Matt Acheson is a New York City based and Detroit born artist.  He was introduced to theater at a young age by building sets and props for his Father's high school and Detroit based professional theater community stage productions.  Matt grew up watching his Dad direct close to 100 plays and is highly influenced by his directing style and discovery.  Matt performed his first puppet show for his third grade class with a puppet stage built by his Father.   During the summer, he would accompany his Mother to work at The Detroit Children's Museum where he built puppets, performed in and witnessed puppets shows.  The third floor attic space in their Detroit house was a constant influence as well.  This spaced housed many different out-of-town artists and performers who all helped shape Matt in one way or another.

Influenced by the artistic community of performers, puppeteers, storytellers, and artists around where he was raised, Matt decided to pursue training in the fine arts and first attended Michigan State University and then The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  At both institutions he studied sculpture, drawing and print making.  It was at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago however, where he began his study of Butoh and performance art.  Then, while spending time traveling around Europe, Matt was reminded of the spectacle of theater.  He was particularly reminded of this when seeing puppet shows in Brussels, Prague, Budapest and Florence.

Since locating to New York in 1999, he has had the pleasure of performing, building, and touring extensively with Basil Twist’s productions of Symphonie Fantastique, Petrushka, Master Peter’s Puppet Show and La Bella Dormente Nel Bosco.  He has also performed in Dan Hurlin's productions of Hiroshima Maiden and Disfarmer, Mabou Mines' production Peter and Wendy, Lee Breuer's A Prelude to Death in Venice, Paula Vogel's A Long Christmas Ride Home, Tom Lee’s Ko’Olau, Chris Green’s Luybo, Lake Simons’s What’s Inside the Egg?, and Phantom Limb Company's The Fortune Teller and Dear Mme.

Matt is the puppetry rehearsal director for The Metropolitan Opera's Madame Butterfly and has worked closely with choreographer Nami Yamamoto on A Howling Flower and Flying with my Shooting Stars.  Film credits include In the House of the Sin Eater, which Matt wrote, directed, and designed with filmmaker Paul Kloss. Some of Matt's favorite projects include Rinna Groff’s Compulsion directed by Oscar Eustis for which he built the marionettes and supervised the puppetry.  He has enjoyed his collaborations with Yale Repertory Theater and created a flock of sheep for their production of Marie Antoinette

Most recently, Matt was the Resident Puppetry Director for the Broadway production of  WarHorse at Lincoln Center Theater and currently serves as the Associate Puppetry Director for the North American tour.  Matt directs the St. Ann’s Warehouse Puppet Lab and is in production for the new Radio City Music Hall spectacular which will premier in 2014.  He lives in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn with his wife Deana and their daughter Esa.

Matt has worked with and among these incredible artists:

Dean Acheson

Armitage Gone ! Dance

Kevin Augustine

Berkeley Repertory Theater

Blind Summit Theater

Lee Breuer

Oliver Dalzell

Oscar Eustis

Giants Are Small

Chris Green

Handspring Puppet Company

Dan Hurlin

Tom Lee

Erin Orr

Phantom Limb Company

Mervin Miller

Mabou Mines

Eric Novak

Puppetworks Theater

Lake Simons

Swedish Marionette Cottage

Rebecca Teichman

Basil Twist

Christopher Williams

Yale Repertory Theater

Nami Yamamoto


Photo by Paul Kloss