Michael Shamata made his POV debut and his debut as an opera director with the February 2011 production of Puccini's La Bohème. He has also been working with POV as Dramaturge on Mary's Wedding, a new opera commissioned by POV. He will direct the world premiere in November 2011.
Michael is the Artistic Director of the Belfry Theatre, where he has directed And Slowly Beauty…, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Jessie Award for Outstanding Direction), Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking, Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing and Ann-Marie MacDonald's musical Anything That Moves.
West coast directing credits also include I Am My Own Wife, Guys and Dolls, The Music Man, and Hello, Dolly! at the Vancouver Playhouse, and Much Ado About Nothing, Love's Labour's Lost, and The Winter's Tale at Bard on the Beach.
He has directed at most of the major theatres across the country, including the Stratford Festival, Canadian Stage, Soulpepper, and the Manitoba Theatre Centre, and his work has been seen in every province in Canada.
His productions have won awards for outstanding production in Toronto (A Little Night Music), Vancouver (Fiddler on the Roof) and Ottawa (Kilt). Michael is the former Artistic Director of Theatre New Brunswick and the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario.
Michael Shamata … makes his debut as an opera director here, and obviously has a knack for the genre. For one thing, he believes, to his credit, that his top priority is to stay out of the way of the music. Here, the more intense the music becomes, the less tempted Shamata is by needlessly busy or clever theatrics … Shamata keeps the stage picture simple, letting the voices and instruments do the heavy lifting dramatically; the result seems not dull or stiff but simply appropriate.
Shamata does sometimes get to exercise his chops more liberally, though – in light-hearted episodes among the men, in the death scene (handled with welcome restraint), and especially in Act 2, where he deftly manages a busy café scene populated by a large chorus (including children).
Kevin Bazzana, Times Colonist (La Bohème, 2011)
The production as a whole is a triumph of storytelling; Shamata is especially faithful, and especially inventive, in his handling of the succession of street-scenes.
The National Post (Soulpepper: A Christmas Carol, 2010)
But, what makes this production dazzle is the fact that Shamata has stripped away the bells and whistles associated with the holiday season in order to focus on the small details that often get overlooked. It these small details that shine brightest, and it is those very details that set this production of A Christmas Carol apart.
Ilovetoronto.com (Soulpepper: A Christmas Carol, 2010)