Four Larks is the creative practice of performance-and-music-maker Mat Diafos Sweeney alongside collaborative space-and-movement-maker Sebastian Peters-Lazaro. Currently working from downtown LA / on Tongva land.
“The first time you witness a production by Four Larks is a little like stumbling upon a brigadoon-like village; one that has somehow existed in isolation from the mainstream yet has developed a complete set of traditions, rituals and aesthetics on its own…These are fully-fledged operas growing from the detritus of contemporary culture.” -REALTIME
RADICAL NEW FORMS, FASHIONED FROM THE ARCHIVE
We create original performance works that transmute big ideas into space and song. Our junkyard operas fuse immersive design, ornate chamber-pop, and interdisciplinary dramaturgy, with ensembles of actor/musicians generating new worlds through sound and movement.
For source material we ransack the texts, images, and (hi)stories that form the subliminal foundation of American culture. We interrogate the popular mythology that has shaped our identity, so that we may rewire it for the future. We believe that Black lives matter, that words and images hold power, and that art can bend the arc of the moral universe.
Mat & Sebastian also partner with other artists, composers, and institutions to create aesthetic experiences, activate space, and translate ideas across forms. Recently, we worked with the Getty to turn an antiquities exhibition into an immersive opera, and with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra to turn a new-music program into a series of interactive installations. Throughout the late 2010’s we created and curated a DIY gallery & performance space out of an old flower shop that became a seminal hub for experimental art and music in downtown LA.
Four Larks is an expanding constellation of creative collaborators. We operate variously as an experimental music ensemble, physical theatre lab, sustainable design firm, ecstatic congregation and nomadic community nucleus. Our evolving mission and methodology is profoundly impacted by the artists and audiences that keep us in orbit, as we’ve moved from Melbourne, Australia to our current home in downtown Los Angeles, and beyond. Please see our project credits to connect with our collaborators, and contact us to get involved in future projects.
SUPPORT DURING PANDEMIC
Four Larks is artist operated, and predominantly dependent on ticket sales. The current pause on live performance has struck a brutal blow to our community of collaborators. While we wait for the time we can safely share space, please consider making a donation to help sustain our independent artists during this extended hibernation.
“seriously imaginative, wondrously immersive”
LOS ANGELES TIMES
“you walk away with the sense that you’ve seen something extraordinary. you’re held in ecstatic thrall from start to finish”
“Four Larks hurtles over the boundaries between genres to create immersive, transformative events”
“a sensual, intellectual, and vastly entertaining feast”
“LA’s iconoclastic experimental opera company”
“the artistry verges on scientific mastery”
“a company whose comprehensively reconstructed notion of the immersive Gesamtkunstwerk has produced some of the most inspiring and original art I’ve ever seen.”
“a hypnotic progression of sights, sounds, and ideas”
LOS ANGELES BLADE
“these are more than shows, they’re experiences.”
OPENING THE CURTAIN
“the future of contemporary performance”
LOS ANGELES TIMES
2021 Ovation Awards (currently nominated for Best Production, Direction, Ensemble, Featured Actress & Actor, Choreography, Costume, Sound, Scenic, Projection, & Lighting) CTG Sherwood Award 2020 (Mat Diafos Sweeney), No Proscenium (Best of 2019), 2016 Ovation Awards (Best Ensemble & Best Music), LA Weekly (Best of LA), Los Angeles Theatre Awards – Stage Raw (Best Design), LA Times (Critics Choice), Fabrik (Best Theatre of 2016), KCRW (Best of 2015 & Best of 2014), Bitter Lemons (Best of 2015, Favorite Plays of 2014), TimeOut Melbourne (Best of 2012), The Age (Best of 2011), TheatreNotes (Best of 2010), Melbourne Green Room Awards (Best Music, Best Design, Best Ensemble, Best Production), East Bay Express (Best of 2009). Find a more extensive list on our individual project pages.