Charles O’Grady is a 23 year old Sydney-based playwright, director, poet, and journalist, and a passionate queer and transgender activist. Charles’ focus is on representation of trans and gender-non-conforming identities in stage and screen, and engaging in work that challenges conventional representation of queerness and normalises intersectional queer experiences.
Charles’ works as a playwright include Kaleidoscope and Telescope, both produced by independent company Montague Basement, and Before the Water Gets Cold (Smoking Gum Theatre). In late 2016 Charles took part in ATYP’s National Studio for emerging writers at Bundanon Trust, and his writing was included in the 2017 production of Intersection at ATYP. His play Are We Awake?, about the relationship between queerness and disability, was staged by Red Line Productions as part of the 2017 New Fitz Program and again at Kings Cross Theatre for Mardi Gras 2018. Charles is a member of the Belvoir Writers Group, and in 2017 completed a residency at Shopfront Arts in Carlton on a reworking of his play Kaleidoscope.
In 2017 Charles co-devised Fragility: The Final Refuge with Sean Maroney, which played at the Giant Dwarf for Sydney Fringe. Charles was assistant director for The Homosexuals, or ‘Faggots’ with Griffin and Malthouse Theatre and in 2018 assisted Priscilla Jackman on Sydney Theatre Company’s world premiere of Still Point Turning: the Catherine McGregor Story. He also observed on Belvoir Street Theatre’s production of Hir by Taylor Mac, directed by Anthea Williams.
He has written or devised several theatrical works, including Dinner and a Show (SUDS 2014, with Nicola Cayless), and House Party (SUDS 2015, Festival of Australian Student Theatre 2015, with Nicola Cayless). He has co-devised or written for works including Little Eggs (Little Eggs Collective 2015), Rosie, Ruth, & Susan (Smoking Gum 2015), and How.Dare. (Jetpack Theatre Collective 2016). Charles has also provided dramaturgical support on numerous shows, including Clare Hennessey’s Transience (2016), Montague Basement’s The Big Bruise (2016), and The Homosexuals, or ‘Faggots’ (2017).
Charles is a strong advocate for trans representation in the theatre industry and autonomous casting for trans roles. In late 2016 he formed a Facebook group for trans and gender non-conforming performance-based artists, in order to develop a community of emerging queer artists who can support and collaborate with each other. He is also an advocate for accessibility in theatre and making theatre spaces more than just wheelchair accessible, and a strong proponent for autonomous casting in disabled roles.
As a poet, Charles has performed in multiple places including Sydney’s Caravan Slam, the Sydney University Dramatic Society, and Rose Bay Secondary College as part of educational seminars on performance poetry he ran. In 2018 he performed in Mama Alto’s inaugural Club Mama variety night at Griffin Theatre’s Batch Festival. He has been published in ARNA, Honi Soit, Audrey Journal, and Archer Magazine, among others, and has edited for the literary journals ARNA and Carillon.
In his spare time Charles watches horror films, collects neckwear, and acts as a father figure to almost everyone he meets. He is available for dates always.