Matthew R. Wilson


Scholar & Teacher

Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

“Wilson…is pretty brainy about his low business.”
–The Washington Post

Matt is currently writing the book Commedia dell’Arte in History & Performance: New Play from Old Work for Routledge Press. For his PhD in Theatre & Performance Studies from the University of Maryland, his dissertation, Moving from the Archive: Historiography and “Authenticity” in Commedia dell’Arte Performance focused on the on-going, 500-year history of defining and reconstructing what we now call “Commedia dell’Arte.” Matt also holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting (with a focus on Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre) and a BA in Philosophy from Columbia University.

Matt serves as Associate Professor of Theatre at The Corcoran School of the Arts & Design at The George Washington University. He previously taught at the University of Mississippi, George Mason University, Virginia Intermont College, and the University of Maryland, and he has been a Guest Artist/Instructor at a variety of colleges and universities including NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Columbia’s Graduate School of the Arts, Georgetown University, Northwestern University, and the Academy for Classical Acting.  He was an instructor of Commedia dell’Arte for six years at Antonio Fava’s school in Reggio-Emilia, Italy, and he has taught Stage Combat at theatre conferences throughout North America.  He has also been a Master Teaching Artist with the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC.

Matt’s teaching specialties include Acting, Theatrical Movement, Shakespeare, Stage Combat, Commedia dell’Arte, Dramatic Theory, and Theatre History.

As a scholar and researcher, Matt has presented papers at U.S. and international theatre conferences. He has also published and served as a panel scholar for the Tony Award-winning Shakespeare Theatre Company and is a contributing author to The Routledge Companion to Commedia dell’Arte (Routledge, 2015), the 2nd revised and expanded edition of Movement for Actors (Allworth, 2017), and multiple editions of the SAFD journal The Fight Master.

With a general interest in Renaissance theatre, Matt’s specific research focus is in Commedia dell’Arte from its historical origins to contemporary performance.  He has also studied theatre architecture with Franklin J. Hildy, dramatic theory with Catherine Schuler, American theatre with Heather Nathans, performance studies with Laurie Frederik Meer, and classical acting with Michael Kahn, Gary Logan, Floyd King, Edward Gero, and Franchelle Stewart Dorn.  He is a member of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and the Association of Theatre Movement Educators.





Photo: “Make ‘Em Laugh: Common Ground in Comic Characters.” TEDxUM Talk at The University of Mississippi. Photo by Georgia Norfleet.