Theatre for Development
Matthew Hahn is an international theatre director, playwright and theatre for development facilitator, post-graduate with experience of creating, coordinating and implementing theatre projects in the United Kingdom, the United States, East & Southern Africa.
He is the Artistic Director of the Folkestone Performing Arts Company, an artist-led international theatre ensemble creating vibrant, relevant and compelling theatre through the celebration of local stories in Folkestone, UK.
Matthew also works as an international theatre for development facilitator. In November, he will be working with Kenyan National Waste Pickers Welfare Association to co-create a piece of Legislative Theatre to be presented to delegates at the United Nation’s Environmental Assembly as part of the creation of the Global Plastics Treaty to End Plastic Pollution. The aim of this project is to influence the treaty creation through art influenced policy development. The project will showcase the vast amount of shared knowledge the litter pickers have alongside the struggles they confront in the face of systemic and institutional discrimination and ignorance. Through theatre, the waste pickers will present their considerations, priorities, ambitions and vision for a just transition.
In January, he will return to the SHAPE Theatre in Brussels to direct Amadeus. He was there last in March 2022 where he directed the award-winning Art.
With over 20 years of experience as a theatre for development practitioner in working with communities in struggle, he has co-created interactive and participatory international theatre projects focusing on developing and enabling young people, social cohesion, peace-making and conflict resolution in the Global South & North. He is a drama facilitator and trustee at Most Mira, a charity which uses applied arts to help to build bridges between divided communities in Bosnia.
His play, The Robben Island Shakespeare, has been performed in the United Kingdom, United States and South Africa; he regularly facilitates 'Ethical Leadership’ Workshops based on his interviews with former South African political prisoners and selections from ‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.’
Under lockdown, he adapted his practice for an online world though the facilitating and directing of online plays & workshops for a variety of theatre festivals, community centres, theatres companies and organisations: he directed a Zoom live theatre performance of Catastrophe featuring Tony Award winning actor John Kani & Jack Klaff for The Peacock Theatre Festival for Civil Liberties. He also created & curated the quarterly Festival of Fleeting Words, an online 24 hour festival which brought together theatre-makers from around the world. Before the lockdown, he directed two new plays for the South by South East Festival at the Gulbenkian Theatre in Canterbury: Trust, which was developed as part of the Folkestone 48 Play Festival, and imPEACHable, a tribunal theatre piece based on the first impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
From 2008 to 2018, he was a Senior Lecturer at St Mary’s University, London specializing in theatre for development. From 2006 to 2016, he was a training facilitator with Theatre for a Change, a UK charity which utilizes interactive theatre to train teachers and facilitators on the topics of gender equality and sexual and reproductive health.
Matthew has degrees in Political Science & Journalism from Indiana University in the United States and is a graduate of the Goldsmiths College Masters in Theatre Directing programme in the United Kingdom. He trained with the SITI Company in New York and with Anne Bogart in Dublin, Ireland. He has also trained with the Cardboard Citizens Theatre Company in London in their Forum Theatre / Joker Training Programme.
As an artist and social activist, he is drawn to complex political opportunities that allow him to utilize his skills as a theatre director, writer and facilitator to further developmental goals.