Matthew B. Zrebski is our Writer-in-Residence at Grant High School.
A native Texan, Matt studied acting, directing, and playwriting at the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University and received his BFA in 1995. Having been closely mentored by Paul Walsh and Lou Salerni, Matt developed a deep passion for new work development and post graduation embarked on a career in new plays. In the summer of 1995, Matt took over the Dallas, TX summer company Youth Could Know Theatre, where he acted as co-Artistic Director, changing the company’s mission statement to only produce new plays by young, upcoming writers. In his three-season tenure, he produced seven world premieres and received a Dallas Observer “Best of Dallas” award for innovative theatre. While still in Texas, Matt also gained recognition as a composer, scoring numerous plays including Twelfth Night for the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas and a raw, rock ‘n’ roll version of Mother Courage and Her Children for the Margo Jones Theatre at SMU. Moving to Portland, OR in 1997, Matt quickly began working with Stark Raving Theatre (SRT), participating in many installments of the New Rave New Works Festival and directing the 1999 premiere of Joseph Fisher’s Prometheus Bound which earned three Drammy Awards including one for his score. From 2001-2002, he served as Associate Artistic Director for SRT, rewriting the mission statement to only produce new unpublished work. He also revamped the internal structure of the company to employ a group of resident production artists who understood the development of new plays. In 2002, Matt was promoted to Artistic Director, a position he held through July of 2006. In five seasons at SRT, Matt directed, wrote, and scored numerous productions, and oversaw 31 plays as they went from page to premiere. His own plays, the planet ME, Neck, A Place Called Timothy, Parts, Darkstep and Dawning, After the Zipper, and The Vespiary have been produced in the Dallas, Texas and/or Portland, Oregon areas. In 2006, he was commissioned to write (with William S. Gregory) a short play called Let There Be Word that served as the kick-off for the JAW Festival at Portland Center Stage. In 2006, 2007, and 2008 he directed the Promising Playwrights program for JAW. Since 2003, he has been a member of PlayGroup at Portland Center Stage, an ensemble for professional playwrights lead by Literary Manager Mead Hunter. Recently, his plays Rubber ‘n’ Glue, First Beard, Boy, The Cloud-Bangers, and Carnivora were developed there. First Beard was selected for the Studio Series at the 2007 JAW Festival and was also a finalist for Kitchen Dog Theatre’s 2007 PlayFest. The Cloud-Bangers was selected for the 2008 JAW: Made in Oregon Festival. Rubber ‘n’ Glue received a reading in June of 2008 at the Pavement Micro New Works Festival. In the fall of 2008, Boy received a concert reading at Portland Theatre Works. And in March of 2009, Blue Monkey Theater will premiere his play Ablaze. Matt is a two-time recipient of the Rosenfield Playwriting award at SMU. He also has a rich background in youth education. In 2005 he began teaching playwriting for Literary Arts through their Writers in the Schools (WITS) program; he also serves as the an instructor and co-coordinator for Portland Center Stage’s Visions and Voices “in the schools” playwriting program. In the spring of 2006, he became the playwriting instructor for The Greenhouse School of Theatre at Portland Center Stage and remains there, both teaching and developing new courses in playwriting.