Melis Aker

About The Playwright

Melis Aker is the first Signature LaunchPad resident playwright. She is a writer, actor and musician from Turkey. Melis’ plays have been commissioned by and developed at Atlantic Theatre, Ars Nova, NYTW (2050 Fellow), The O’Neill, New Group, Dramatists Guild (DGF fellow), La Mama, The Lark, in the U.S., as well as the Finborough and Park theaters in London. She is a proud member of The Lark’s Middle East America writers’ room, and a Young Society Leader through the American Turkish Society. Additionally, Melis is a recipient of the Sundance Interdisciplinary Program grant. Melis’ song The Unknowing was in the final reel of the 2017 NPR Tiny Desk contest. On the side, she subs Sarah Gancher’s playwriting class at NYU, teaches playwriting grad students at The New School, and is working on a novel to be published through her PhD at King’s College London. Previous training: Columbia (MFA), Tufts (BA), RADA (Acting). Representation: CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. Photo by Lia Chang.

Melis Aker and Iyvon E.

“There are two resources in particular that I believe young writers like myself yearn for: time to create work tethered to an informed process, and financial compensation for that time spent figuring out what your process even is, so that you can have a tangible outcome, and intentional impact. I am deeply grateful to Signature Theatre for providing me with both, and for their robust, longstanding investment in my career as a writer. I have long been an admirer of the advocacy Signature provides for playwrights, especially in their commitment to developing and producing a body of work by a given writer. It is rare to experience an oeuvre in an economy and industry that promotes speed and brevity, so it is a proper gift to be supported by an artistic team who champions patience, and provides both a microscopic and bird’s eye view into the journey of a creator. I am honored and humbled to be in conversation with Signature, and with the legacy of virtuosic theatre-makers they have held up along the way.” Pictured: Melis Aker and Iyvon E. | Photo by Jonathan George

Young Society Leader

American Turkish Society

Interdisciplinary Grantee (IDP)

Sundance Institute


Page73 Playwriting Fellowship