Clay teacher acts in suspenseful play at Theater in the Round


Emma Froseth

Cawley (right) in costume as Richard Amory after the show.

Emma Froseth, Staff Writer

Currently Mr. Matthew Cawley, Benilde-St. Margaret’s art teacher and actor, is involved in a production of the murder mystery Black Coffee by Agatha Christie at Theater in the Round in Minneapolis. The show will run for four weeks (November 20 – December 20) with a total of 12 performances.

Black Coffee is the a classic whodunit; it is the story of an English inventor, Sir Claud Amory, who was murdered by poison in his black coffee and has his secret formula stolen. Cawley is playing Richard Amory, the only son of Sir Claud. “The show is a murder mystery, surrounding scientific discovery, blackmail, hidden identity, and greed,” Cawley said. 

The art teacher and actor has had a passion for theatre and acting since acting in Comedy of Errors in the fifth grade. As a high school student, Cawley performed in every show his school had, and when he went to college, he performed in 17 shows. Since moving to the Twin Cities he has performed in eight shows. “I am a theater addict, I can’t stop. I can’t imagine my life without theatrical input,” Cawley said.

Cawley first became involved in theater by watching television and connecting to the characters. Cawley’s parents introduced him to the theater at an early age by going to dinner theater and reading Shakespeare. Through involvement in theater, Cawley has been able to learn more about himself and the world, including history. “I honestly wouldn’t know anything about history without theater,” Cawley said.

I have a triple life: actor, ceramic artist, and teacher.”

— Matthew Cawley

His favorite part about acting is the relationships that can be made with both the audience and his fellow actors. “In the modern day and age we are so focused on technology and interaction over the internet that we don’t have a lot of face to face conversation and emotional conversation with each other, and in theater you are required to interact with people with different backgrounds,” Cawley said.

He is also passionate about art, especially clay and ceramics. Cawley first worked with clay during middle school, but he enjoyed art long before that. “I have been doing fiber arts since I was eight or nine,” Cawley said.

Cawley became truly immersed in the world of ceramics when he was in college and had an clay internship in the Twin Cities. “I also can’t imagine my life without clay. I have a triple life: actor, ceramic artist, and teacher,” Cawley said.

Over time, Cawley has learned to create balance between his many passions. He one day dreams of being a full time actor, but he also can’t see his life without ceramics and teaching. “Sometimes, there are moments that it is hard to focus on acting when I am thinking about projects my students are doing. There are also other times I want to be in shows, but I can’t because they rehearse during the day,” Cawley said.