Matthias Dreyer is a Feodor Lynen research fellow at the University of Chicago (Germanic Studies/Theatre and Performance Studies). Prior to this he was an assistant professor/research associate at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany (Institute for Theatre, Film and Media Studies), a research associate at the Research Centre “Transformations of Antiquity” and at the Institute of Theatre Studies of the Free University of Berlin, where he was awarded a PhD in theatre studies in 2011. Matthias received his master’s degree in theatre studies, German literature, and philosophy from the Freie University and the Humboldt University, having also studied at the University Vienna, the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris, and the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Accompanying his academic work, he was also engaged at various theatres as a dramaturge. The Feodor Lynen Fellowship was awarded to him by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 2017.
His current research project on the history of liveness explores the ideas of vitality that are at the core of the discourse on what is called “live“ in theatre, and which thus relate theatre history to the philosophy of life (Lebensphilosophie) and the histories of knowledge. Against this backdrop, the project examines how concepts of life affect the early theatrical avant-gardes and their experimental work on bodies, space, and language between 1910 and 1935, and in this way asks about the roots of live art.
Matthias’ first book is Theater der Zäsur: Antike Tragödie im Theater seit den 1960er Jahren (2014), some of the theses of which are also found in the English paper “Caesura of History – Performing Greek Tragedy After Brecht” (The Performance Philosophy Journal, vol. 2, no. 2, 2017). Other publications are on the immersive performance spaces of László Moholy-Nagy, on the social impacts of working with choric theatre, on theatre and education, and on Gottfried Semper’s theatre architecture in times of revolution. In addition, Matthias has co-edited volumes on Kafka and theatre (2017), on transformations of the Medea myth (2010) and on Ancient tragedy today (2007).