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. Our physical space is extremely intimate—accommodating just 73 theatergoers each night. At the same time, we like to think we punch above our weight when it comes to our reputation and the significant contributions we’ve made to the field. In 2014, Soho Rep. was honored with a Drama Desk Award for Sustained Achievement. Over the last decade, Soho Rep. productions have garnered 18 OBIE Awards; nine Drama Desk nominations, two Kesselring Awards, and The New York Times Outstanding Playwriting Award for Dan LeFranc’s Sixty Miles To Silverlake. We were also honored with a special 2014 Drama Desk Award citing “nearly four decades of artistic distinction, innovative production and provocative play selection.”
Every year, we produce new plays that are much more ambitious in scope than one would normally expect from a theater our size. In the Writer/ Director Lab we pair four writers and four directors together to create a new play from scratch under the guidance of Lab co-chairs Jenny Schwartz and Ken Rus Schmoll. Through the Soho Rep Studio we commission new plays and provide artists with workshops designed to bring a particular piece we intend to produce palpably closer to production readiness.
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 theatre, serving as a vital center for contemporary theatre 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.