Aukin plans to pursue a free-lance directing career. In recent seasons, he has directed at Second Stage, the La Jolla Playhouse and the Guthrie Theatre. A committee has been formed to find Aukin's successor.
Aukin said in a prepared statement, "It has been an amazing eight-season roller-coaster for me with the kind of artistic freedom that's only really possible with a small theatre. Soho Rep plays a vital part in the ecology of American theatre and with the energy of a new artistic leader I'm sure that role will only deepen. This is the perfect time for someone to take over and extend the company's trajectory."
Though a Soho Rep season under Aukin's watch typically consisted of only two shows, the company's percentage of critical hits was high. Since Aukin took office in 1999, the company produced such praised premeires as The Year of the Baby by Quincy Long, Everything Will Be Different by Mark Shultz and Caveman by Richard Maxwell. Perhaps Aukin's greatest accomplishment was the nurturing of playwright Melissa James Gibson, whose quirky tale of stalled young unbanites, [sic], was an unexpected critical and popular hit in 2001. Aukin went on to direct and produce Gibson's Suitcase in 2004.
During his tenure, Aukin also forged a connection with The Flying Machine, an experimental group that brought their shows Frankenstein, Signals of Distress and The Escapist to Soho Rep.
The company was very popular with the Obie Awards during Aukin's reign. It collected six Obies, including the Ross Wetzsteon Memorial Award presented to the company earlier this week. Before coming to Soho Rep, Aukin was the artistic director of Austin's Physical Plant, and a resident director at The Bat Theatre.
Past playwrights involved in the company's annual writer-director labs include Anne Washburn (Apparition), Brooke Berman (The Triple Happiness), Neena Beber (Jump/Cut), and Dan O'Brien (The Dear Boy).