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Biography

Tama Matheson is a director, actor, and writer based in London. He studied English at Oxford University, and Drama and History at the University of Queensland.

Directing

Tama is currently Artistic Director of The Brisbane Shakespeare Festival, and works as a freelance director in both theatre and opera. He has directed in England, Australia, Austria, America, Germany, Russia, Spain, and New Zealand.

His directing credits including Falstaff (Oper Graz, Austria); The Force of Destiny (Opera Australia, and the State Opera of South Australia ); The Love of the Nightingale (Opera Australia); Amadeus (Classic Productions); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (with both Garnet Productions, Sydney, and The Queensland Symphony Orchestra); Antigone (Teatro Technis, London); Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Richard III, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Qld Shakespeare Festival); The Tempest (Classic Productions); A Christmas Carol (AMcK Fine Entertainment); The Night before Christmas, & Prometheus Unbound (Classic Productions); Don Giovanni & Tosca (4MBS Music Festival); Orpheus in the Underworld (Queensland Conservatorium); Don Giovanni & La Traviata (Opera Projects Sydney).

Tama was Associate Director on Neil Armfield’s Peter Grimes in Sydney, Perth, and Houston, and has staged revivals of Christopher Alden’s Partenope, and Elijah Moshinsky’s La Traviata at Opera Australia.

Tama began work as an assistant director with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company in the year 2000, and then went on to work with Covent Garden, Opera Australia, Houston Grand Opera, the Mariisnky Theatre, and Teatro Real, Madrid – amongst others.

Tama has worked with directors such as Franco Zeffirelli, Michael Attenborough, Elijah Moshinsky, Bill Gaskill, Ian Judge, Neil Armfield, and Gale Edwards; and in 2016 he worked on Opera Australia’s revival of Wagner’s Ring Cycle – one of the largest theatrical projects ever conceived.

In 2013, his production of Amadeus won “Best Production” at Brisbane’s Matilda Awards.

Acting

As an actor, Tama has performed in England, Australia, and Spain, and works regularly in theatre and television. Of the theatrical canon, Tama has played Felix, in The Odd Couple, Leo in Noel Coward’s Design for Living, Mozart in Amadeus, Michal in The Pillowman, Sergeant Troy in Far from the Madding Crowd, and Haemon in Antigone.

He has also played Richard III, Henry V, Romeo, Banquo, Oberon, Lysander, Don Pedro (Much Ado About Nothing), Antonio (Comedy of Errors), and Ariel (The Tempest).

As well as these, Tama has played a variety of new roles, and performed in several solo productions of his own devising. Tama’s full resumé appears on the website, but his theatre credits include Much Ado About Nothing, The Odd Couple, Macbeth, Design for Living, (Queensland Theatre Company); Richard III, Henry V, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Brisbane Shakespeare Festival); The Tempest (Classic Productions); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Garnet Productions; Qld Symphony Orchestra); Amadeus (Classic Productions); Far From the Madding Crowd (Middle Ground Theatre, UK); Romeo & Juliet (British Touring Shakespeare Co.); The Duchess of Malfi (Trocadero Productions); The Pillowman (Shock Therapy Productions).

His television credits include Heartbeat (YTV); Eastenders (BBC); Hoges – the Paul Hogan Story (Channel 7, Australia); 7 Points of View About Love (Quiroga Productions, Madrid); and some television commercials.

Writing

In 2016 Tama produced and performed his sixth original play; he has also written and performed various literary adaptations.

Tama has written a series of collaborative plays about the lives of great composers, which he performed with The Camerata of St. John’s – one of Australia’s best Chamber Orchestras. These plays were a unique integration of words and music, in which both elements carry equal responsibility for telling the story.

These plays include Bright Stars Shone for Us, about the tormented life and artistic struggles of Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky; Ben, detailing the curious life of Benjamin Britten; Johann Sebastian, about the life of Johann Sebastian Bach; and Panufnik – His Quest for Peace, about the terrific and awful struggles of Polish composer, Andrsej Panufnik, under the oppressive Nazi and Communist regimes that dominated Poland during and after the Second World War. These plays wove the music of the composers into the events of their lives to create an unusual and thrilling entertainment that combined music and text into an inseparable dramatic unity.

In 2015 Tama wrote and performed Don Juan, about the life and work of the extraordinary, irreverent poet, Lord Byron, centred on his semi-biographical poem, Don Juan. This play was written as a collaboration between himself and guitarist, Karin Schaupp, who heightened the drama with musical commentary. It toured Australia throughout 2015 and 2016.

Last year Tama also performed his own adaptation of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, which included a brief, original dramatised play about Dickens’s life. This was produced by Andrew McKinnon Fine Entertainment, and was performed in Sydney and Melbourne. It was also recorded as a radio play with 4MBS Classic FM. (The radio play appears on the website.)

Tama has also written adaptations of the brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and E. T. A. Hoffman, and translated the libretto of Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld into English. Tama is currently under commission to write three new plays for 2017, which will be performed in Australia later in the year – including a new play about Charles Dickens and Queen Victoria, a collaboration of with Sydney Symphony Orchestra, based on Cervantes’ Don Quixote, and a play about the Australian war- time heroine, Nancy Wake, known as the ‘White Mouse.’

Awards and Nominations

Tama won Best Supporting Actor in Brisbane’s Matilda Awards in 2015, for his role as Michal in The Pillowman.

He also won best Production at the Matildas for his production of Amadeus, in 2013, and was nominated for best actor in the same year.

Tama has also twice received the ‘Favourite Performance’ award with the Del Arte Charts, and the ‘Favourite Production’ award in the same organisation.