Tama is an award-winning writer, director, and actor with over 20 years’ experience in theatre, film, and opera. He has written, directed, and performed in plays all over the world, and has a particular passion for creating new, innovative, and multi-disciplinary dramatic works – many of which have won or been nominated for, or won, awards in London and Australia.
He has, over the past few years, created a series of music-plays (“Lyric Dramas”), that fuse theatre and music into a fresh theatrical form. His 2019 play, Bright Stars Shone for Us, was shortlisted for the RPS Storytelling Award in London, while his recent play about Beethoven, I Shall Hear in Heaven, (which he performed with the London Mozart Players), was just nominated for the same award.
Tama has written many plays, which have been performed to great acclaim. These include: I Shall Hear in Heaven; Ben, the life of Benjamin Britten; Bright Stars Shone for Us; Don Juan – the Scandalous Life of Lord Byron; Panufnik – his Quest for Peace; The White Mouse (about war heroine, Nancy Wake); Johann Sebastian; Mahler and his 10th Symphony; plus his own adaptations of A Christmas Carol, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and Christmas Fairy Tales.
As a director, Tama has worked in theatre and opera all over the world, including Malta, England, Australia, America, Kuwait, Germany, and Spain. He has worked with numerous theatre and opera companies, including Covent Garden, the Sydney Opera House, South Australian Opera, Perth Opera, The Mariinsky Theatre, Teatro Real, Madrid, Houston Grand Opera, and Baden Baden Opera. Tama is Artistic Director of the Brisbane Shakespeare Festival, and a founding member of Poesis: Words and Music, in London. He has also directed straight theatre all over the word, including theatre companies in in London, Sydney, Brisbane, Kuwait, and Malta.
He has also worked with many orchestras, including creating unique collaborations with Melbourne, Tasmanian, and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Brisbane Camerata, and the London Mozart Players. With these orchestras, he has developed a unique form of theatre-with-music (the “Lyric Drama”), which has, in its various incarnations, received universally praiseworthy reviews.
As an actor, Tama has worked with major theatre companies in England and Australia, including the Queensland Theatre Company, The Tasmanian Shakespeare Festival, the Brisbane Shakespeare Festival, The British Shakespeare Company, Middle Ground Theatre, and the D’Oyly Carte Opera. He has also appeared in Eastenders, Heartbeat, and Hoges – the Life of Paul Hogan.
Tama has won several awards for his work, including ‘Outstanding Director’ at the Opera Chaser Awards in Melbourne (for the opera Metamorphosis); ‘Best Production’ at the Brisbane Matilda Awards (for Amadeus); and ‘Best Supporting Actor’ at the Matildas (The Pillowman). He also received a nomination for Best Actor at the Matildas, and his production of A Christmas Carol was a finalist for the 2019 CBAA Radio Awards. A documentary, Fading Sands, which he made with film-maker Tane Matheson won a series of awards and nominations around the world in 2016 (FIFO Tahiti and Paris (Winner Okeanos Prix); Asia Pacific International Film Festival, Indonesia; Dauville Green Awards, France; Anuu-ru Aboro Film Festival, New Caledonia; Chandler International Film Festival, USA).
His plays Bright Stars Shone for Us, and I Shall Hear in Heaven have both been nominated for London’s prestigious RPS Storytelling Award. This year he brought his Lord Byron programme ‘Don Juan’ to the Newbury Festival, with pianist, Clare Hammond and gave performances of both his Bach programme and a new one based on Prokofiev, as well as concerts in Australia. Next year he will return to the Royal Philharmonic with his interpretation of Grieg’s ‘Peer Gynt’ and make his US debut with the Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Naples Philharmonic Florida.
“‘Don Juan’ inspired by the life of Byron and his epic poem Don Juan was brilliant and absorbing theatre presented by guitarist Karin Schauup and actor director Tama Matheson. Schauup’s impressively played solos and occasional acting and Matheson’s incarnation of Byron was riveting and convincing music-cum-theatre.” Performing Arts Hub
“It all displayed so well Tama’s many outstanding abilities as an actor, a writer, an historian, a student of human nature. It showed so clearly his great understanding of music and it showed his ability to analyse people, their actions and reactions.” 4MBS Classic FM
“Those of us who were lucky enough to have seen Tama Matheson and Karin Schaupp in “Don Juan”, on the life of Lord Byron, were hoping that Bright Stars Shone For Us, on the life of Tchaikovsky would be at least as engaging. We were not disappointed. Matheson’s research allows him to present us with correspondence and contemporary comments which are both illuminating and fascinating. It is clear that Matheson is experimenting with ways to tell his stories compellingly and beautifully.…moments of sheer joy, and mischief, and agonizing sadness and loss. All with physical engagement with the music. It was, once again, a night to treasure.” Weekend Notes
“Written and acted by the profoundly talented Tama Matheson BRIGHT STARS SHONE FOR US was an evening of musical, emotional and dramatic superlatives… We know the story and Tama exposed it all with so much warmth and respect without fear and he enveloped the audience in this tale that reduced many to tears at times.…an incredible evening of music and drama, beauty and emotion!” The Brisbane Theatre Review
“Congratulations on a truly memorable production! I think Mr Dickens would have been proud! I really enjoyed the first half with Tama Matheson setting the scene, but the second half was truly SPELLBINDING. Tama had us all riveted. His performance was one of the best I have ever seen. I’m not sure how he does it without auto prompts! Outstanding. My whole group adored it and have been spreading the good word.” The Dickens Society