Rattlestick Theater has selected playwright a.k. payne (YC, 2019) as one of its 2023-24 Van Lier New Voices Fellows. Funded by the New York Community Trust and the Jerome Foundation, the annual fellowship is designed to support to two playwrights of color under 30 and includes a $35,000 living stipend, a $5,000 artistic fund, mentorship with a chosen mentor playwright, workshops and readings of new work, as well as participation in Rattlestick’s larger artistic network.
a.k. payne is a playwright and theatremaker with roots in Pittsburgh. They hold a B.A. in English and African American Studies from Yale College and an MFA in Playwriting under Tarell Alvin McCraney from Yale School of Drama. Their work has been a finalist for the L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. They are a grandchild of the Great Migration, a queer and nonbinary abolitionist affected in community by the “New Jim Crow,” and of a great lineage of Black women storytellers and living-room archivists—all of which deeply informs, uplifts, and amplifies their work as a playwright, community organizer, and spacemaker.