Alison Matthews

UK-based Performance-Artist, Writer and Researcher

01.03.2019   - 31.03.2019

Alison Matthews (b. 1985 USA) is a performance artist, writer and researcher based in Manchester UK. In her performance work, she creates participatory experiences out of text, song and scenographic environments, exploring states of intimacy, distance, desire and alienation. Her academic writing focuses on one-on-one performance.

As Matthews has expressed,

The one-to-one performance form (one performer, one audience member) has proliferated across the European live art/performance festival circuit and beyond. The way one-to-one creates and uses space, fosters intimacy, and makes difficult feelings coexist within one frame throws up all sorts of questions for artists – how can you document these experiences without ruining them, violating trust or ‘giving the milk away for free’ by revealing the performance’s charged surprises?

Alison Matthews, Artist’s Statement


Matthews completed a practice-based PhD in Performance Studies at Aberystwyth in Wales in 2015. She has a BA in Drama from Vassar College, New York, an MA in Practising Performance (Performance Studies) from Aberystwyth, and a Certificate of Shakespeare in Performance from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London. She currently works both on her own freelance artistic practice, touring across the UK and beyond, and as a lecturer and researcher at the University of Salford in Manchester UK.

The artist/researcher’s work has consistently been supported by Arts Council England, the University of Salford Vice Chancellor’s Research Scholarship, and venues including Contact Theatre, the Lowry and the Royal Exchange Theatre.

Alison Matthews’ original works have presented across cabaret, one-to-one and large-scale performance formats at venues including Arnolfini (Bristol), SLAP Festival (York), Project Arts Centre (Dublin), Toynbee Studios/ArtsAdmin (London), Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Ausland (Berlin), Chelsea Theatre, Contact (Manchester), Catalyst Arts (Belfast), and the Universität der Künste (Berlin). She has been a visiting lecturer at Arts University Bournemouth and Museo Reina Sofia (Madrid).

Featured publications have included “Giving service and provoking rupture: the post-Fordist performer at work” in Studies in Theatre and Performance (37, pp. 139-154); “The Ballad of Isosceles: Artist’s Pages” in Performance Research (22, pp. 114-117), “Interpellation and the House rehearsal room: or, why conversations like “Digging Deep” Matter” in Studies in Theatre and Performance (37(1), pp. 136-138) and “The Libido-Maker’s Apprentice: Working the Window’s Proscenium” in Performing Ethos (3(2), pp. 121-137).

Alison Matthews joins SomoS for a one-month residency in March 2019. Focusing primarily on writing in her time in Berlin, Matthews is currently working on critical writing around her performance for two people at a time, “The Ballad of Isosceles,” as well as the beginnings of a collaborative book project around the politics and proxemics of one-to-one participatory performance.

Friday, March 15th 2019, 7-9pm, Alison Matthews hosts a P2P Project Feedback Session at SomoS.