lonesome West for Wordshed Productions in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; McDonagh’s The Lieutenant of Inishmore for San José State University; and David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross for the San Jose Stage Company.
He has also written articles on the adaptation of literature for the stage, Irish theatre, and intercultural theatre that have appeared in numerous journals and books, some of which include: Theatre Journal, Theatre Annual, The James Joyce Quarterly, The New Hibernia Review, SIAR: The Journal of the Western Institute of Irish Studies, Text and Performance Quarterly, The South Atlantic Review, Nineteenth Century Literature, The Biographical Dictionary of Southern Writers, The Art of Elizabeth Bishop, and Performing the Crossroads: Critical Essays in Performance Studies and Irish Culture.
His book Staging Intercultural Ireland: New Plays and Practitioner Perspectives (co-edited with Charlotte McIvor) was published by Cork University Press in 2014.
He is also the co-director of the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute titled “The California Immigration Experience through Literature and Theatre,” featuring presentations by Maxine Hong Kingston, Luis Valdez, Ping Chong, and Andrew Lam, among other scholars and artists working on theatre and migration.
Matthew is Professor of Performance Studies at San José State University in California. He holds degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Ph.D. Performance Studies), Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland (M.Phil. Theatre), and Northwestern University (B.S. Performance Studies).