Śaktibhadra is the author of the two plays Āścaryacūḍāmaṇi and Unmādavāsavadatta, the latter of which is lost. The Āścaryacūḍāmaṇi was known exclusively in Kerala, and states in the preface that the text was composed in South India (dakṣiṇāpathād āgatam), making it likely that Śaktibhadra himself was from Kerala.
No evidence is available as to his date. However, he is likely earlier than the playwright and king Kulaśekhara of Kerala (ca. tenth century). A verse from the Āścaryacūḍāmaṇi (6.21) is modelled on a verse from the Veṇīsaṃhāra (1.21), composed around the eighth century, so a ninth century date for Śaktibhadra is likely.
A tradition in Kerala maintains that Śaktibhadra was a student of Śaṅkarācārya. Śaṅkara heard the entire Āścaryacūḍāmaṇi being read aloud, and was able to recite it completely after the manuscript had been destroyed by fire (Reis Jones p. 4).