Sheila Callaghan was born in 1973 in Queens, New York. She is a playwright and screenwriter who emerged from the RAT movement in the 90s. Her work for its unusual use of is considered to be part of the downtown theater scene, and is known language and narrative structure. Her writing has been described as "comically engaging, subversively eloquent," "unique and completely contemporary," and "downright weird." The New York Times has said she "writes with a world-weary tone and has poet's gift for economical description," and the Philadelphia Weekly has called her a "provocative playwright" with a "national following" who "creates work that's realistic and unpredictable, dark and funny, reassuring and disturbing."
She has been profiled by American Theater Magazine, Time Out New York, Theatermania, and The Village Voice, and she occasionally contributes articles to the theater section of The Brooklyn Rail.
She is also the recipient of several writing honors, including The Princess Grace Award, The LA Weekly Theater Award, The Jerome Fellowship from the Playwright's Center, The Chesley Prize for Lesbian Playwright, 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. She is also a 2007 recipient of the Whiting Writers Award.
She has taught play writing and English at the University of Rochester, The College of New Jersey, Spalding University, Brooklyn College, LaGuardia Community College, and Florida State University.
She was also the author of a blog popular within the theatre community, which dealt with her life as a writer in New York City. She is married to composer Sophocles Papavasilopoulos, whith whom she has a son.
Plays by Sheila Callaghan
Her most well-known play to date is Dead City, a free adaption 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, and she has been authorized in the New York Theatre Review.
Film and Television
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." She was also named one of Variety magazine's "10 Screenwriters to Watch" of 2010.