Matt Rudkin is a researcher and theatre maker with practice interests across puppetry, clowning, live art and street theatre.
Lecturing in contemporary theatre and performance practice, Matt's career has encompassed work as a performer, writer, maker and director. He creates provocative, playful work that blurs distinctions between art and entertainment. The research through this practice draws on discourse theory and evolutionary accounts of psychological experience.
Matt Rudkin lectures in contemporary theatre and performance practice. His career has encompassed work in puppetry, live art, clowning and street theatre as a performer, writer, maker and director. He has taught at the University of Brighton since 1999. He has also taught projects at Rose Bruford College, Goldsmiths, Italia Conti, Circus Space, the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and Shanghai American School.
Matt’s research interests are largely informed by his experiences working in arts practice across the cultural spectrum; from children’s puppetry to adult cabaret to live-art / performance. These experiences have led to a particular interest in the construct of cultural hierarchy, and the perception that the Arts are consumed not only for the aesthetic and intellectual engagement they might provide, but also as a marker of identity and social status. This position is informed by his encounters with postmodern theory, and the writings of Peter Carey, Thorstein Veblen, Pierre Bourdieu, and Jean Dubuffet.
He is also interested in the field of evolutionary psychology and the theory of 'Flow' states developed by psychologist Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi. His recent performance practice has explored ways of conveying the interrelation between postmodern understandings of discourse, and evolutionary accounts of psychological experience - a position David Sloan Wilson calls 'Evolutionary Social Constructivism'. The performance work seeks to effectively convey these ideas to a broad and varied audience using metaphor, narrative and a rich vein of humour.
As founder, co-ordinator and compere of Edinburgh's ‘The Bongo Club Cabaret' (1994 - 2001), Matt Ruskin concurrently works as a puppeteer and maker with The Edinburgh Puppet Company, touring throughout the UK and Ireland.
From 2003 - 2007 he toured internationally with street theatre clown show 'The Incredible Bull Circus' , including appearances throughout the UK and Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. He toured the UK for 2 years with Fraser Hooper in the clown show 'Inside Out', and has directed street theatre work for Jon Hicks and Red Herring.
Since graduation he has also continued to present both solo and collaborative performance work, at such venues as 'The Green Room' (Manchester), 'The Powerhouse' (Nottingham), 'CCA' (Glasgow); 'ICA', ‘Omsk’, ‘Shunt Lounge’ (London). With Rick Conte he created theatre work commissioned for EU conferences in Warsaw and Helsinki, and devised the video work, ‘Beauty Spot’ with Edwina Ashton for the Whitstable Biennale. He appeared in several early shows by 'rotozaza', and co-wrote the audio-tour ‘Wondermart’, which has been presented in 9 countries.
In 2009 he set up the company ‘Inconvenient Spoof’ with Silvia Mercuriali, with whom he has produced 3 Arts Council funded shows; ‘Dean Gibbons and the Knowledge of Death’, ‘Naïve Dance Masterclass’ and 'Buddhism: Is it Just for Losers?'. In these shows he seeks to apply his skills developed in popular theatre forms to create provocative, playful work that straddles the divide between art and entertainment. In 2012 he began the quarterly cabaret event 'The Happy Clap Trap', at the Marlborough Theatre, presenting 'artistics acts of strange entertainment', and often featuring students and graduates of the university. For more information on his shows visit mattrudkin.co.uk
Matt Rudkin has a foundation degree in Art and Design, and a BA(Hons) in Creative Arts (1st) from Nottingham Trent University. He has an MA in Performance Studies from the Central School of Speech and Drama, and has studied improvisation and clowning with ‘Ecole Philippe Gaullier’ (London), and ‘The Actors Space’ (Spain).
Matt has taught at the University of Brighton since 1999. He has also taught projects at Rose Bruford College, Goldsmiths, Italia Conti, Circus Space, the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and Shanghai American School.
Rudkin, Matt (2014) Buddhism: is it just for losers? [Performance]
Rudkin, Matt (2012) The Terrible Shaman [Performance]
Rudkin, Matt (2012) Naive Dance Masterclass [Performance]
Rudkin, Matt (2010) Dean Gibbons and the Knowledge of Death [Performance]
Rudkin, Matt (2009) Wondermart [Digital and visual media]