About Justina: On-Stage and Behind-the-Scenes
Dr. Justina Taft Mattos was raised in Hawai‘i and is an alumna of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, where her studies focused on Theatre Arts as well as Hawaiian language and culture. After receiving her B.A., she went on to earn her M.A. in Theatre from the University of Oregon, where she researched and wrote on the use of theatre as an educational tool. In writing her Master's Thesis, she focused on Native American, African American, and Chicanx educational theatre efforts in Western Oregon and Northern California. She returned to Hawai‘i to earn her Ph.D. in Theatre History and Criticism from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, where her research focused on the history and development of Hawaiʻi’s local theatre tradition.
While theatre about life in Hawaiʻi is her passion, since her return to Hawaiʻi Island she has been commissioned to direct plays by both local and non-local playwrights for several theatres on the island. Recent productions she has directed on the Big Island include works by such diverse playwrights as William Shakespeare, Edward Sakamoto, Lee Cataluna, Lisa Matsumoto, Eric Anderson, Maurice Zimmer, Lanford Wilson, Eve Ensler, Jonathan Larson, and Allison Gregory & Steven Dietz.
In addition to directing in traditional theatre settings, Justina has also worked in less traditional formats, using community actors to develop live or videotaped dramatic vignettes and presentations for organizations such as 'Imiloa Astronomy Center and the UH Hilo College of Pharmacy. She has also helped to found the KEAKA Hawaiian Language Theatre Festival.
Dr. Mattos teaches for the Performing Arts Department at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.
Justina Taft Mattos
(Last updated: Feb. 2020)