Sophiyaa is drawn to work that grapples with experiences of (im)migrants, people of color, and transnational identities— exploring how displacement affects the human condition. Having lived in New Delhi, India until she was 13 and then travelling through various communities and exploring multiple theatre practices from all over the world for the rest of her upbringing, she understands theatre as a hybrid. Having experimented with art forms ranging from Indian street theatre to the Lecoq technique, she has found empowerment through collaboration— not only of people but of mediums. Sophiyaa works to dismantle the pyramid power structure upon which traditional western theatre is built (with the playwright and director at the top) in pursuit of a bolder, and more inclusive practice and performance style. A style that lends itself to stories of displacement and code-switching without forcing these narratives to fit into a mold originally built to exclude them.
She has assisted directors at Steppenwolf, American Players Theatre, Writers Theatre and Milwaukee Rep among others. She was most recently awarded the SDCF Observership with Soft Power by David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori, directed by Leigh Silverman at The Public (Off Broadway). EthiopianAmerica won Black Theatre Alliance Awards for Best Play, Featured Actor & Actress and was nominated for nine awards (in addition to the above, best writing, directing, set, lights, sound and best young performer). Sophiyaa was a member of Chicago Director's Lab 2017 and a finalist for the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship.
She sacrifices a watermelon on her birthday every year and can do an impromptu one-woman-ten-minute rendition of The Phantom of The Opera if so inspired.