Sharon E. Cooper is a playwright and screenwriter whose short plays have been produced in Germany, India, Hungary, Singapore, Australia, England, the Netherlands and across the U.S. She is published in several college textbooks, including The Bedford Introduction to Literature; Reading Literature and Writing Argument; and Literature to Go and her short plays are taught across America. She has been a guest lecturer of her plays at New York University, The Neighborhood Playhouse, Buffalo State College, and the Governor’s School of the Arts, among others. She was also the Playwright-in-Residence at New Voices for the Theatre in Richmond, VA, in the program that produced her first full-length play when she was in high school. She is published in The Best Ten-Minute Plays of 2010, 2014, 2016 and 2019; and in Laugh Lines: Short Comic Plays, among others. Her full-length plays have had readings and productions at the American Theatre of Actors, the Michael Weller Theater, Makor (part of the 92nd Street Y), the Drama Book Shop, TheatreVirginia and more. She has been commissioned several times, including by the Keller Theatre, the oldest English language theatre in Germany. She was a finalist in the Short & Sweet Festival in Sydney, Australia, the largest short play festival in the world. As a screenwriter, her short films have screened around the country; “The Seven Men of Hanukkah” won the Boston Jewish Film Festival, was on DirecTV in North American and South Asia, and was a “Daily Pick” on Film Shortage. “Believin’” won the filmmaker’s favorite award at the Chain Film Festival. Sharon is also a yoga instructor, an English tutor/writing coach (www.maximumpotentialeducation.com), a New Yorker, an auntie, and a proud member of the Dramatist Guild and Honor Roll.
WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA
TW, IG: @sharonecoop
MORE ABOUT ME
In my short film “The Seven Men of Hanukkah” the character Stephanie, says: “When the lights go down [in the theatre], it’s like anything is possible. And I just want meeting people to be fun and joyful. Like when did we stop having fun. And why?” That film started as a play. And I have loved plays since I saw Fences, Gloria, August: Osage County; Caroline, or Change; Angels in America; Men in Boats; Top Dog/Underdog, Hamilton, Oklahoma (the recent one); Intimate Apparel, All the Way, What the Constitution Means to Me, and countless others; since I read Night Mother and Mrs. Packard and studied with both of these women playwrights; since I studied with David Ives and wrote countless 10 minute plays myself that went on to be produced and published internationally; since I watched a taped film version of Parade at Lincoln Center and compared it to Caroline, or Change for my Master’s Thesis at NYU; since I met John Henry Redwood at 24 when I was new to NYC, and he asked me over French Fries what I write about, and I said something about my Israel or a family drama, and he said, “No, what do you write about?” And I kept munching and said, “I don’t know, what do you write about?” And he said, “Love, everything I write about is about love.” And I realized later that I write about hope; every damn thing I write has some element of hope. I’ve loved the theatre since I was seventeen and wrote a full-length play in nine consecutive nights when I didn’t know any better to be afraid, and that play was one of five plays chosen in the state of Virginia for a workshop and production; and even before then I gave up being a cheerleader in Chesterfield, VA, (the only Jewish cheerleader because I was the only Jew) and I gave it up to act in a play. I’ve loved every second of every rehearsal for every play that every great actor elevated. I’ve loved being in audiences where people laughed at loud at something I wrote. And in this fucking time, I loved having a reading of my full length play CAUGHT on Zoom because Will Harper (from the Good Place) was in my work. And it is my greatest hope that that play will be produced regionally or off-Broadway because it’s a damn good play. And it’s my greatest hope that I will sit in a theatre again, waiting for the lights to go down for my play or any play and know that anything is possible.
WHAT I'M WORKING ON
Being present, staying healthy, spending less time on social media, making funny faces with my niece and nephew on Facetime, teaching yoga online, leading a group of white folks in anti-racism work since the pandemic started, finding a boyfriend (that's really hard to do in a pandemic when you're over 40) actually a boyfriend and a dog--not sure which is more important, new scripts in various stages, making really good smoothies, making my friends laugh, making myself laugh, making my parents in Florida social distance as much as I can.
Jewish, Comedies with heart, queer, cross cultural connections, women, intergenerational, 10-minute plays, full length plays, pandemic, working class