Dennis Kelly (born 1970) is a British writer for film, television and theatre. He is perhaps best known for co-writing BBC Three's sitcom Pulling with actress Sharon Horgan, for co-writing Matilda the Musical with comedian Tim Minchin, and for the controversial Channel 4 conspiracy thriller Utopia.
Kelly grew up in Barnet, North London, in an Irish family and was brought up a Catholic. Kelly, one of five children, left school at 16 to work in Sainsbury's.
While working in supermarkets, he discovered theatre when he joined a local youth group, the Barnet Drama Centre. He took a degree in Drama and Theatre Arts when he was 30 and received a first from Goldsmiths College, London.
Kelly wrote his first play Debris when he was 30; he says he wrote it imagining he'd give himself a part. Staged at Theatre 503 in 2003, it transferred the next year to Battersea Arts Centre. It was well received and he went on to write the controversially titled Osama the Hero which was produced by Hampstead Theatre, beginning a long-running relationship with the theatre that he would return to often.
After the End he wrote in 2005 and produced by Paines Plough in his first out of London production at Traverse though it later came to the Bush Theatre before going on a tour of the UK and internationally in 2006.
Love and Money, arguably one of his most famous plays, was staged at the Royal Exchange, Manchester and then at the Young Vic in 2006. That same year his sitcom Pulling, co-written and starring Sharon Horgan, aired on BBC Three. It received good ratings for the channel and was well reviewed, being nominated for a BAFTA TV Award for Best Situation Comedy in 2007.
Returning to theatre and the Hampstead Theatre in 2007, his fake verbatim play Taking Care of Baby was another success for both writer and theatre.
For the 2007 National Theatre Connections Festival, he wrote DeoxyriboNucleic Acid (better known by the title DNA) which after the connections received a professional production alongside The Miracle by Lin Coghlan and Baby Girl by Roy Williams at the National Theatre in the Cottesloe. The play is now used widely in schools and is on several curriculums for GCSE drama.