Kathleen O’Kelly is known for her attention to detail, ability to create order out of chaos, and love for all forms of potatoes. She is currently pursuing her Master of Fine Arts in Production Management at California Institute of the Arts where she is strengthening her management techniques to further assist artists in finding their artistic vision and create thoughtful storytelling through cathartic driven art.
Kathleen spent her formative years in South Carolina growing up in a household of medical practitioners. Believing that was her career destiny, Kathleen attended Wofford College to pursue a career in medicine, which she quickly found out, that wasn’t for her. After a few years at Wofford, she found her niche in the theater department, but she was reminded that this was not a newfound love of the arts. Now, let’s rewind about 12 years. As a child, Kathleen would direct, design, and orchestrate shows in her family’s living room for her parents and their friends at their holiday parties. The planning would begin weeks in advance with many drafts of the scripts, rummaging through bins of old dance costumes, curating props and scenery out of things around the house, casting her sisters and friends into the show, and lastly, creating a program for the evening’s performance. While her management tactics have changed drastically from those days, she found that this is where her drive, love of creating, and attention to detail began.
After graduating from Wofford College, the first professional show Kathleen worked on was Pullman Porter Blues at Seattle Repertory Theater, which was a new play written by Cheryl L.West. Ms. West was in the rehearsals feverishly writing and re-writing new parts into the play as it was being blocked in rehearsals. As a 22-year old, Kathleen was astonished by the work being done in this little rectangular rehearsal space and she knew she’d forever be changed. She told herself that she wanted to be in rooms like that one for the rest of her career. The collaboration, drive to produce great art, and dedication to the storytelling was something that she’d never experienced before those moments in that rehearsal room and have driven her towards the work that she continues to gravitate towards today.
When Kathleen is not inside a dark theater, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, running around with her 2 year old pup, Fitz, and traveling as much as she can. And of course, eating potatoes.