Last spring I had the pleasure of sitting down with our distinguished Technical Director, Matthew Kohler, to ask him about his passion for performance art and what draws him to his work in Arts Education. Matt is a graduate of Keene State College with a BA in theatre and dance with concentrations in directing and design/technical theatre. Matt has been working steadily on Cape since 2012 as a freelance theater director, technician, producer, and teacher. He is a founding member of the New Classics Company in the Guyer Art Barn in Hyannis, and has worked with the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra, Boston Children’s Theatre, Iowa Pacific Holdings, and Cotuit Center for the Arts. Matt joined CCTC as technical director in 2015, and continues his work at the New Classics Company.
Next time you’re at the theatre stop in to the scene shop and say hi to Matt- we promise you’ll love him just as much as we do!
Q: What drew you to theatre in the first place?
A: Theatre gave me a place to feel a part of something. It was an avenue to be more social. I was a pretty shy kid so theatre was a way for me to overcome that and socialize. I liked collaborating and working with other people and forming those bonds that you make when you create something together. When a student is forming who they are inside instilling a love of collaboration and working with other people is giving them a skill they can carry into adulthood. It helps to become a better adult, someone who is willing to listen and work with other people.
Q: Why art education now?
A: Through arts education kids learn valuable life skills for creative problem solving, collaboration, committing to a task, and enjoyment of following a project through to the end.
Q: When you design the curriculum for your tech classes, what are you hoping your students will get out of the activities you plan?
A: First, we are looking to develop general craftsmanship skills- how is each tool used in a safe and appropriate way, and because our kids are actually working on the set pieces for our shows, I hope they will come see the shows and walk away feeling accomplished in creating something meaningful.
Q: What do you enjoy most about the creative process- both behind the scenes and onstage?
A: Behind the scenes I love seeing the finished product. I like working into the space with the director and designers, all of the subtle tweaks and minute details that the average audience might not notice, but the reason they don’t notice them is because they are there. On stage, I enjoy the rehearsal process, when an actor gets a note and makes a change and that makes the difference in a scene coming alive. It is exciting.
Q: What do you hope audiences know about the shows you work on?
A: Everyone has their own piece of the puzzle, actors on stage tell the story, the tech crew creates the world those actors are in. Adding tech design to great actors gives a show the pop that makes the world come alive. The technical design of a show has just as much to do with bringing the story to life as the acting and directing of a show.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Matt!