Ars Nova Announces Melis Aker '18 as a 2019 Play Group Resident

February 8, 2019

Headshot of Melis AkerAlumna Melis Aker ’18 joins alumna Julia May Jonas '12 as a new member of the Ars Nova Plays Group 2019. Play Group is a two year residency in which members become a part of the Ars Nova Resident Artist community. In addition to biweekly meetings where members share new work and receive feedback from their Play Group peers, members will also receive dramaturgical support and artistic match-making advice from the Ars Nova staff, invitations to Ars Nova shows, Resident Artists mixers, and to see the work of Play Group alums around the city, two Play Group writing retreats, and the opportunity to further develop and showcase one of their plays in a weeklong workshop that can culminate in a public reading. Jonas was awarded this two-year residency last year and is now in her second year.


Melis Aker is a writer, actor and musician from Turkey. She is currently a 2050 Playwriting fellow at NYTW and a 2019-2021 member of Ars Nova’s Play Group. She was recently commissioned by Atlantic Theater Company for their Middle Eastern Mixfest to develop her one-act Scraps and Things, and she is part of the Middle East America writers room at the Lark Play Development Center. Melis’ plays include: Field, Awakening (2018 Sundance Theatre Lab semifinalist, 2018 Berkeley Rep Ground Floor finalist, Lark’s 2018 Van Lier New Voices Fellowship finalist), which was performed at Signature Theatre’s New Plays Fest, Golden Thread’s New Threads reading series, and Corkscrew Festival at Paradise Factory; Manar (2017 Columbia@Roundabout finalist, 2016 Theatre503 Playwriting Award semi-finalist) which was at The New Group’s New Works series, LaMaMa, Golden Thread’s 2017 ReOrient Festival, LPAC’s 2017 Rough Draft Festival and was featured by Silk Road Rising on NPX; 330 Pegasus: A Love Letter [Part I] (Lark’s 2018 Jerome New York Fellowship finalist) received a Noor Highlight series reading at NYTW; Azul, Otra Vez [Blue, Revisited] was workshopped at NYTW and the BRICLab Residency; When My Mama was a Hittite (2018 Columbia@Roundabout finalist) is currently in development at NYTW. Her acting credits include: The Blacklist: Redemption (NBC), Love in Afghanistan (Arena Stage / Roundabout), Daybreak (Pan Asian Rep), Opium (New Dramatists), Tear a Root from the Earth (Kennedy Center / New Ohio), We Live in Cairo (New World Stages). Melis recently gave a TEDx Talk in Ankara, and works as Ayad Akhtar’s assistant. MFA Playwriting (Columbia), Acting (RADA), BA Drama and Philosophy (Tufts).