“forceful and always daring” The New Yorker
“the downtown powerhouse” The New York Times
“jaw-dropping premieres” Time Out New York
Soho Rep. is a leading hub for innovative contemporary theater in New York City. We are dedicated to artistic excellence by supporting distinctive, diverse, and pioneering theater. We empower artists to make their boldest work and invite audiences to share in that intimate and transformative live experience. Soho Rep. creates a dynamic context for both artists and audiences that promotes and sustains conversation in the field and the cultural fabric of the city.
Soho Rep. is a very big, small theater. We have four full-time staff members, and our annual budget is $1.6M. At the same time, our outstanding reputation and recent accomplishments far exceed the size of our company.
Soho Rep. was honored with a 2014 Drama Desk Award for Sustained Achievement citing “nearly four decades of artistic distinction, innovative production, and provocative play selection,” and we were named The Village Voice’s 2015 Best Off Broadway Theater. Our productions have been recognized with 21 OBIE Awards; the 2016 Lucile Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical for César Alvarez and The Lisps’ FUTURITY; nine Drama Desk nominations; two Kesselring Awards; and The New York Times Outstanding Playwriting Award for Dan LeFranc’s Sixty Miles to Silverlake. In 2016, Artistic Director Sarah Benson was also named one of three recipients of the prestigious Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Theatre.
Many of our most acclaimed productions have been Soho Rep. commissions, were generated in the Writer/ Director Lab, and/ or developed in weeklong Studio workshops. They include: Annie Baker’s Uncle Vanya, David Adjmi’s Marie Antoinette, Anne Washburn’s 10 out of 12, and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ An Octoroon, which transferred to Theatre for A New Audience’s 299-seat space in 2015.
Founded in 1975, and in our theater on Walker Street since 1991, Soho Rep. has built an outstanding reputation for being at the forefront of new and innovative theater, serving as a vital center for contemporary theater artists. We also successfully attract one of the youngest adult theater-going audiences in New York City with over half under the age of 40.
Actors Kathleen Turner, Ed O’Neill, Allison Janney, John C. Reilly and Kevin Spacey made their professional debuts at Soho Rep., and the long list of illustrious Soho Rep. acting alumni includes Steve Buscemi, Jonathan Frakes, Steve Mellor, Will Patton, Bill Sadler, John Seitz, Tim Blake Nelson, Margaret Whitton and Frank Wood. Many of our Mainstage productions have emerged from our new play development and commissioning programs, often resulting in artistically lauded productions.
Jerry Engelbach and Marlene Swartz founded Soho Rep. in July 1975. As co-artistic directors they produced over a hundred plays. After Engelbach left to pursue other projects, Swartz ran the theater solo before handing the reins to English director Julian Webber.
Soho Rep.’s founding mission was to present relatively rare classical plays. After several years producing works from Shakespeare to Shaw, the theater – under Webber – evolved its mission to include rarely seen modern plays and completely new works, the latter of which still holds as the theater’s singular mission.
In 1998 Daniel Aukin became Artistic Director alongside Executive Director Alexandra Conley. The two produced new work by artists including Adam Bock, Young Jean Lee, Richard Maxwell, Melissa James Gibson, Quincy Long, The Flying Machine and Maria Irene Fornes.
In 2006, Sarah Benson became the fourth Artistic Director of the company. She directed the New York premiere of Sarah Kane’s BLASTED to critical acclaim in fall 2008, and has produced work by other writers and groups including Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Lucas Hnath, David Adjmi, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Annie Baker, Nature Theatre of Oklahoma, Dan LeFranc, Thomas Bradshaw, debbie tucker green, Cynthia Hopkins, Jomama Jones, Young Jean Lee, John Jesurun, and Anne Washburn.