RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2022
Matt Opatrny is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter, essayist, performer, and teacher of playwriting and devised theatre. He recently wrote eight episodes of DreamWorks Animation’s new pre-K series Not Quite Narwhal (soon to premiere on Netflix), and several episodes of Moonbug Entertainment’s CoComelon Story Time podcast series (out on Spotify). He is currently head writer of Daisy, an independent production of a new science based live-action pre-K series.
Matt is visually impaired due to a degenerative retinal disease. He is currently developing a pre-K animated series with a visually impaired protagonist, and an autobiographical play about his experience with vision loss. He loves to write stories that celebrate differences and show that kindness, compassion, and thoughtfulness are superpowers to aspire to.
His play The Snow Queen (for children and family audiences, based on H.C. Andersen) won the 2018 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Production and was nominated for Outstanding Script. His play Burn, Crave, Hold also won the NY IT Award for Outstanding Production and was nominated for Outstanding Script, and Doruntine was awarded First Prize at the 2016 Secondo Theatre Festival in Zurich, Switzerland. His eleven full-length plays have been performed in New York City, across the country, and on international tours.
As a performer, he has appeared extensively Off-Broadway, regionally, on international tours, and on stage at The Moth storytelling events. He teaches workshops in playwriting, physical theatre, and devising to students across the country (from elementary school to university graduate level), earning a Special Commendation for Distinguished Leadership from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in 2019. He was a co-founder and Managing Director of Blessed Unrest, an award-winning physical theatre ensemble based in New York City. He is a graduate of Clemson University (Magna Cum Laude) and owes much of who he is to the sea turtles of Costa Rica.
After an extensive search and interview process, 18 individuals and one writing duo were invited to participate in the Virtual Cohort of RespectAbility’s 2022 Entertainment Lab taking place August 16 – September 22, 2022. This 6-week, 18-session Lab aims to further develop and elevate the talent pipeline of diverse professionals with disabilities working behind-the-scenes in television, film, and streaming. Participants include people with physical, cognitive, sensory, mental health, and other disabilities ranging in age from people in their 20’s through their 50’s. The Lab is a recipient of The Roddenberry Foundation Impact Award.
The Virtual Cohort of the 2022 Entertainment Lab is made possible with support by:
- Platinum Sponsors: Murray/Reese Foundation and Netflix
- Gold Sponsors: The Harnisch Foundation, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and The Walt Disney Company
- Silver Sponsors: Hollywood Foreign Press Association Charitable Trust, the National Endowment for the Arts, and NBCUniversal