Matúš Oľha

Between 1978 and 1984, Matúš Oľha studied at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava, where he majored in theatre direction under the leadership of Tibor Rakovský and Juraj Svoboda. While still a student, he worked with the Little Theatre Studio ensemble in Košice, where he directed such plays as Karel Čapek’s The White Disease (1982) and Vladimir Mayakovsky’s Mystery-Bouffe (1983). During his studies at the Academy of Performing Arts, he captured much attention with his staging of Ivan Bukovčan’s play Until the Rooster Sings (1982). In professional theatre, his first work as a director was William Shakespeare’s The Tempest at the Jozef Gregor Tajovský Theatre in Zvolen (1983, as part of the Zvolen Castle Plays). In Zvolen, he later directed his graduation production – Alexander Ostrovsky’s play Wolves and Sheep. In 1984–1988, he worked as an in-house director at the Jozef Gregor Tajovský Theatre in Zvolen, and in 1988–2005 at the Slovak National Uprising Theatre in Martin (the present Slovak Chamber Theatre). With the ensemble of the theatre in Martin he staged a production based on his own dramatization of Timrava’s text The Death of Paľo Ročka (1995). The production became very successful both in Slovakia and abroad. He worked as a guest director at the Alexander Duchnovič Theatre in Prešov, the Jonáš Záborský Theatre in Prešov, the City Theatre in Žilina, the Andrej Bagar Theatre in Nitra, and the Moravian Theatre in Olomouc, among others. He has collaborated also with amateur theatre groups, such as the Ján Chalupka Theatre Company in Brezno. With this company, he participated in several showcases in Slovakia and abroad (Czech Republic, Georgia). Oľha created several productions, documentary films, and programs for the Slovak Television (Hedgehog Skin, 1993; A Long Journey Home, 1995; One Hundred Years of the Theatre in Černov, 1995; Aurel Stodola, 2001; and the seven-part series Slovak Families: on the Track of the Thurzó Family, 2010, among others). He wrote two monographs (Theatremakers’ Testimonies, 2016; Theatre and Theatremakers, 2018), in which he reflected on the work of various personalities of Slovak theatre. He also works as a theatre and documentary photographer. As a theatre photographer, he worked for numerous Slovak theatres (Slovak Chamber Theatre in Martin, Astorka Korzo ’90 Theatre, Alexander Duchnovič Theatre in Prešov, and Opera Banská Bystrica, among others). His photography was presented at several individual exhibitions. Since 1999, he has worked as a pedagogue at the Academy of Arts in Banská Bystrica, where he teachers theatre direction.