AUSTIN: The University of Texas at Austin has announced Annie Baker and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins as incoming faculty of their College of Fine Arts. The two will join UT’s MFA playwriting program, which aims to teach craft and skill with a focus on experimentation.
“Annie and Branden are reinventing what theatre can be and say,” KJ Sanchez, head of the school’s playwriting and directing program, said in a statement. “Their work brings a younger audience to the theatre, and they’re exactly the right artists for talking about our current culture, race relations, generational questions, and what it means to be human today.”
Baker, named a 2017 MacArthur fellow, strives to explore the complexities of human behavior and relationships through her work. Her plays include The Antipodes, John, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Flick.
Jacobs-Jenkins is a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in drama and a 2016 MacArthur fellow. His work draws inspiration from a variety of genres to examine divisive issues surrounding identity, race, class, and family. His plays include Everybody, An Octoroon, and Appropriate.
This will not be the first time Baker and Jacobs-Jenkins have worked together: Previously, the two served as co-artistic directors for the Goldberg MFA playwriting program at Hunter College of the City University of New York.
Among UT’s current playwriting faculty are Sanchez, Steven Dietz, Kirk Lynn, Liz Engelman, Patrick Shaw, and Alexandra Bassiakou Shaw.