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Karen Sheridan


Distinguished Professor of Theatre
Co-founder, Classical Theatre Study in Greece Program

[email protected]
(248) 370-2045

Links:  See the promo video of Professor Sheridan's Company Class production of In the Red and Brown Water."

Karen Sheridan (she/her), distinguished professor of theatre, joined the faculty at Oakland in 1991 with an MFA in Acting from DePaul University and a BA in Theatre from Loyola University Chicago. She spent a year at Loyola's Rome Center studying theatre and art history with Dr. Fink and stone-carving with Peter Rockwell. Karen studied mime with Michael Thomas, Bud Beyer, Thomas Leabhart, and in Paris with Etienne Decroux. She taught at both her alma maters, at Stateville Correctional Facility and spent six years on the faculty of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College.

In Chicago, she played a host of roles and garnered two Joseph Jefferson Citations before spending a year on the road as the Stepmother in Into the Woods. In the Detroit area, Karen’s been recognized with a Detroit Free Press Best Supporting Actress Award for Dancing at Lughnasa and Oakland Press Awards for that play and her work in Angels in America for Meadow Brook Theatre. She received Lansing State Journal and City Pulse Awards in 2016 for her work in Chapatti at the Williamston Theatre. Karen was nominated for a Wilde Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Play for The Beauty Queen of Leenane at Detroit Public Theatre. She won the 2019 Wilde (Best Supporting Actress in a Play) and Pulsar (Best Featured Actress in a Play) Awards for her work in Williamston Theatre’s Silent Sky. Karen was an actor in the inaugural 48Hours in…Detroit co-produced by Detroit Public Theatre and Harlem9.

Karen has directed more than 90 plays and theatrical events; including repertoire from Classical Greece, the Shakespeare and musical theatre canons, opera and pieces for actors with orchestra. Her Oakland productions of Cloud Nine, Stags and HensThe Trojan Women and Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet were invited to perform at Region III Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festivals. Cloud Nine was selected to perform at the national festival in Washington, DC.

Karen co-founded Oakland's Classical Theatre Study in Greece summer program and has written new versions of Medea (2011), Antigone (2013), Iphigenia (2015), Electra (2017) and Orestes (2019). She has directed these projects with Oakland students on the islands of Hydra, Spetses and Poros in Greece, before returning for an on-campus run each post-Greece September.

Karen is grateful for the Department of Theatre's 23-year partnership with Synergy on Stage, a sign language interpreting company that specializes in shadow-signing, providing the Deaf community with accessible performances of plays and musicals. She is a proud recipient of the Monica E. Emerson Diversity Award for her commitment to diversity and inclusion on stage.

Karen is a member of the Actors’ Equity Association. When she has time, she studies with the teachers at Shakespeare & Company.  She acts, directs and coaches professionally.

School of Music, Theatre and Dance

Varner Hall, Room 207
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
Academic Office: (248) 370-2030
Box Office: (248) 370-3013
Fax: (248) 370-2041