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Having lived in New Delhi, India until she was 12 and then traveling through various communities and exploring performance practices from all over the world for the rest of her upbringing, Sophiyaa understands theatre and film as hybrids. She is interested in creating interdisciplinary and genre-bending work that challenges existing narratives surrounding (im)migration.


Sophiyaa is a 3Arts Make a Wave Grantee, 1497 Screenwriters Lab semifinalist, member of the Women's Project 2020-22 Lab, an ensemble member with Definition Theatre, a member of Chicago Director's Lab 2017, and a finalist for the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. Her production of EthiopianAmerica won a Jeff for Best Fight Choreography and Black Theatre Alliance awards for Best Play, Featured Actor and Actress. She was awarded the SDCF Observership with Soft Power by David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori, directed by Leigh Silverman at The Public (Off Broadway). Theatre companies she has worked with include The Goodman, The Shed, Steppenwolf, Steep Theatre, American Players Theatre, Writers Theatre, Jackalope, Milwaukee Rep and MCC theatre. 

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

News and Interviews

Coming Up

Director, Movement Live

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts 
UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance 
The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi
Cultural Arts Center at Montgomery College (Takoma Park/Silver Spring, MD)

Director, Plural (Love)

By Haruna Lee and Jen Goma
Short film
Pipeline Festival, WP Theatre

Director, Modern Women

By Omer Abbas Salem

Goodman Theatre, Playwrights Unit Reading

Director, Good Years 

By Ada Alozie
Short film
Definition Theatre

Director, [To Be Announced]
Steep Theatre

Director, Radial Gradient

By Jasmine Sharma

World Premiere 
Shattered Globe Theatre