Mat Diafos Sweeney
Mat / Ματθαἰος (he/they) is a director, writer, and composer based in downtown Los Angeles. He works with text, movement, music, and design to create original performance work, which he has presented under the four larks moniker since 2008. He is the 2020 recipient of the Dorothy and Richard E Sherwood Award from Center Theatre Group.
Mat’s adaptation of Frankenstein, produced at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, swept the 2021 Ovation Awards across all categories, including awards for his Direction and for Best Play. He previously received an Ovation Award for his music for The Temptation of St Antony, produced in a disused downtown flower shop which he continued to operate and curate as an experimental art/music lab from 2015-2019. Mat writes and composes work for cross-disciplinary performers in four larks’ continually expanding ensemble, and collaboration is integral to his staging and orchestration. He often creates and produces work in unexpected locations with immersive mise-en-scene collaged from found materials. His stage work has been described by the LA Times as “visually enthralling” and “the future of contemporary performance” and has been consistently listed in KCRW’s Best of the Year and LA WEEKLY’s Best of LA.
Other recent projects include Katabasis, a contemporary reimagining of ancient Greek mystery rites staged in promenade through the grounds and gardens of the Getty Villa, heralded in NoProsceniums's Best Immersive Events of 2019, and Undine, an ecofeminist opera on sublimation and sleep deprivation, which he produced independently with support from New Music USA. His research interests span the intersections in founding mythologies, ritual culture, and music in the ancient Mediterranean, early modern Europe, and the American west. After graduating from UCLA, Mat worked in Melbourne, where his work including The Fate of Franklin & his Gallant Crew, Peer Gynt, and The Plague Dances (developed in residency at the Malthouse), received support from the Australia Council, The City of Melbourne, and the Besen Foundation. While in Australia, Mat received three Victorian Green Room Award for his music-for-theatre consecutively from 2010-2012.
In addition to his original work, he collaborates with other artists and composers to design experiential and transmedia events. He has worked alongside Matthias Pintscher, Derrick Spiva, and Andrew Norman in the ongoing series SESSION that he and Sebastian Peters-Lazaro created for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and as a collaborative composer/arranger and producer of Esther Hannaford’s The Great Egret. As a conceptual art director he has created theatrical imagery for four larks with photographers Michael Amico and Vikk Shayen Wong.
He is currently working on four larks' first visual album / digital project, hymns, and lecturing in the Classics department at UCLA.
RECENT INTERVIEWS & LONG FORM CRITICISM: Washington Blade / Broadway World / Theatre Magazine / LA Stage Alliance / Arts Beat / Fabrik / Jacki Apple's Performance - Media - Art - Culture / RealTime / Alta Magazine / LA Times / Primitive Surveys / Arena Magazine