Melis Aker '18 and Kyoung Park '12 Named 2019-2020 Dramatists Guild Fellows

BY Zoe Contros Kearl, July 23, 2019

Playwriting alumni Melis Aker '18 and Kyoung Park '12 were recently named 2019-2020 DGF Fellows by the Dramatists Guild Foundation


The Fellows program is a selective, year-long intensive for playwrights, composers, lyricists, and writers. The program pairs talented writers with accomplished professional mentors, who help them hone their process, and find their unique voices. The DGF fellowship program increases the likelihood that Fellows will be able to turn their passion and talent into a successful career, impacting audiences around the globe. Currently headed by Michael Korie (Grey Gardens), Laurence O’Keefe (Legally Blonde), and Diana Son (Stop Kiss), the program is highly sought after. Fellows receive a stipend and the opportunity to partner with several arts organizations for Fellows-specific development opportunities.


Kyoung Park said, of the award, "I'm honored to join the Dramatist Guild Foundation's playwriting community to work on my next work-in-progress, Kyoung's Pacific Beat's NERO. Both my theater company and I are nomadic artists in New York City, so this fellowship is a precious opportunity to have a place we can call home." 


Headshot of Melis Aker

Melis Aker '18


Melis Aker is a writer, actor, and musician from Turkey. Her plays have been commissioned by and developed at Atlantic Theatre, NYTW (2050 fellow), Ars Nova (Play Group member), New Group, Dramatists Guild (DGF fellow), LaMaMa, the Lark, Noor Theatre, Golden Thread Productions, Corkscrew Theatre Festival and BRIC in the U.S., as well as the Finborough and Park theatres in London. Her plays include: Field, Awakening (2019 Kilroy’s List, Columbia@Roundabout finalist, Sundance final-round, Berkeley Rep Ground Floor final-round, Van Lier New Voices Fellowship final-round); Manar (Columbia@Roundabout finalist, Theatre503 Playwriting Award semifinalist); 330 Pegasus: A Love Letter(Jerome NY Fellowship final-round); Dragonflies (2019 Sundance final-round); When My Mama was a Hittite (Columbia@Roundabout finalist), Azul Otra Vez [Blue, Revisited] andGilded Isle. Melis’ screenplay “ARI” (“Bee”) was recently at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival as part of Maison des Scenaristes, and her pilot of "Manar" was accepted to Trans Atlantic Partners, Orchard Project’s Episodic Lab and IFP week. Selected acting credits include: "The Blacklist: Redemption" (NBC), “Seneca” (HBO’s NYLFF), Love in Afghanistan (Arena Stage & Roundabout), We Live in Cairo (NAMT, New World Stages), Proof (Edinburgh Fringe). Her song “The Unknowing” made it to the final reel of the 2017 NPR Tiny Desk contest. Melis has worked as Ayad Akhtar’s assistant, and given a StoryCorps and TEDx talk. Training: Columbia (MFA), Tufts (BA), RADA (Acting). Representation:


Headshot of Kyoung Park

Kyoung Park '12


Park was born in Santiago, Chile and is the first Korean playwright from Latin America to be produced and published in the United States. As Artistic Director of Kyoung’s Pacific Beat, he writes and directs devised theater by collaborating with artists, non-artists, and local communities to rigorously explore sources of violence, transforming personal and communal experiences of oppression into peace messages made public through performance. Kyoung is author of Disoriented, Tala, Pillowtalk, and many short plays including Mina, which is published in Seven Contemporary Plays from the Korean Diaspora in the Americas by Duke University Press.