Desi Shelton is a playwright, actress, director, and Founder and Artistic Director of Camden Rep in her hometown of Camden, NJ. Desi uses theater to preach, educate, and uplift, finding inspiration in normal day-to-day activities.

Shelton received her B.A. from Northeastern University and her M.F.A. in theater from Sarah Lawrence College. Upon returning to Camden, she heard her friends and neighbors complain that they were not welcome at local university venues, that they had no artistic outlet in Camden, and that their stories were being left untold — leading Desi to found Camden Rep, attracting first-time theatergoers in the community. In addition to producing plays, the company uses theater to improve life and literature skills of at-risk children through its P.A.C.E. (Preparing Artists for College Entrance) program, which helps students prepare for college auditions; assists with the application and financial aid process; offers supplementary education in written language, cultural, financial, emotional and social literacy; and creates jobs and apprentice training for returning college students.

Shelton has received the Valentine Foundation Award for female executives and is a Dodge Emerging Leader. She completed the Woman and Power Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and is a recipient of a Leeway Transformation Award for social change artists.


Camden Repertory Theater: Child Support
Dec 9—10, 2023
Camden Repertory Theater: Child Support
  • Artist Talk
  • Theatre
Tickets Camden Repertory Theater: Child Support