Donal O'Kelly is well-known both as a playwright and as an actor. He has performed his own solo plays throughout the English-speaking world and beyond. O'Kelly's play, Catalpa, won a Scotsman Fringe First Award at the 1996 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Critics' Prize at the Melbourne International Festival in 1997. He has twice been awarded an Irish Arts Council literature bursary, and in 1999 was awarded the Irish American Cultural Institute Butler Literary Award. He is a founder member and former director of Calypso Productions and is co-director of Benbo Productions (formerly Donal O'Kelly Productions), which he set up in 2000. He is a member of Aosdána.