Mat Diafos Sweeney is the recipient of the 2020 Dorothy and Richard E. Sherwood Award announced at the 2020 Ovation Awards on Monday January 13, 2020. Given in memory of Dorothy and Richard E. Sherwood, the $10,000 award aims to cultivate innovative theatre artists working in Los Angeles who push formal and aesthetic boundaries and demonstrate dedication to improving their respective artistic fields. The two additional finalists, Sigrid Gilmer and Alexandra Meda, will each receive a $1,000 honorarium.
Mat Diafos Sweeney is an Ovation Award-winning performance maker from Los Angeles. His practice includes directing, choreographing, designing, composing music and writing/collaging texts to make new theatre. He creates through-composed performance work for multi-disciplinary ensembles, often devised and staged in non-theatrical venues. He has been independently producing work as four larks since 2008, with an evolving coterie of collaborators across the US and Australia. His most recent projects include “undine,” a New Music USA-supported ecofeminist songspiel in a converted flower shop downtown, and “katabasis,” a processional opera staged around the grounds and gardens of the Getty Villa, styled after ancient mystery rites. In the coming year, he will continue his ongoing series of site-specific performance activations for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, present his participatory installation song cycle “hymns” and premiere his new adaptation of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” at the Wallis.
Since 1996, Center Theatre Group has recognized and celebrated local theatre artists with the Richard E. Sherwood Award. In 2018 Dorothy Sherwood, Richard’s wife and fellow champion of innovative and adventurous theatre artists, passed away. To honor the passion and dedication of both patrons of the arts, the award was renamed the Dorothy and Richard E. Sherwood Award.