Kelli Shermeyer is a storyteller, teaching artist, and creative strategist committed to helping people tell powerful, transformational stories and guiding organizations in aligning their practices with their values.
Trained as an academic with a specialization in contemporary global drama, Kelli (she/her/hers) has spent the last decade in academic institutions and nonprofit theaters developing artist-driven programming for playwrights, creative writers, actors, and dramaturgs, while also acquiring experience in literary management, new play dramaturgy, and event planning and execution. She digs loud music, deep thinking, and working in found spaces.
Kelli has taught courses on playwriting, dramaturgy, and theater for social change at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Virginia, and has directed theater and supervised artist-apprentices in theater direction, dramaturgy, and production management for a local nonprofit theater.
She has directed with, produced work by, or dramaturged for Bree Luck, Julie Hamberg, Marianne Kubik, Jeremy Duncan Pape, Betsy Rudelich Tucker, Ray Nedzel, and Lisa Devine, and enjoyed the mentorship of Sandy Robbins and other members of the University of Delaware's Resident Ensemble Players. Kelli has also worked for the American High School Theatre Festival/International Collegiate Festival supporting high schools and colleges as they bring their productions to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. She is also a co-convenor of the Ecology & Performance Working Group of the American Society for Theater Research (with Ashley Chang and Antonia Krueger) and co-directors the yearly flash play festival at the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts (with Carrie J. Cole).
Kelli is currently based in the greater Philadelphia area. She is available for freelance work.
We all must also advocate for BIPOC leadership on our creative teams and find ways to fund BIPOC led art-making initiatives. I unequivocally support We See You, White American Theater's demand for substantive changes in the ways we make theater to address the practices of systemic racism that historically and currently shape our industry. I also believe that programming committees and literary departments who select the content of artistic seasons have a responsibility to select projects that tell a multitude of stories; to foster dialogue and progress, we must commit to telling stories that are richly intersectional. Theater and art provide a means to elevate the conversation, engage in utopian dreaming, cultivate solidarity with the many lives and experiences of those with whom we share this planet.
Hello and welcome to my website! Please use the side menu on the home page to navigate through some of my recent writing, directing projects, dramaturgy work, and information about hiring me as a consultant or freelance artist. If you're interested in working with me, please use the contact form at the bottom of this page to get in touch!
2013 - 2019
PhD, University of Virginia
2008 - 2012
Honors BA, University of Delaware
Performance Development Grant for [Performance X], Mellon Global South Lab in Performance Cultures and Embodied Creative Practices
Thomas J. Griffis Prize, University of Virginia
David G. Hartwell Emerging Scholar Award, International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts
Peer-Reviewed Essays & Book Chapters
“Catastrophic Futures: Tragic Children in Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman,” Journal of Contemporary Drama in English
The Future is Fey: Toward a Posthuman Dramaturgy in Caryl Churchill’s The Skriker,” Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts
Reviews & Public-Facing Essays
“Feminist Futures,” PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art
“Pandemic Dramaturgy: Tragedy and Accountability,” LMDA Dramaturging the Phoenix Project
“Some Reflections on the Theatricality of Motion Capture,” Scholars’ Lab Blog
“A Riff on ‘The Dead,’” UCD Contemporary Irish Writing