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About Sheila

Sheila Gaskins's picture
I am a stand-up comic, performer, writer, humanitarian, single-mother, director, playwright, mime, tax payer, visual artist, teaching-artist, ambassador of good vibrations, college graduate, great listener, arts advocate, poet, friend, daughter, neighbor, graphic designer, puppeteer, saleswoman, acting coach, peace keeper, optimist, Capricorn, home owner, jokester, poet, life skills instructor, baby sitter, cat lover and voted mostly likely to succeed. I grew up in Northwest Baltimore in a small... more

Last House Standing - A Play about the Highway to Nowhere

Last house Standing- A Play About the Highway to Nowhere takes place in 1968 in West Baltimore. The story features a 17 year old girl, EV, whose family is forced to leave the only thing they know: their home. The play is based on the true history of Baltimore where 19,000 families were displaced for a 2.5 stretch of highway right smack in the middle of thriving businesses, churches, a colored school for the blind and countless other staples of a solid community.
The play talks about root shock, displacement and how people don't know their neighbors anymore. Will EV and her family stay and fight or pack up and leave?

Last House Standing was performed most recently in November 2016 at Arena Players in Baltimore thanks in part to a grant from Alternative Roots/National Endowment for the Arts. A smaller portion of the play appeared as part of Imagining America's Conference in Baltimore in 2015.

Hired... Knot!

A piece performed at Tongue Tied, an immersive performance art show as part of the 11th Annual Transmodern Performance Festival. Female African American are feeling apprehensive about the interview process because they feel that their natural hair will prevent them from getting a job.

  • Hired... Knot!

    Performed at the 11th annual Transmodern Performance Festival.
  • Hired...Knot!

    Will this candidate be hired or will her natural hair prevent her from getting the job she so desperately needs.
  • Hired...Knot!

    A candidate took 2 buses and the light rail to come to a job interview in Timonium, Maryland. She is in need of a good paying job with benefits. She has 3 children and a cat. Yet, her natural hair style could be a barrier to meaningful employment.
  • Hired... Knot!

    African American women feel that their natural hairstyle will prevent them from gaining employment. Sheila, a candidate for employment in the health care field is patiently waiting for the interview.

'Surprise! Birthday Party for Trayvon Martin', an original performance art piece

'Surprise! Birthday Party for Trayvon Martin' is an original performance art piece I wrote and directed. 'Surprise!' includes balloons, gifts, food, pictures and birthday invitations. I play a mother waiting for her son to return home while his father was outside, grilling hot dogs and hamburgers for the guests. We served Skittles and Iced Tea to audience members. "I'm so glad you can make this surprise birthday party for my son, Trayvon. He went to the store. He will be right back." (Silence)

This piece generates conversations on senseless gun violence. It is also designed to restore humanity to men like Freddie Gray, Mike Brown, Eric Garner and countless others. We often forget that there is someone waiting at home for their loved ones to return. To be reduced to a thirty second blurb on the internet or a catch-phrase is not the entire story to anyone's life. 'Surprise!' is a gentle reminder of the other part of the story. Discussions on race and other topics follow each performance.

'Surprise!' made its debut as part of the Transmodern Arts Festival in Baltimore. It was also performed at Center Stage (for a Trayvon Martin Moment) as well as the Parks Heights Community Center for the one year anniversary of the shooting. The piece was also performed in December 2014 at the Freedom Songs Healing and Arts Session.

  • Rooms Fall Apart (a serious play) as shot and compiled by Guy Werner

    Many thanks to his efforts to capture this ever-changing experience!
  • glad you were able to make it.

    I am so glad you all were able to come- he is going to be so surprised!
  • Do you know my,son?

    You know my son, don't you. He will be right back just went to the store down at the corner.
  • Birthday Cake

    Trevon Moments, an original group of artist ,storytellers, dancers, poets and community organizations that performed in memory of Trevon. Trevon Moments was presented in the Park Heights Community Center on the birthday of Trevon Martin, one year after his murder.
  • The Surprise Party Room

    The birthday room is full of birthday presents for my son. Travon Martin, he will be right back, he went to the store down the street at the corner. Come on in, lets wait together for him...
  • Surprise! Travon!!

    "That was good but that was just a practice run. Now let's say it again cause I know he will be here soon"- mother still waiting for her son to return.
  • Do you know him, my son?

    Captured photo of the performance featured in the local online publication What Weekly.
  • Birthday presents and gifts.

    Surprise! was presented at a Community Center in Park Heights complete with balloons, pictures,gifts and a dune buggy helmet to keep my boy safe when he rides his 4 wheeler on the sand dunes.
  • Flyer Trevon Moments

    Complete details about the community performances of Trevon Moments. One year later after the tragic death of the slain teen.

My Mother the Clown

Written, directed and produced by by Nia Hampton
Starring Nekia Hampton and Sheila Gaskins

It's 'Bring Your Mother to School Day'. The dilemma is that Nekia's mom is a clown.

AVP, Baglady, stand-up comic,street performer and my other passions!

I luv Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Jackie "Moms" Mabley and all funny woman that paved the way for me to perform. I created the Bag lady, Anniemae in college when our school would visit the sick and shut in at hospitals and senior citizens homes. The bag lady would make them all smile and forget their own troubles. Effie from, the hunger games was a character for a fundraiser where the theme was the future. I do stand-up comedy in clubs, colleges and churches all over the country. I also volunteer in the women's prison, MCIW for well over 10 years. The program Alternative to Violence(AVP) uses games, role playing and exercises to give the inmates another way to communicate their feelings, other than violence. AVP is an International Organization created by the Friends Society and Prisoners from New York City. It has been around for well over 40 years. I enjoy going into the prisons to give light and education to others, it is very rewarding. I want to create AVP out in the communities of Baltimore City, it well be a great way to dismantle violence and bring the city together.
I also created two one woman shows- A whistling girl and crowing hen never comes to a very good end...Harriette Tubman 2020, the story of abolitionist Harriette Tubman coming back to free some people who think they are free but aint.

  • comic relief.

    I was a radio personality on the online radio show, What"s hot with your girl Cheryl. WPBR I of course, was the funny lady for the show.
  • HROC and AVP

    Alternative to Violence (AVP) volunteers engaged in a community workshop on healing our communities.
  • Remembering Ruby Glover

    I was performing that pivot night that iconic Singer Ruby Glover passed away. We shared the stage together. Lea Gilmore had a fundraiser for her organization to send kids to Scotland to perform. I was the mistress of ceremonies for that wonderful event. Joyce Scott, Margret Locklear, Lea Gilmore and me, Sheila Gaskins back stage.
  • flyer -stand-up comedy show

    This is a flyer advertising my birthday comedy show at Chappies. ( What difference does it make to know how old I am!) January 2014.
  • I see you...

    Effy seeing into the future at the fundraiser for Maryland Art Place.
  • Effy- my version

    This is my rendition of Effy from the blockbuster movie, The Hunger Games. We were invited as character performers to a fundraiser for Maryland Art Place.
  • baglady- Anniemae

    This bag lady does comedy for churches, senior citizens and who ever wants her around. This character was created 25 years ago in college to entertain the sick and shut in in hospitals.
  • Stand-up comedy performance

    I am performing stand-up comedy at my birthday party. (please don't ask me how old I am!) with my little brother in the background, Howard G.(kiss my bumper commercials) I taught him everything he knows about comedy.
  • Connecticut - Gospel comedy show

    The bag lady went to Connecticut to perform at a comedy show for a church. All the people are to my far, far right. Out of the line of sight from my camera.
  • AVP - AVP International

    Alternative to Violence Project (AVP) is an organization that gets volunteers to go into prisons, jails, etc. to interact with prisoners. AVP teaches everyone to use their higher power, listen and respect one another. This is the annual AVP meeting in Miami, Florida.

Theatre Action Group (TAG) to play is the thing...

My theatre company (TAG) Theatre Action Group uses games, art, puppets, props,
costumes, paint, music, dance and songs to interactive with audiences. Organizations, groups, colleges, schools and churches invite TAG to work with them to create an atmosphere where participants are able to conversate on different topics freely and creatively. The idea is to have a dialogue on complex topics such as race, racism, privilege, diversity and inclusion. The audience will create scenes that have a beg, middle and end. TAG is based on Theatre of the Oppressed by Augusto Boal and Pedagogy Paulo Freire, the spect-actor is able to create a scene that wasn't solved in real life. The participants are creating an ACTO - a 1-5 minute scene that utilizes musical instruments, large costumes, props and signs to tell a quick, simple and poignant story, based on Luis Valdez' Teatro Campesino.

A whole new world- finger puppets and puppetry.

I discovered finger puppetry as a drama teacher in an K-8th grade school. As a result the entire school became the land of the finger puppets. We covered all the walls with finger puppets. This instillation was included in my original National Geographic magazine. this project brought so much out of the students. It did not matter if the child had special needs or was gifted and talented each puppet mastered a sense of creativity and urgency for self expression. I want to take this project to any and everyone i.e. prisons, jails, senior citizen homes, schools, colleges, homeless shelters, hospitals, all of the above. Everybody needs to make finger puppets!

  • 2nd grade finger puppets

    The 2nd Graders were able to tell stories with their finger puppets. The more material I acquired the more sophisticated the art became. Great use of color,space and design.
  • Finger puppets- Level Next.

    The first graders wanted to use the entire white paper to tell stories or create elaborate signs or back drops. Each picture is making a statement.
  • Finger puppet right wing

    Each class had their own unique style of finger puppets. Kindergarteners started to use the paper plates as canvas.
  • up. up up and away

    Finger puppets invade entire Baltimore city school.
  • Skate boarding.

    This 1st grade student made his finger puppet skate in mid-air.
  • Sheriff in town.

    The kids where able to take the finger puppet theme and go crazy with imagination. This is a Sheriff about to arrest the bad guys.
  • My finger puppet is protesting.

    A first grade student made her finger puppet protest - The Mass Transit Administration.)(MTA) "My finger puppet is protesting!"
  • The land of finger puppets.

    I recreated a National Geographic Magazine and placed my finger puppets in the pages with other new species. Then the students K- 2nd understood that their finger puppets were part of a new species.
  • No two are alike.

    Not matter who made the puppetry the results where the same. Special need or gifted and talented the students were able to create.
  • Brown Paper Bag Puppet Invasion

    Under the stairway where you would least expect to see puppets. Grades 3rd-5th puppets. mixed media. I asked a student that was giving me trouble in the past, why was he so focused and behaving better now. He said, "I never thought I would be making anything like this in my life!"-His puppet was a Raven's Football player.

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