Shelagh McFadden is a playwright and dramaturg in the Los Angeles intimate theatre community.
After a number of years focused on other people’s projects, Shelagh recently returned to playwriting with her one-act YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND, which received readings in The Road Theatre Company's Summer Play Festival 9 and the We the People series at Sacred Fools. This short work sparked a full-length titled CONNECTED, which was read in The Word series at The Road December 7, 2020.
As a dramaturg, she's especially proud of her work on the 2018 production of Matthew Scott Montgomery's DEAD BOYS at Celebration Theatre and on The Blank Theatre’s workshop and mainstage productions of Aliza Goldstein’s A SINGULAR THEY, which won the L.A. Drama Critics Circle 2016 Ted Schmitt Award for world premiere of a new play.
While on staff at The Blank for eight years, Shelagh produced over 50 staged readings in the Living Room Series new play development program, dramaturging many of those plays. She served as dramaturg on the first two seasons of MADlab at Moving Arts and as a mentor for two seasons of the Young Playwrights Festival, helping teenagers shape their plays.
In her former life in New York, her work as playwright and monologist was seen on stages including La Mama ETC, HOME, Broome Street Theater, Cooper Square Theatre, Nat Horne Theater, and the Knitting Factory. She also performed at the New York Storytelling Center, spoke on “Storytelling in New York Theatre” at the National Storytelling Conference, and told her original stories for adults on radio stations WNYC and WBAI.
A member of the Dramatists Guild, Shelagh holds a Master's in Creative Writing and is a veteran of numerous writers’ groups, workshops, and seminars, but owes her biggest debt to script interpretation classes with acting teacher Stella Adler.
WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA
MORE ABOUT ME
What play or production changed my life? When I was about 6 years old growing up in a refinery town in Southeast Texas, my favorite aunt was working with the local Civic Opera. She let me hand out programs and then stay up to see an opera. I'm not even sure which one — LA TRAVIATA? — but it was magical! I was hooked. I saw many more of their productions and read a little book called THE STORY OF A HUNDRED OPERAS cover to cover (over and over). I still have it! Then in junior high I discovered the drama shelf at the library and read everything on it. I fell in love with Chekhov, especially THE CHERRY ORCHARD, because I could see in it my own weird family clinging to a huge decaying house from better days gone by. From this I learned that plays could be about me and the lives I saw around me ... which gave me the idea that maybe someday I could write plays myself.
WHAT I'M WORKING ON
I’m currently focused on rewriting CONNECTED, a full-length drama set in the multi-ethnic, blue-collar world of cable TV technicians.
Equality, Women's Empowerment, Social Change, Class, Code-Switching