Eugenie Bondurant in Air-Earth-Fire-Water, Tampa Museum of Art, photo by Creative Loafing

Sheila Cowley is a playwright and audio producer based in St. Petersburg FL

I create performance works that celebrate words, movement, visuals and sound – while telling stories that inspire people to look up, look sideways and look closer.

My plays focus on shifting gender roles and new definitions of family and identity. I write stories rich in humor and humanity. I strive to give life to stories that celebrate imagination and to characters who burst boundaries as they struggle to see over the horizon. 

From a career in audio, voice is what drew me to theatre. But living in a vibrant arts community, I’m increasingly inspired by the ways that stories can be told without words and often need to be.

I thrive on the energy of collaboration. I work with actors, dancers, sound and visual artists to create performances where words shift and grow, and fire everyone’s invention. A performance starts with a spark of mine and becomes a living work that everybody has a hand in and that none of us would have thought of, alone. 

At a time when everything is labeled, it’s vital to me that my plays embrace diverse casting. And wherever I can, I create characters open to actors of any gender and a range of ages. One of my short plays has been performed by two men in their 40s, by two college-age women and by non-binary actors – and each pair made it real. 

Gifted actors can play anyone. I want to create worlds where anyone, can happen. 

photo by Tom Kramer