Sheila Callaghan

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Sheila Callaghan
Sheila Callaghan in 2007.jpg
Born (1973-01-24) January 24, 1973 (age 43)
Queens, New York
Nationality American
Period Contemporary

Sheila Callaghan (born 1973) is a New York City-based playwright and screenwriter who emerged from the RAT (Regional Alternative Theater) movement of the 1990s. Her work is considered to be part of the downtown theater (or "experimental") scene,[1][not in citation given] and is known[who?] for its unusual use of language and narrative structure. Callaghan's writing has been described as "comically engaging, subversively penetrating",[2] "whimsically eloquent",[3] "unique and completely contemporary",[4] and "downright weird".[5] The New York Times has said Callaghan "writes with a world-weary tone and has a poet's gift for economical description,"[6] and the Philadelphia Weekly has called Callaghan a "provocative playwright" with a "national following" who "creates work that's realistic and unpredictable, dark and funny, reassuring and disturbing."[7]

She has been profiled by American Theater Magazine, Time Out New York,[8][not in citation given] Theatermania,[9] and The Village Voice,[10] and she occasionally contributes articles to the theatre section of The Brooklyn Rail.[citation needed]

She was also the author of a (now defunct) blog which dealt with her life as a writer in New York City.[citation needed]

She is a member of the Kilroys, whom have created the Kilroys' List for 2014 and 2015.


She is a member of the playwrights' collective 13P and the New Dramatists.[citation needed]


Callaghan is the recipient of several writing awards, including The Princess Grace Award, The LA Weekly Theater Award.


The Jerome Fellowship from the Playwright's Center, The Chesley Prize for Lesbian Playwriting, a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, a grant from The New York Foundation for The Arts, and an NYSCA grant. In 2007 her play Dead City won a Special Commendation Award for the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.[citation needed] She is also a 2007 recipient of the Whiting Award.[citation needed]


Callaghan has taught playwriting and English at the University of Rochester, The College of New Jersey, Spalding University, Brooklyn College, LaGuardia Community College, and Florida State University.


She is married to composer Sophocles Papavasilopoulos, with whom she has a son.

Plays by Sheila Callaghan[edit]

Her most well-known play to date is Dead City, a free adaptation of James Joyce's Ulysses, which was produced by New Georges at 3LD Art & Technology Center in 2006. Her other plays have been produced and developed with Soho Rep, Playwrights Horizons, The Flea Theater, South Coast Repertory, Clubbed Thumb, The LARK, Collision Theatre Company, Actor's Theatre of Louisville, New Georges, the Bloomington Playwrights Project, Theatre of NOTE, Impact Theatre, foolsFURY Theater Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre and Moving Arts, among others.

Internationally, her plays have been produced in New Zealand, Norway, Germany, Portugal, and the Czech Republic. She has been commissioned by Playwrights Horizons, South Coast Repertory, and the Ensemble Studio Theatre.

Several of her plays are published by Playscripts, Inc., Samuel French Inc., and S. Fischer Verlag (in German translation), and she has been anthologized in the New York Theatre Review.

List of plays:

  • Scab
  • Lascivious Something
  • Dead City
  • Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake) (originally produced by Clubbed Thumb)
  • Crawl, Fade to White
  • Kate Crackernuts
  • We Are Not These Hands
  • Fever/Dream
  • That Pretty Pretty (Or, The Rape Play) (originally produced by Rattlestick Playwrights Theater)
  • Roadkill Confidential
  • Everything You Touch
  • Port Out, Starboard Home
  • Water (a meditation on...)

She won a Robert Chesley Award from Publishing Triangle in 2002.[11]

Film and television[edit]

Callaghan is a writer/producer for the Showtime series Shameless and was a writer for two seasons on United States of Tara. Her pilot Over/Under was filmed for the USA Network, starring Steven Pasquale and Caroline Dhavernas. She was hired to write the film adaptation of I Dream of Jeannie by Sony Pictures Entertainment and Escape Artists. She is also collaborating on a film with Steven Shainberg entitled The Nakeds. In 2010, Callaghan was profiled by Marie Claire as one of "18 successful women who are changing the world."[12] She was also named one of Variety magazine's "10 Screenwriters to Watch" of 2010.[13]

See also[edit]

The Biology of Luck


  1. ^ "in dialogue: Devouring the Scenery with Sheila Callaghan". The Brooklyn Rail. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. 
  2. ^ Hurwitt, Robert (2006-07-01). "Achingly funny comedy that has serious issues with capitalism". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  3. ^ "Dazzling 'Crumble' is stalwartly screwy". Los Angeles Times. 
  4. ^ "Bloomsday Revisited". offoffonline. 
  5. ^ Green, Leah B. (2005-09-30). ""Weird" play christens new theater space". The Seattle Times. 
  6. ^ Zinoman, Jason (2006-06-02). "'Dead City': It's a Wonderful, Lively Town, Where the Dead Men Speak". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  7. ^ "Review". Philadelphia Weekly. 
  8. ^ "The not-ready-for-Broadway playwrights". Timeout New York. 
  9. ^ "People to Watch". Theater Mania. 
  10. ^ "Rejoyce:A playwright's modern-day downtown riff on Ulysses". The Village Voice. 
  11. ^ "Christopher Shinn and Sheila Callaghan Win Chesley Awards". TheatreMania, June 2002.
  12. ^ "Successful Women Profiles – Stories of Successful Women". Marie Claire. 
  13. ^ Morfoot, Addie (2010-11-16). "Sheila Callaghan: 'Dream' job for playwright". Variety. 

External links[edit]