Sheila Cowley is a playwright and audio producer whose work embraces other artforms – creating theatre that celebrates voice, movement, sound, visual art and circus artistry. It’s theatre that asks big questions – about gender roles and family, and tiny daily acts of heroism.
“While voice is what drew me to theatre, I’m increasingly inspired by the ways that stories can be told without words, and often should be told without words.
“I thrive on collaborative energy. It’s through the sparks created by exploring ideas with actors, directors, dancers, designers and visual artists, that I find the paths into each play I write.
“My plays focus on the tensions underneath the masks we wear. My work explores gender pressures, gender role reversals and the ever-changing parts we play as families shift due to marriage, death and divorce.
“But if I can explore all that with dance and circus, all the better.”
Find Sheila’s plays on the NEW PLAY EXCHANGE
The Latest. . .
My grateful thanks to the readers of Creative Loafing, for the 2018 Best of the Bay award for Best Playwright. Many thanks to Creative Loafing’s writers, for the Critic’s Choice award for Flying, “Best Proof an Old Story Deserves Telling Properly,” and awards for both of Tampa Rep’s lead actors.
Thanks to a Creative Pinellas 2018 Professional Artist fellowship, we got a chance to workshop Madness at The Studio@620, with 7 actors, 4 dancers, 2 onstage musicians improvising score and sound effects, and 3 visual artists involved in the set. Directed by Dan Granke, Choreographed by Paula Kramer. With Matthew Frankel, Eddie Gomez, Susan Haldeman, Tonia Krueger, Jan Neuberger, Stephanie Roberts and Jim Wicker as our actors, Ethan Barbee, Crystal DelGiudice, Helen Hansen French and Deisha King as our dancers, music by Tom Sivak and Matt Cowley, the set suggested by visual artist Kenny Jensen and featured artwork by Coralette Damme and Ana Maria Vasquez. Photos by Tom Kramer.
Honored that Flying was featured in Urban Stage‘s Summer Reading series, with a staged reading in midtown Manhattan on July 25. Flying was one of 5 Finalists for Marin Theatre Company‘s David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize 2018, out of over 500 submissions. And a finalist for Theatre Conspiracy‘s 2018 New Play Contest, out of 600 submissions.
Hue and Saturation debuted during Changing Scene Theatre Northwest‘s Summerplay 2018 Festival, and will be onstage at Florida Atlantic University’s Theatre Lab on January 5, 2019. Thank you to Dana Lynn Formby and Chicago Dramatists‘ terrific online classes, for a challenging assignment!
Air-Earth-Fire-Water was a thrilling collaboration with choreographers Helen Hansen French and Paula Kramer, actors Eugenie Bondurant and Chris Rutherford, dancers Helen Hansen French, Alex Jones, Erin Cardinal, Brian Fidalgo II and viola player A.J. Vaughan – a dance-theatre sequence inspired by science and commissioned by Creative Loafing Tampa for the GASP! Fringe Festival 2018 at the Tampa Museum of Art. A gorgeous performance and a thoroughly fulfilling experience.
The rehearsal process was a beautiful adventure, with the script as a starting point and everyone’s ideas helping to build a spectacular, funny and moving performance at GASP! and a week later at The Studio@620.
Duck had a wonderful production in Miami’s Summer Shorts Festival with City Theatre, one of the best short play festivals in the country and people who treat playwrights kindly. With Beth Dimon and Tom Wahl, directed by Gail Garrisan, with thanks to Literary Director Susi Westfall and Artistic Director Margaret Ledford.
Phoenix Theatre‘s Festival of New American Theatre 2018 was a wonderful, welcoming and inspiring experience, as The Burlesque Astronomy Play received a weeklong workshop in March with the fabulous team of Angelica Howland, David Dickinson and Maren Mascarelli, directed by William Partlan, with dramaturg Kirt Shineman, stage manager Alex Koszewski and many thanks to festival director Robert Kolby Harper.
It’s an honor to be chosen to serve as a Professional Artist Fellow this year by Creative Pinellas.
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