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a.k. payne...


is a playwright, artist-theorist, and theatermaker with roots in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her plays love on and engage Black lives and languages beyond the confines of linear time to find/remember stories that might create conditions for our collective liberation(s). They hold a B.A. in English and African-American Studies from Yale College and will graduate in May 2023 with an MFA in Playwriting under Tarell Alvin McCraney from fka Yale School of Drama. Their work has been finalist for the L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, winner of the David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award, and 3x semi-finalist for the O'Neill National Playwriting Conference. She is a current recipient of the Kemp Powers Commission Fund for Black Playwrights and Atlantic Theater Company's Judith Champion Launch Commission. Her work has been developed with the New Harmony Project, Great Plains Theater Conference, and Manhattan Theater Club's "Groundworks Lab." They are a graduate of Pittsburgh Public Schools; grandchild of the Great Migration; descendant of a music teacher and a carpenter, who both march every year with their unions in Pittsburgh’s Labor Day parade; a queer & non-binary 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. 


Left Photo by Julia Char Gilbert , Top Right by Peter Bellamy, Bottom Right by Nomé SiDone.

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