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Matthew Earnest is an American theater director. He has also written plays, as well as adapted plays from novels, non-fiction books, short stories, and essays, and he has translated works in other languages for his direction.
Early life and education
He grew up in Texas and began his career under Richard Hamburger at Dallas Theater Center. He graduated with a BA in Drama from The University of North Texas, and he holds an MFA in Theatre Directing from York University in Toronto. A skilled writer, Matthew's first job after graduating from college at age 21 was writing the monthly newsletter for The Dallas Buyer's Club, working alongside eccentric founder Ron Woodroof.
Relocating to New York City, Earnest spent a season as assistant director to Lee Breuer at Mabou Mines. With a fellowship from The Drama League, he gained the position of assistant director to legendary American Artistic Director Adrian Hall, a position he held for many years.
Earnest was Founding Artistic Director of New York City’s deep ellum ensemble. With them, he created original works and adapted classics and literary works that garnered international acclaim from 1995 until the company disbanded in 2007. Since 1999, he has been an associate artist at Germany’s English Theatre Berlin  where he was the company's first Director in Residence, directing the European premiere of Suzan-Lori Parks' Venus. Since 2001, he has been associated with the University of Delaware’s PTTP/REP theatre company.
Earnest has also worked as an independent director around the United States and abroad. He has directed his own plays, as well as plays he adapted from literature, and his own translations of foreign playwrights. In 2012, he co-founded an international touring company, The Lunar Stratagem. His productions have been seen across the U.S., Europe and in Africa.
Selected works directed
(Original plays and adaptations are also indicated.)
2015: The Quixotic Days and Errant Nights of the Knight Errant Don Quixote by Brenda Withers. Amphibian Stage Productions, Fort Worth, Texas.
2010: Wanderlust: A History of Walking, adapted and directed by Earnest from the book by Rebecca Solnit. Ice Factory 2010 at the Ohio Theater, NYC following world premiere at Cleveland Public Theatre.
2009: Himmelweg by Juan Mayorga, translated by David Johnston. Directed New York City premiere at Teatro Círculo following US premiere at Burning Coal Theatre Company, Raleigh, North Carolina. Transfer Off-Broadway to Repertorio Español.
2005: The Josephine footnote, written and directed by Matthew Earnest, score by Joseph Troski, choreography by Tina Fehlandt. deep ellum ensemble at Daniel Arts Center, Great Barrington, Massachusetts (The Berkshire Fringe) and Hartshorn Theatre, University of Delaware (2006)
2003: Doctor Tedrow's Last Breath by Matthew Earnest, score by Joseph Troski, choreography by Tina Fehlandt. deep ellum ensemble at Trinity River Arts Center, Dallas, Texas and The Ice Factory, Ohio Theater, NYC (2005)
2002: Ch’ien-nü leaves her body. by M.E., after a play by Chêng Teh-hui. deep ellum ensemble at The Ontological-Hysteric Theater, NYC
2001 : Saints and Singing by Gertrude Stein. deep ellum ensemble at Washington Square Church, NYC; The Present Company Theatorium, NYC; Midtown International Theatre Festival, NYC; The Bridge (Dance-Theater series) at WAX, Brooklyn, NY (excerpts), (2002)
1999: blood pudding by M.E. (premiere). deep ellum ensemble at English Theatre Berlin, Germany; and Dublin Festival Fringe, Dublin, Ireland.
1997: The Jilting of Granny Weatherall, adapted and directed by Matthew Earnest (premiere) from the story by Katherine Anne Porter. deep ellum ensemble at The New York International Fringe Festival: BIFF Award; and English Theatre Berlin, Germany (1998); and The FIT Festival, Dallas, TX and University of Texas, Arlington
1997: The Purification & The Two-Character Play by Tennessee Williams. deep ellum ensemble at Chelsea Arts Theater, NYC, The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival, New Orleans, LA, English Theater Berlin, Germany
1996: Wolf at the Door by Erik Ehn (NY premiere). deep ellum ensemble at One Dream Theatre, NYC
- National Endowment for the Arts "Access to Artistic Excellence" grant (2010): "Wanderlust: A History of Walking" (Cleveland Public Theatre, Cleveland, OH)
- Cleveland Scene Best Director (2007): Peter Pan (Porthouse Theatre, Cuyahoga Falls, OH)
- Raleigh News & Observer Top 10 of 2007: Elizabeth: Almost by Chance a Woman (Still Water Theatre, Raleigh, NC)
- Roe Green Visiting Director, Kent State University, 2008
- Cleveland Scene Outstanding revival: Our Town  (Porthouse Theatre, Cuyahoga Falls, OH), 2007
- Raleigh News & Observer Top 10 of 2005: Lipstick Traces (Burning Coal Theatre, Raleigh, NC)
- Dallas Morning News Top 10 of 2002: Coriolanus  (Kitchen Dog Theater, Dallas, Texas)
- Audience Favourite Award to deep ellum ensemble (blood pudding), Dublin Festival Fringe, 1999
- BIFF Award: Excellence in Ensemble Acting, deep ellum ensemble (The Jilting of Granny Weatherall), NY Fringe Festival, 1997
- Special Interest Residency Grant from The Drama League of New York, 1995
- Dallas Theater Critics’ Forum Award for Outstanding Direction: On the Verge (or The Geography of Yearning) by Eric Overmyer (Moonstruck Theatre Co, Dallas, TX), 1994
- Dallas Observer Best of Dallas Award for Outstanding Production: Fen by Caryl Churchill (Moonstruck Theatre Co), 1993
- UD Department of Theatre
- Arts News & Reviews: "Porthouse's 'Peter Pan' soars; Beck's 'Jekyll & Hyde' trips", Plain Dealer, July 2007
- "Nothing lost on this boy", Cleveland Scene Archived September 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- "New Song By LaChiusa and Parks Presented in 365 Plays Project Feb. 16-17" Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Playbill.com
- Play on Texas ‘Great Storm’ at Ohio Theater
- http://german.lss.wisc.edu/brecht/archive4.html Archived July 2, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- royberko.info: Times Tributes
- Coriolanus – Review – Apr 18, 2002
- The New York Times
- The K of D at Adirondack Theatre Festival | Adirondack Theatre Festival
- English Theatre Berlin
- Russia celebrates Chekhov's 150th birthday | Russia | RIA Novosti
- The Village Voice
- Porthouse's 'Peter Pan' soars; Beck's 'Jekyll & Hyde' trips – Plain Dealer Arts News & Reviews
- Cleveland Scene
- Coriolanus – Review – Apr 18, 2002