Arena Stage artistic director Molly Smith has announced that Ayad Akhtar will be the theater’s next resident playwright as part of the American Voices New Play Institute. Akhtar's Pulitzer-winning Disgraced, which is now in previews at Arena Stage, completes the theater's 2015-16 season. The production officially opens April 28 and will run through May 29.
Through the Arena Stage residency, effective July 2016 through June 2017, Akhtar will receive a salary; health benefits; a budget to be used at his discretion to cover collaborator fees, workshop costs, and research expenses to support his new play development process; and a commitment from Arena Stage to produce a new work in a future season and to continue cultivating an ongoing, long-term relationship.
Along with residency guidance from Arena Stage director of artistic programming Robert Barry Fleming, Akhtar will also receive support from Institute dramaturg Jocelyn Clarke, who is currently a theater adviser to the Arts Council of Ireland and an associate artist with the Civilians.
"Ayad is an inspiration. His work is immediate, muscular, bitingly funny, thought-provoking and vital to the American theater," said Artistic Director Molly Smith. "His masterful use of language creates complex characters wrestling with the major issues of our day — identity, family, love, religion, race and politics. I expect this residency will challenge us both and I embrace it!"
For tickets to Disgraced, click here.