Professor of Theatre
Acting Area Coordinator
Click to see the promo video of Professor Sheridan's Company Class production of In the Red and Brown Water."
Karen Sheridan, professor of theatre, is an actress originally from Chicago, who came to Oakland after a year on the road as Cinderella’s Stepmother in Into the Woods. In Chicago, she played a host of roles and garnered two Joseph Jefferson Citations. In the Detroit area, she’s been recognized with a Detroit Free Press Best Supporting Actress Award for Kate in Dancing at Lughnasa and Oakland Press Awards for that play and her work in Angels in America at Meadow Brook Theatre.
Karen received her A.B. in Theatre from Loyola University of Chicago, spending one year at their Rome Center campus. She studied mime in Paris with Etienne Decroux and got her M.F.A. from the Goodman School of Drama at DePaul University. She taught at both her alma maters and spent six years on faculty at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College.
Since her arrival at Oakland University, she has introduced a number of new courses and has directed more than 40 plays, including repertoire from Classical Greece, Shakespeare, musical theatre, opera and pieces for actors and orchestra. Her Oakland productions of Cloud Nine, Stags and Hens and The Trojan Women were all invited to perform at regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festivals. Cloud Nine went on 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) and Iphigenia (2015) which she directed with Oakland students on the islands of Hydra, Spetses and Poros in Greece.
Karen is proud of the Theatre Program's partnership with Synergy on Stage, a sign language interpreting company that specializes in shadow-signing. Since 1998, the Theatre Program has provided the Deaf community with accessible performances of plays and musicals. In 2012, they co-produced Police Deaf Near Far by David Rush, which Karen directed. Two Deaf professional actors joined the student acting company for an unpredictably rich experience for actors and audience alike. "Issues were raised, perspectives enlightened and we walked in each other's shoes for a couple of hours. Theatre accomplished!"
When she is free to do so, Karen studies with the teachers at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts. She acts, directs and coaches professionally.