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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Chase

Irish Classical Chooses a new Artistic Director


American director with strong ties to Ireland

Keelie A. Sheridan, new Artistic Director at Irish Classical

Making good their word to engage in an expansive search and to make connections to Irish theater a priority, the board of the Irish Classical Theatre Company has chosen Keelie A. Sheridan to take over from Kate LoConti, effective Monday. Ms. Sheridan studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, the Stella Adler Studio, HB Studios, The Wild Irish Acres School and the Niall O’Leary School of Dance. She holds an MFA in Acting from Brooklyn College and an MFA in Directing from The Lir Academy of Trinity College Dublin/ RADA. She was a 2015-2016 George J Mitchell Scholar, sponsored by the US Ireland Alliance.

Currently an Artist-in-Residence of Directing/ Acting in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Union College in Schenectady, on her webpage, Sheridan reports that she, “works as an actor, dancer, director, filmmaker and educator. She competed in the 2009 Irish Dance World Championships and has appeared in world premieres and reprised works by playwrights including Charles Mee, Ben Gassman, Paul Ketchum, Elizabeth Irwin and Mac Wellman. Keelie has been a company member of the Void Theatre Company of NYC and the Blessed Unrest training ensemble, and currently serves as Co-Artistic Director of The Ume Group- a physical theatre ensemble. She has conceived and executed several performance art pieces and site-specific installations, directed the European premiere of Julia Jarcho's 'Grimly Handsome' in Dublin, Ireland, associate directed Creative Time/ Pedro Reyes/ Meghan Finn's 'Doomocracy' at the Brooklyn Army Terminal and her first feature-length film, planet b234, which screened at festivals across the globe in 2020, 2021 and 2022, won awards including Best Sci-Fi Feature, Best Escapism Film and Best Male Performance and is now available to stream on Amazon Prime. Keelie recently won a Stanley Award for Best Direction of a Play for her production of Kate Hamill’s ‘Little Women’ at the George S. Lindsey Theatre. She is a member of Actors Equity Association and an Associate Member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

“Keelie has worked as a theatre, dance, film and creative writing educator in public schools, universities and studios in NYC, Alabama and upstate New York. Her teaching experiences include Brooklyn College, City College of New York, the T Schreiber Studio, University of North Alabama, The Ume Group, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Brooklyn Prospect, Brooklyn College Community Partnership and Community Word Project.”

Sheridan will move her life to Buffalo, including (I’m told) a husband and dog, and will report to the office, in person, on September 5th.

A press release from ICTC states, “after nearly two decades in NYC, [Keelie] brings an impressive range of qualifications and creative insights which embody the spirit and mission of ICTC in an extraordinary manner.”

"I am thrilled to join the Irish Classical Theatre Company, and to build upon the legacy of previous leaders by guiding the company’s next phases of evolution,” said Sheridan. “I look forward to curating programming that contextualizes classical works within our modern landscape, examines the conversations between voices of the past and present, and explores the way Irish and American stories intersect or engage with other cultures around the world. I hold highly the theatre’s values of inclusion, diversity, equity and access, and look forward to serving Irish Classical Theatre Company’s existing community and expanding its network of artists and audiences."

Sheridan has an extensive physical theatre background, as well as training in Anti-Racist/Anti-Oppressive and Inclusive Theatre Practices, Consent-Based Theatre Practices, and Intimacy Choreography and Coordination.

“Sheridan’s vision resonates deeply with our commitment to presenting exceptional theatre experiences that captivate and resonate with our diverse audiences,” said John Earshen, President of the ICTC Board of Trustees. “With Keelie at the helm, we are eager to embark on a fresh artistic journey that holds promise and potential. Her deep familiarity with both classical and contemporary Irish theatre makes her an ideal leader to steer our company towards a vibrant and inspiring future.”

Interesting side note: Playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan, author the "The Rivals" and "School for Scandal," though best known for his artistic and political accomplishments in London, England, was actually born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1751. Sheridan was Irish!


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