Peter Matheson is a freelance dramaturg and script assessor living on the north coast of NSW. He has a scattered stable of individual clients in all capital cities, and the regions of NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Northern Territory and Tasmania as well as New Zealand, USA, Hawaii and Britain.
Since becoming freelance in 2002, he has assessed scripts for the following organizations: Melbourne Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company (Patrick White Award), Queensland Theatre Company (QTC), La Boite, Belvoir, PlayLab, the Australia Council, the Australian Script Centre, Griffin Theatre Company, the Australian Writers’ Guild, and Playwriting Australia/Australian National Playwrights Centre (ANPC).
He has worked dramaturgically with Aislan Traks, Blue Cow (Hobart), The Boathouse Project (Griffith University), Brink Productions (Adelaide), Canberra Youth Theatre, Creative Regions (Bundaberg), Darwin Theatre Co, JUTE (Cairns), Kite Theatre Company (Brisbane), Knock-Em-Down Theatre (Darwin), Kooemba Jdarra Indigenous Theatre (Brisbane), La Boite (Brisbane), Lampshade Shop (Adelaide), Legs on the Wall (Sydney), M & J Productions (Cairns), Metro Arts (Brisbane), Moogahlin TC at the Yellamundie Festival (Sydney), Mudlark Theatre (Launceston), National Institute of Dramatic Arts, Norpa (Lismore), Northern Rivers Writers Centre, Perth Theatre Company, Playwriting Australia, Queensland Theatre Company, Queensland Performing Arts Centre , Red Dust Theatre Company (Alice Springs), Riverside Theatre (Parramatta), Street Theatre (Canberra), Stages WA, TasPerforms, Tasmanian Theatre Company and White Rabbit TC amongst others.
During 2007, he was the recipient of an Australia Council Theatre Board Skills and Arts Development Grant, which took him around the regions to do intensive dramaturgy with mid-range writers from Cairns, Alice Springs, Darwin and Hobart; and during 2008-2009 a Fellowship to eight regional centres dealing with over 140 writers, and was involved in a cultural leadership project for eight regional areas developing dramaturgical skills in 2011.
As facilitator/dramaturg he has been involved on three major script/playwright development programs: with Jute on the Enter Stage Write Programs (2006 – 2015) The Street Theatre’s Hive Program (2010 – 2018) and Blue Cow’s Cowshed (2014-2018) and created The Bee Group an offshoot of the Hive in 2016.
He has taught at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane; tutored scriptwriting at Southern Cross University, Lismore, ran scriptwriting workshops in regional NSW and Queensland and was involved in (eventually running) the Residency Program for the 2002 – 2006 Australian National Playwrights Conferences, as well as running workshops for the 2007 Ubud Writers Festival in Bali. He was the keynote speaker at the 2006 Jute Regional conference; an international guest at the 2003 Aotearoa Playwrights Conference in Auckland and the 2006 Aotearoa Playwrights Conference in Hamilton New Zealand, and a dramaturg at the 2005 playRites colony in Banff, Canada.
He came to dramaturgy through playwrighting; having written fourteen plays (all of them produced – his first selected for an ANPC workshop in 1975) for companies as diverse as the Brisbane Festival, Hunter Valley Theatre Company (HVTC), Newcastle Repertory Company, MTC and Freewheels Theatre In Education Company. After leaving teaching in 1982, he took on various theatrical jobs with HVTC – from acting to stage management, box office work to theatre management. In 1985 he moved to Sydney and began working with STC in their new box office at The Wharf. He went to MTC in 1989 as dramaturg, staying 13 years. He left MTC at the end of 2001 to write. He was also the recipient of a vice-chancellor’s fellowship from Melbourne University in 2000/2001, and the 2004 Booranga Writers Centre in Wagga Wagga as artist in residence.
He received the 2013 Media and Entertainment Arts Alliance/Green Room Special Peer Acknowledgement Award for his work, recognizing his expertise and development of Canberra writers through his dramaturgical work with The Street Theatre. The following year he was the recipient of the Australian Writers Guild Hector Crawford Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Craft via a Body of Script Editing Work, for his generous and creative work with playwrights and theatre companies across Australia.