American Theatre is proud to be the venue for Theatrical Mustang, an independently produced podcast from actor-writer-activist Woodzick. Each month they’ll bring listeners interviews with unbridled talent and cultural trailblazers from across the country.
This month, they speak with a.k. payne (she/they), a playwright, artist-theorist, and theatremaker with roots in Pittsburgh, whose world premiere of Amani is currently being produced Off-Broadway by the National Black Theatre and Rattlestick Theatre, where the show runs through March 5.
a.k.’s plays love on and engage Black lives and languages beyond the confines of linear time to find/remember stories that might create conditions for our collective liberation(s). They hold a B.A. in English and African American Studies from Yale College and will graduate in May 2023 with an MFA in playwriting under Tarell Alvin McCraney from the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale.
Their work has been finalist for the L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, winner of the David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award, and three-time semifinalist for the O’Neill National Playwriting Conference. She is a current recipient of the Kemp Powers Commission Fund for Black Playwrights and Atlantic Theater Company’s Judith Champion Launch Commission. Their work has been developed with the New Harmony Project, Great Plains Theater Conference, and Manhattan Theater Club’s Groundworks Lab.
They are a graduate of Pittsburgh Public Schools; grandchild of the Great Migration; descendant of a music teacher and a carpenter, who both march every year with their unions in Pittsburgh’s Labor Day parade; a queer and non-binary abolitionist affected in community by the “New Jim Crow”; and part of a great lineage of Black women storytellers and living-room archivists—all of which deeply informs, uplifts, and amplifies their work as a playwright, community organizer, and spacemaker.
You can also listen to the episode here.
The Theatrical Mustang podcast is edited by CJ Higgins (they/them). Music by The Morgens using Citizen DJ Project, Library of Congress, National Jukebox.
This podcast is dedicated to the memory of Barton Cole, who coined the phrase “Theatrical Mustang.”
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