matthew paul olmos was born and raised in Los Angeles to a police officer and Labor/Delivery nurse. He moved to New York in August 2001 to pursue playwriting.
He is a three-time Sundance Institute Fellowship/Residency recipient (2014 Lab, 2013 UCROSS, 2009 Time Warner Storytelling Fellow), National Latino Playwriting Awardee from Arizona Theatre Company, Baryshnikov Arts Center Resident Artist, Princess Grace Awardee in Playwriting and was named by Sam Shepard as the inaugural recipient of the La MaMa e.t.c.'s Ellen Stewart Emerging Playwright Award.
Dramatists Guild Fellow, New York Theatre Workshop Fellow; Primary Stages Dorothy Strelsin New American Writer's Group playwright; Brooklyn Arts Exchange Resident Artist, INTAR H.P.R.L playwright, Rising Circle Collective writer, terraNOVA Collective playwright, and is a Ensemble Studio Theater lifetime member.
A two-time Resident Artist at Mabou Mines/Suite (mentored by Ruth Maleczech/Terry O'Reilly); awarded “Top Prize of the Americas” by the BBC 2011 International Playwriting Competition for his play The Nature of Captivity; published by Samuel French.
Awarded the Sundance Institute Time Warner Storytelling Fellowship for his play i put the fear of mexico in’em (published by Samuel French) which world-premiered in Chicago at Theater with A View/Teatro Vista. It has also been developed and/or presented by INTAR Theatre, The Working Theatre, LaMicro, Lark Play Development Center, The Kennedy Center with The Inkwell, and the Gala Theatre in DC. It was also the 2012 Repertorio Español’s MetLife Nuestras Voces 3rd Place Winner and on the syllabus at a Rutger’s University course taught by Caridad Svich. It is also published by NoPassport Press.
Sam Shepard named him the inaugural recipient of La MaMa e.t.c. Ellen Stewart Emerging Playwright Award, for which La MaMa produced his play so go the ghosts of méxico, part one, the first in his 3-play cycle about the U.S./Mexico drug wars. Directed by The Public Theater's Director of Devised Theater Initiative and Under the Radar Director Meiyin Wang, the production played a sold-out run and was a New York Times Critic's Pick. It will soon be published by Samuel French and NoPassport Press. The Spanish version of the play has premiered in México and premiered Repertorio Español, NYC in 2014.
Holds an M.F.A. in Playwriting from The Actor’s Studio Drama School (now New School for Drama), a B.A. in Playwriting from UC Santa Barbara, and was given UCLA’s GOP Award for Graduate Playwriting. He was the co-founder and former Artistic Director of woken’glacier theatre company (two-time New York Innovative Theatre Award nominee), a member of NoPassport, a National Endowment for the Arts New Play Development reader, a New York Innovative Awards judge, selection committee member for Lark Play Development Center's Playwrights’ Week and Playwrights of New York (PoNY) Fellowship.
A regular essayist to The Brooklyn Rail's In Dialogue series, where he has written essays published on the work of Carla Ching, Kristoffer Diaz, Young Jean Lee, Dominique Morisseau, Tommy Smith, Saviana Stanescu, and Lloyd Suh. He is a regular essayist for New York Theatre Review, where he has written pieces ranging from the work of Belarus Free Theatre, Under the Radar, The TEAM, The Assembly as well as other downtown theater artists.
Currently working on several new plays including: a new work about American nationalism which is being developed as part of Primary Stages' Dorothy Stelsin New American Writers Group; a still untitled piece based on the behavior of cancer cells; and the third play in his 3-play cycle so go the ghosts of méxico, which focuses on the U.S./México drug wars.
Also working on an original pilot and his third original screenplay.
Though he lives in New York City, he is PADI certified scuba diver, and whenever he is back home in southern California is learning (slowly, and with great difficulty) to surf.