a b o u t
Melis Aker is a U.S. born Turkish actor, musician and writer. As a native, she was raised and, for the most part educated in Ankara, Turkey. While still in her hometown, she spent a good number of years working with various non-profit organizations, Ekip Film Istanbul, and towards receiving her I.B. Diploma. When she found out rather mysteriously that her great grandfather was a shadow puppeteer, she thought she'd give live performance a try herself.
As an actress, Melis is best known for originating the role of "Roya" in Charles Randolph-Wright's world premiere play Love in Afghanistan at the Arena Stage. After receiving a certificate from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and moving to the States for her undergraduate education at Tufts University (B.A. in Drama / Philosophy minor), she performed on various stages in Boston. Since closing Love in Afghanistan, and doing a reading of the play for the Roundabout Theatre and the Black Theatre Network in N.Y., she has had the pleasure of working with and at a selection of theaters, including the Signature Theatre, New Dramatists, Kennedy Center, Columbia Stages, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, PEN World Voices Festival, and ArtsEmerson. Melis also attended the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival with Proof, appears in Season 3 of the web-series My Gay Roommate, and on NBC's Blacklist: Redemption.
As a musician, her debut EP, Dirt, produced by Ayhan Sahin from Young Pals Music N.Y. was released in the spring of 2015. In the winter of 2015, she formed A K E R, a Brooklyn-based musical collective comprised of herself as lead singer-songwriter/composer (main vocals, guitar/keys), and producer Alessio Romano (percussion), including collaborations with various guest artists. Their debut single, The Little Prince was released on October 4th, 2015, featuring Juana Aquerreta (harp/background vocals), Eleni Arapoglou (background vocals), Giacomo Lamparelli (keys), and Scott Kapelman (bass). A K E R was also a finalist with the song The Unknowing, for the 2017 NPR Tiny Desk Contest, and made it to the final cut of their highlights reel. Melis and Alessio are currently cooking up their full album at Studio 42 BK.
As a writer, Melis' play Manar was selected as a finalist for the Roundabout Theatre's 2017 Columbia@Roundabout reading series, a semi-finalist for the 2016 Theatre503 Playwriting Award in London, and was accepted to be part of LPAC's 2017 Rough Draft Festival, as well as Golden Thread Productions' 2017 ReOrient Festival in San Francisco. She has had the pleasure of working with Mona Mansour, as part of the Lark Play Development center's ME Writers Room, and at the Dorset Theatre Festival artist residency.
Melis is currently based in New York, and will be receiving her MFA in Playwriting from Columbia University.