_MG_9202My mission is to serve the spiritual and professional needs of artists.

I recently published The Flannery List, a list of 200+ plays/musicals that deal in an interesting way with faith, religion, or spirituality, which was picked up by American Theatre magazine. To access the full list, visit flannerylist.com.

I served as the founding Executive Director of the Catholic Artist Connection, a non-profit organization which connects and supports Catholic artists.

I have also served as the Managing Director of Open Window Theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota. Before that, I worked as a Programming Associate at the Sheen Center for Thought & Culture in NYC, where I ran the Catholic artist residency program, helped produce theater and talks (including the annual Sheen Center Theater Festival), and co-curated theater rentals. I was also one of the founding members of Our Lady of Harlem Artist House, a community of Catholic artist men living together in central Harlem. I served on the Advisory Board of Turn to Flesh Productions, which presents new plays on modern themes in classical styles, and on the Manhattan Young Adult Council of the Archdiocese of New York. I also served on faculty and staff at CAP21 Conservatory/Molloy College, teaching Musical Theatre History and coordinating the CAP21 side of the Molloy B.F.A. program.

I received my Ph.D. in Divinity from the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts at the University of St Andrews. I also hold an M.A. in Theology from the University of Oxford and a B.F.A. in Drama from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where I received my training from Playwrights Horizons Theater School and Stonestreet Film & T.V. Studio.

I am a former Vice-President of the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society and have been an editor for Transpositions, the Journal of Inklings Studies, and Second Spring: A Journal of Faith & Culture. Other publications include HowlRoundThe Wayand Mythprint. I have been a guest speaker at Juilliard, Graduate Theological Union/Jesuit School of Theology, the City University of New York, the New York, Southern California, and Oxford C.S. Lewis Societies, and numerous other schools and groups.

I have produced and performed in theatre and film in both the U.S. and U.K., and am a member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA. Highlights include acting with Academy Award nominee Timothée Chalamet in Woody Allen’s 2019 film A Rainy Day in New York, working on a new musical with Tony Award winner Baayork Lee, producing an epic fantasy adventure at the Edinburgh Fringe, and starring as Nate Bingley in the indie geek comedy film Rise of the Fellowship.

Even if I cannot always respond, I always bring prayer requests to our Lord. You may submit a prayer request below.

Yours in Christ,

Cole

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20 thoughts on “Howdy, I’m Cole.

  1. Wow! We should maybe have lunch or dinner. My mother and I will be there from May 22-27. Email me at ccematson@gmail.com and I’ll send you my phone number.

    Cole

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. The kids would be thrilled. You now have a Quinter fan club. We would love to set something up. I was actually your cousin Staci’s English teacher long ago and my husband coached all of the girls. Please do get in touch when you are here. Thank you!

  3. Valerie,

    Glad the kids are enjoying the movie! My mother grew up in Gove, and my uncle, Jim Coberly, still runs the farm. I was just out there from mid-September until April 1 living on the farm while writing my PhD dissertation. I’m actually coming back for a visit later this month. Would be a pleasure to meet you!

    Cole

  4. Hello,
    I checked out your movie Rise of the Fellowship at the Quinter, Kansas library, and the librarian said you had donated it. She said you had lived near here. I was just curious after reading your bio. What on earth brought you to our tiny town? BTW, kids watching movie now and enjoying!

  5. I’m definitely hoping to do some work with Pacific, and have been talking with Ron about a future project, which I hope comes to fruition.

    Where are you hoping to start a company, and do your MFA in Directing? (Just checked out your website.:-)) I just missed your GOOD WAY OUT at Pacific – I was there last May to see Bill Cain’s HOW TO WRITE A NEW BOOK FOR THE BIBLE, which was my first experience with Pacific. Was blown away.

    Break a leg on GLASS MENAGERIE, blessings on your new marriage, and merry Christmas! It would be great to work together one day.

  6. I’m a Christian Theatre artist in the Vancouver and Greater Vancouver Area. I encourage you to keep looking into Pacific Theatre. I’ve worked with them a few times and have seen many of their productions. I think they’ve really grasped the biblical call to be “in the world but not of it”. I am personally hoping to start a theatre company like it, elsewhere in the world.

    Best of luck on getting your plays produced.

  7. Farah,

    Thanks for the note, and sorry for the delayed response. After Lewis died, the boys were not in Warnie’s care so far as I know, since they were both over 18 by that point. There was a woman in the neighbourhood who had helped with their care after Joy died, and I believe she continued to watch over them after Lewis died. In addition, Lewis left the boys trust funds (and also left some money to the neighbour in gratitude). The boys are now the heirs to the Estate.

    I’d love to see pictures and/or video whenever you can manage it!

    Thanks, and blessings,
    Cole

  8. Hi Cole,
    Thank you so much for the educational tour of the Kilns and Holy Trinity’s graveyard. You were a great tour guide! I wish that we lived closer so you could get to know my husband Stuart. I had some additional questions about Warnie Lewis. Were the boys in his care after Lewis died? If so, for how long? He didn’t seem to be capable of taking care of himself very well. By the way, check this out.
    http://www.deerfield.edu/people/79/215/Theater_Director
    The video of the tour is on my mother’s computer. I can email you some pictures from the tour but if you’d like video, it will probably take a while to get it to you. The next time I’m home I can try to put it on youtube or on a disk.

    Best wishes and God Bless!
    Farah

  9. Cole, The Church of the Redeemer in Baltimore Maryland has for 20+ years used theatre as a focus for their youth (7 to 12 grade). My daughter participated in this youth ministry for five years. My wife and i help with the youth ministry for six years.

    The concept is to utilize the creating and production of a musical theatre production bring youth into a Christian setting and experience the power of theatre to develop and enhance Christian values. The youth with the help of adult leaders participate in all aspects of preparing for and staging a musical productions. Some years the plays have had a religious theme but not always.

    The power of this appraoch includes attracting youth to be involved with the church community, creation of a youth community, working together to accomplish a joint goal, praying and dining togehter to develop friendship and a sense of spirtuality, etc.

  10. Marilyn,

    My e-mail is ccematson AT gmail DOT com. (The odd spelling is to deter spam-bots.) Thanks!

    Cole

  11. Thanks Cole for your encouraging words. Of course you can read my play — I would love to hear your comments. Where should I email it/send it? Thanks for the prayers, Marilyn MacCrakin

  12. Marilyn,

    Thank you very much for your comment. It’s wonderful to hear from a playwright who is out there trying to strike that balance. If you’re willing, I’d love to read your play. (I’m actually in the midst of my Old Testament class at the moment.) King David was such a complex man. His Psalm 51 (Greek 50), the Miserere, is one of my favorites. As part of the Church’s Divine Office, I pray it every Friday.

    I’ve heard excellent things about Pacific, and I wish you well with them. You might also want to look into Blackfriars Repertory in New York City. Thanks for checking in, and for your prayers. I will pray for you as well.

    Yours in Christ,
    Cole

  13. Dear Cole –
    I stumbled across your blog/website when I was doing an internet search for Professional Christian Theatres. I was looking for theatres to produce my plays. I am a Christian and a playwright. I believe I write positive, uplifting moral plays. I have won awards for my plays and have had some productions but many times my plays are rejected by “secular” theatres because they are “too religious” and by Christian theatres because they are not religious enough. Lately I have been inspired to write plays about Biblical people. My latest work, “Among the Prophets” takes a realistic look at King David and King Saul. I turn them into real, living, breathing humans with flaws and defects. First of all, I do this because I believe it is the truth and also because I believe that many times Christian plays have a “Sunday School” mentality – they present only the “good” in a Biblical story so that this will somehow inspire people to also become good. Whereas I think this has the opposite effect – people believe to be a Christian you have to be a goody two-shoes and they know they will never measure up. So with that in mind, I also “create” characters that are multi-faceted, for instance I take the Witch of Endor and change her from a minor character into a major one with all the imagination that I can muster into her.
    And just to let you know, I did not find many Professional Christian theatres that would be a good fit for any of my plays. I do have one play about John the Baptist that is being considered by Pacific Theatre but I wish there were more theatres out there like Pacific Theatre. If you do start a theatre or if you run across any that are looking for quality plays – let me know and I will continue to visit your progress on this website. I pray for your continued success! Thanks for listening, Marilyn MacCrakin

  14. Mike,

    By all means, feel free to use it. I’d be interested to know where you do.

    Thanks,
    Cole

  15. Can I use the following comments from you (taken from a comment at internetmonk), provided I give credit?

    The pastor of my church at college once said something in a sermon that stuck with me. The church worked with a local homeless shelter to provide beds in the church hall for 10 men each night during the winter. Two people from the church would volunteer to stay overnight and get them settled with showers and cots, put out breakfast and coffee, etc. (Volunteers generally helped out anywhere from once a week to once every couple of months depending on their schedule.)

    The pastor said in the sermon that the church might not be able to provide this service next year if more people didn’t put their names on the schedule to help out. He said several people had told him they didn’t want to do it anymore because “they weren’t getting anything out of it.”

    He said, “The purpose isn’t for you to get something out of it, though it’s nice if you do. The purpose is for these homeless men to get something out of it – a warm and safe place to sleep. The purpose of volunteering is not so that you can feel good; it’s because you as a Christian have an obligation to help those who wouldn’t be helped otherwise.”

    Thanks for your reply

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