Matthew has been honored for children’s songwriting by the John Lennon Songwriting Foundation for his children’s musical, The House on Chestnut Ridge. Combining storytelling with bluegrass, jazz, blues, and reggae songs and score, Chestnut Ridge has been performed at civic events, elementary schools, and family festivals. (It is available as a free download for educators at www.Porticia.com.) The award funded a subsequent 10-song compact disc for families and children that he co-wrote and produced entitled, Anyone Can Dance.
Matthew K. Weiland has also been recognized for his creative work by Columbia University, the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the John Lennon Songwriting Foundation, Writer's Digest and the Ohio Arts Council’s Individual Artists Fellowship Program.
His first play, The Whales of Long Kesh, a fictionalized account of the 1981 prison hunger strike in Northern Ireland, was initially selected by Chicago’s world-renowned and Tony Award-winning Steppenwolf Theatre Company as part of Steppenwolf’s initial New Plays Project series. The play subsequently received two readings, the second on Steppenwolf’s Studio Stage in December 1991, directed by Company member Robert Breuler.
The Ohio Arts Council subsequently selected Matthew for an Individual Artists Fellowship for Playwriting, based on Long Kesh, one of six recipients to receive a $5000 award. The play also received a production in at Cleveland State University’s Factory Theater in an extended-run that played to numerous sold-out houses.
Along the way, Long Kesh received a production grant from New York’s Pilgrim Project foundation while also earning a First-Place Award as the winning entry in the Stage-Play category for the Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. In addition, his short play, Bell Curve, was named one of three winners in the Seventh Annual Fitten Center for the Creative Arts One-Act Play Festival, staged by the MisFitt Theatre Company.