Ally Benko head.jpeg

About Me

I'm an artist who is obsessed with things like female agency, heightened language, and the influence of the past on the present. I love interpretations of classics that reveal the unexpected about contemporary society, and I love contemporary plays that reveal the unexpected about our inherited past. Along with the historical, I'm drawn to plays that involve whimsy, the fantastical, or transcendence. I'm captivated

by hyperrealistic forms of expression like live music, narrative dance, and hand/shadow puppetry, and I regularly integrate these modes in my work. Ultimately, I do theatre because it allows me an outlet to express my curiosity about the world, and because its practice has made me a more engaged, community-oriented, and empathetic human. 

I primarily identify as a theatre director, but I am also a playwright and book writer. My current play Another Mikado celebrates the influence of a forgotten Japanese tea shop girl on the famed opera and explores entrenched imbalances of power in Western theatre. I am also collaborating with Grace Oberhofer on a children's musical about the Kindertransport. This project follows Ruth, a Jewish-German girl adapting to life in Britain during World War II, as she overcomes trauma through musical expression.

As a classroom teaching artist, I've worked with students of all grade levels in many  areas of theatre: playwriting in Vermont, dramatic interpretation in Shanghai, and one-on-one lessons in Elizabethan theatre history online. I have also coached auditions extensively in New York City, and regularly work with playwrights seeking feedback on their pieces. I am passionate about mentorship, and I'm always excited to meet with young directors. 

 

I graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University (go Jumbos). I live in Brooklyn, where I love reading on my fire escape, cultivating my ignorance about social media, and watching dogs play Frisbee in the park.