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"A nationally rising director" 

Windy City Times

"Superbly directed...I was knocked out, frankly"

Chicago Tribune

"A dynamic display of artistic excellence"



Sophiyaa Nayar is a South Asian filmmaker who is joining NYU Tisch's Grad Film Program as a TSOA Scholar this fall. She creates interdisciplinary and genre-bending work that challenges existing narratives surrounding (im)migration.


She lived in New Delhi, India until she was 12 and then traveled through various communities and explored performance practices from all over the world for the rest of her upbringing. 


She is a member of the WP Lab 2020-22, 3Arts Make a Wave Grantee, a Definition Theatre ensemble member, member of Director's Lab Chicago 2017 and a resident in Milwaukee Rep’s 2017/18 season. Her script, "Chhaya" made it into the second round of Sundance's Feature Development Track and was a Semi-Finalist for the 1497 Lab. It was also selected to be workshopped under Jessica Sharzer ("Dirty Dancing") through Sundance Collab. 


AD credits include Search for Signs... with Cecily Strong (Leigh Silverman) and Nollywood Dreams by Jocelyn Bioh (Saheem Ali) with Nana Mensah . She was part of the SDC Foundation’s Observership Class, through which she worked on Soft Power by Jeanine Tesori and David Henry Hwang at The Public. And King James by Rajiv Joseph (Kenny Leon) with Chris Parfetti (from "Abbot Elementary") and Glenn Davis. 


She has developed work with The Smithsonian, Lincoln Center, The Public, WP Theatre, The Goodman, Steppenwolf, Center Theatre Group, The Shed, American Players Theatre, Writers Theatre, and Manhattan Theatre Club among others.  

I was knocked out, frankly, by how well Nayar caught how teenage boys do and do not show affection. Everything about this show feels lived.
- Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

Recent film - Chhaya

Trailer for Sophiyaa's most recent film. Learn more about it at

Directing Reel

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