Ken-Matt Martin is the Artistic Director of Victory Gardens Theater, and was born in Little Rock, AR. He began his life in the performing arts as a child actor after booking an appearance on Nickelodeon’s landmark series All That. He went on to be educated and receive theatrical training at Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Drake University (Musical Theater/Journalism), and Brown University/Trinity Rep where he received an MFA in Directing. Following a decade-long stint as a professional actor that included roles in plays and musicals at regional theaters and numerous commercials he transitioned to directing and producing full-time. His life in the theater led him to adopt the personal mission of using theater as a catalyst for social change.
Ken-Matt, inspired by the Black Arts Movement, co-founded Pyramid Theatre Company in Des Moines, IA where he served as Executive Director until 2018. The company commits itself to the tenet of Sankofa, a word in the Akan language of Ghana meaning “return to retrieve” and is the only theater company committed to Black writers in the state of Iowa. Martin’s producing and directing credits in Des Moines have received thirty-four Cloris Leachman Excellence in Theatre Award nominations, including two awards for Best Play and a Special Honor for Martin in 2016 for his exemplary service to the Des Moines arts community. Pyramid also received the Bravo Greater Des Moines 2018 Standing Ovation award for excellence in artistic leadership during Martin’s tenure. Selected directing credits include productions of Civil Sex by Brian Freeman, Mississippi Goddamn by Jonathan Norton, Tripping Over Roots by Jaymes Jorsling, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Prowess by Ike Holter, Shakuntala, tick..tick..Boom and a film entitled The Last Supper, being released later this year.
In 2018, Martin was named Producing Director of Williamstown Theatre Festival (WTF). Martin was previously the Bill Foeller Directing Fellow at WTF where he directed A Son, Come Home by Ed Bullins and Brotherhood by Louis Reyes McWilliams. During his tenure at WTF as Producing Director he produced the world premiere productions of Grand Horizons, Selling Kabul, Before The Meeting, A Human Being of A Sort, Tell Me I’m Not Crazy, and revivals of Ghosts starring Uma Thurman and A Raisin in the Sun directed by Robert O’Hara. Martin also negotiated the Off-Broadway transfers of Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow, Seared and Selling Kabul. Additionally, he negotiated the Broadway transfers of The Sound Inside (2020 Tony Nomination) and Grand Horizons (2020 Tony Nomination). After leaving WTF in the fall of 2019, Martin was named the Associate Producer of Goodman Theatre. Since arriving at Goodman he co-created and curated the Future Labs new play development program and also created and produced Live @ 5 during the pandemic. Martin served three years on the Board of Directors of Employee and Family Resources of Iowa. He also previously served as a member of Drake University’s National Alumni Board. After moving to Chicago, he joined the board of Season of Concern. In addition to his volunteer work, he also serves as a consultant and anti-racism facilitator for New York City Center, Design Action, and Arkansas Repertory Theatre.