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

Karen Sheridan

Karen Sheridan

karen sheridan Karen Sheridan
Professor of Theatre
Acting Area Coordinator

(248) 370-2045

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. In the Lansing area, she recently received Lansing State Journal and City Pulse recognition (2016 Thespie and Pulsar Awards) for Best Actress in a Play for her work as "Betty" in the Michigan premiere of Chapatti at the Williamston Theatre.

Karen received her BA in Theatre from Loyola University of Chicago, spending one year at their Rome Center campus studying theatre and art history with Dr. Michael Fink and stone-carving with Peter Rockwell. She studied mime with Michael Thomas, Bud Beyer, Thomas Leabhart, and in Paris with Etienne Decroux. Karen got her MFA from the Goodman School of Drama at DePaul University. She taught at both her alma maters, Stateville Correctional Facility, and spent six years on the 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 50 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 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), Iphigenia (2015) and Electra (2017). 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 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.