Soho Rep. adds Five New Members to its Board of Directors

Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, a new board member of Soho Rep.
Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, a new board member of Soho Rep.

We’re pleased to announce five newly appointed members to our Board of Directors. The new board members are Kashif Akhter, Senior Global Manager at Skadden Arps; Obie Award winning playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins; philanthropist Janice Lee; set designer and 2015 MacArthur fellow Mimi Lien; and Zach Miller, Oscar nominated producer and Vice President of Commerce Partnerships at e-commerce company Spring.

“Soho Rep. was one of the very first theaters to open its arms to me,” says playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. “This was in 2008, when I took part in that season’s Writer Director Lab. Since then, I’ve experienced every artistic platform Soho Rep. has to offer a young artist – the Strelsin residency, the Soho Rep studio, the mainstage – and I couldn’t be more honored to bring this perspective to the board.”

Set designer Mimi Lien, a new recruit to the Soho Rep. board
Set designer Mimi Lien, a new recruit to the Soho Rep. board

Set designer and artist Mimi Lien is a frequent collaborator with Soho Rep. and has worked on several productions with the company, including Branden Jacob-Jenkins’s An Octoroon, debbie tucker green’s born bad, Jackie Sibblies Drury’s We Are Proud to Present… and Lucas Hnath’s A Public Reading of an Unfinished Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney. “Soho Rep. consistently produces work that challenges the theatrical form, and that’s the kind of work that really excites me, both as an audience member and as an artist,” explains Lien. About serving on the Board she adds, “I have felt Soho Rep. become an artistic home for me and I want to help make my home as good as it can be.”

Speaking about Soho Rep.’s productions, Zach Miller explains, “Each show takes on rich themes with complex storytelling, but the theater is intimate and committed to exposing the work to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. It’s really a special place and I’m grateful to be a part of it.”

About her gratitude for serving on the Board Janice Lee adds, “As I have gained an appreciation for Soho Rep.’s work, I also have gained an appreciation for Soho Rep.’s Board as individuals of exceptional engagement and connection to the work of the theater.”

“I feel very privileged to be involved with such a talented team,” says Kashif Akhter. “I look forward to ensuring Soho Rep’s unique profile as the top destination for experiencing smart, illuminating and creative work for many seasons.”

Over the next two years, we are looking to add 3-5 additional members to our Board. To learn more about Board membership at Soho Rep. please contact Executive Director Cynthia Flowers at cflowers@sohorep.org.

Kashif Akhter is the Senior Global Manager in the Business Development group at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates, an international law firm. He works with firm partners on analyzing competitive landscapes, assessing market developments across sectors and regions, and facilitating progress of key strategic initiatives within the firm. Prior to joining Skadden Arps, he has held business and corporate development positions at leading companies in a variety of industries.

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins playwright credits include Gloria (Vineyard Theatre), Appropriate (Obie Award; Outer Critics Circle Nomination; Signature Theatre), Neighbors (The Public Theater), An Octoroon (Obie Award; Soho Rep, Theatre for a New Audience) and War (Yale Rep). Branden is currently a Residency Five playwright at the Signature Theater. His work has been seen at Actor’s Theater of Louisville, Victory Gardens Theater, Woolly Mammoth Theater, The Matrix Theater in LA, Mixed Blood Theater in Minneapolis, CompanyOne in Boston, and the HighTide Festival in the UK. He is under commissions from Lincoln Center/LCT3, MTC, Center Theater Group and Steppenwolf. Honors include a Paula Vogel Award, a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the inaugural Tennessee Williams award. He has taught at NYU and Queens University of Charlotte and holds an M.A. in Performance Studies from NYU and a BA from Princeton University. Graduate of the Lila Acheson Wallace Playwrights Program at The Juilliard School.

Janice Lee is a retired lawyer and active philanthropist in support of education, social welfare, justice and the arts. She has served on the boards of The University Settlement Society of New York and Shen Wei Dance Arts. As an avid theatergoer she became drawn to Soho Rep. after seeing Blasted in 2008.

Mimi Lien is a designer of sets/environments for theater, dance, and opera. Arriving at set design from a background in architecture, her work often focuses on the interaction between audience/environment and object/performer. She is an artistic associate with Pig Iron Theatre Company and the Civilians, resident designer at BalletTech, and co-founder of JACK, a new performance/art space in Brooklyn. Recent work includes Appropriate (Mark Taper Forum), John (Signature Theatre), Preludes, The Oldest Boy (Lincoln Center), An Octoroon (Drama Desk and Lortel nominations,Soho Rep/TFANA), Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812 (Lortel Award, Hewes Design Award). Mimi’s designs for dance have been presented in the Netherlands, Russia, and Taiwan. Her stage designs have been exhibited in the Prague Quadrennial, and her sculptures were featured in the exhibition, LANDSCAPES OF QUARANTINE, at the Storefront for Art and Architecture. Lien is a recipient of the Joan and Joseph F. Cullman Award for Extraordinary Creativity at Lincon Center Theater, Lucille Lortel Award and American Theatre Wing Hewes Design Award, Barrymore Award, four Barrymore nominations, two Drama Desk nominations, and Audelco Award nomination. In 2012, she received an OBIE Award for sustained excellence, and she is a 2015 recipient of a MacArthur fellowship.

Zach Miller is VP of Commerce Partnerships at the mobile e-commerce company Spring. Before joining Spring, Zach was an Engagement Manager in McKinsey & Company’s Media and Technology Practice. Prior to joining McKinsey, Zach received an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurial Management from the Wharton School of Business. In 2004 he co-founded and served as head of feature films at the multimedia content company GOOD Inc. in Los Angeles. During that time Zach developed and produced the film THE MESSENGER, which received Oscar nominations for Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor at the 2010 Academy Awards. Zach also holds an MFA in Film Production from the University of Southern California and a BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania.

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