Alexis “a.k.” Payne of Berkeley College is an accomplished dramatist with astonishing promise. A double major in African-American Studies and English, she graduates with distinction in both, and with a Concentration in Playwriting. In works produced at the Yale Dramat and the Yale Playwrights Festival, a.k. has trained her fierce moral vision and finely tuned ear on the fraught and authentic lives of people in real places and in real situations, laying bare the urgent poetry of voices that, as she movingly insists, need to be heard. Her plays animate the experiences and aspirations of people of color in American history, and her mentors and professors note her work’s deep compassion, historical research, and political urgency. In the fall, a.k. begins the MFA program in playwriting at the Yale School of Drama.
For her exceptional accomplishments on the page and stage, and for her bright future ahead, Yale College is honored to award the Louis Sudler Prize for Excellence in the Performing and Creative Arts to a.k. Payne.