Alumna Sophia Skiles ‘01 Joins Brown University as Head of Acting

BY Audrey Deng, August 12, 2020

Alumna Sophia Skiles ’01 has been named the new Head of Acting in the Brown/Trinity Program at Brown University. Starting Fall 2021, the award-winning actor will lead the innovative three-year program into a new era.

The Brown/Trinity Program is a unique cross-disciplinary approach to acting; in addition to acting, physical theater and voice, students study playwriting, directing and dramaturgy.

In a manner reflecting the cross-disciplinary approach of the program, Skiles, in Brown University’s press release, poses a rhetorical question: “How can we liberate ourselves—our bodies and our imaginations in all our specificities—to co-create a community, a culture where we can all be fully human? [...] I hope to advance and lean into that community and commitment to collective learning in preparation not to succeed in the field as it nominally exists, but to transform it.”

Skiles adds that she has “a body of work where the question of the artist and the citizen is mirrored.”

Patricia Ybarra, Chair of the Department of Theatre Arts & Performance Studies, says that Skiles could not have joined Brown/Trinity at a better time. “Her dedication to activism and her aesthetic range as seen in her body of work, along with her commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion is critical in the current political and cultural climate."

Skiles is a NYC-based Asian-American actor and teacher. She has performed in work directed by Michael Kahn, May Adrales, Anne Bogart, Richard Foreman, Chay Yew, David Herskovits, and Mary Zimmerman with strong ties to Ma-Yi Theater and National Asian American Theater Company. She has over twenty years of experience teaching acting in a wide range of environments: with public school students throughout NYC, pre-college students at Northwestern University's National High School Institute, and high school seniors in Ulster County, NY. She has held teaching positions in undergraduate theater programs at Mount Holyoke College, SUNY Ulster and SUNY Purchase. Skiles is a dedicated community activist, having served on the Steering Committee of the OBIE-Award winning THAW (Theaters Against War) and currently is a Trustee of the New Paltz Central School District Board of Education. She is a member of the 2016 ArtEquity National Facilitator training cohort.