NEW YORK CITY: Theatre Communications Group (TCG) has announced the participants in the sixth round of its Rising Leaders of Color (RLC) Program. Supported by the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Hearst Foundations, and Walt Disney Imagineering, the program seeks to develop and highlight early-career BIPOC leaders across the country who are committed to upholding equitable practices in the field.
This year’s cohort, who are based in New York City, will include Zi Alikhan, Sivan Battat, Adam Coy, Rebecca Martinez, Liz Morgan, Rudy Ramirez, Danica Rodriguez, and Gaven Trinidad.
“We’re thrilled to welcome this next cohort into an ever-growing intergenerational network of BIPOC leaders,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director of TCG, in a statement. “As our field enters an unprecedented period of reopening, rehiring, and renewal, our theatre ecology must center BIPOC leadership and make the most of the transformational opportunities ahead of us.”
The program builds on previous programs in Washington, D.C. (2016), Portland, Ore. (2017), St. Louis, Mo. (2018), Miami, Fla. (2019), and New York (2020), and has also included a theatre criticism/journalism track in past iterations. This cohort will participate in a year-long curriculum designed to provide professional development, mentorship and networking opportunities, and taking place online from May of this year through June 2022 due to ongoing health and safety restrictions.
“We are thrilled to launch the sixth round of the Rising Leaders of Color program.” said Emilya Cachapero, director of artistic & international programs. “More than ever, as this country wrestles with its legacy of racism and inaction, it is essential to uplift and support BIPOC leaders who have exhibited their commitment to creating a more just society. The 44 alumni of the program have already made impactful contributions to the theatre field and their communities. We look forward to identifying a new cohort who will undoubtedly be at the forefront of shaping our theatre field’s future, especially as our field begins to plan for reopening.”
RLC is part of TCG’s commitment to changing the face of theatre by nurturing and supporting an intergenerational network of leaders who are committed to transforming the field into a more equitable, inclusive, and diverse community. More information about the program is available here.
Members of this year’s cohort are as follows:
Zi Alikhan (he/him) is a queer first-generation South Asian-American, culturally Muslim theatre director, educator, and leader. Alikhan is currently the inaugural Artistic Directing Fellow at Portland, Ore.’s Artists Repertory Theatre, where he serves as the first director of DNA: Oxygen, an affinity space and creative hub dedicated to the development and production of new work generated by, led by, and featuring artists of color. Directing credits include Manik Choksi’s The Ramayan (currently in development at Ars Nova), Ragtime (Playmakers Rep), Lady Apsara (filmed for Prospect Theatre Co), The Flick and Red Speedo (Juilliard), and development at Playwrights Horizons, LCT3, New York Stage and Film, and the Playwrights Realm. Alikhan has worked as a resident/associate for Hamilton, The Band’s Visit, The Rose Tattoo, and Six Degrees of Separation. He is an alum of Drama League Directors Project, Soho Rep Lab, Ars Nova Makers Lab, MTC Alper Fellowship , and NYU/Tisch. Coming up Alikhan is working on The Great Leap with Portland Center Stage and Artists Rep.
Sivan Battat (she/they) is an Iraqi-Jewish theatre director and community organizer. Battat’s work is across genres: in the theatre, in community, in ritual celebration, and beyond. They create work that leans into multiplicity and resists cultural erasure, exploring displacement across immigrant experiences, asking questions about nostalgia and home. Recent projects include: Layalina (National Queer Theater), The Night Traveller (Cutting Ball Theater), Coexistence My Ass (Harvard University/Tour), Baba Karam, McArabia (Atlantic Middle Eastern Mixfest), and East o’, West o’! (ANTFest, Ars Nova). Fellowships and residencies include Roundabout Theatre Company (Directing Fellow), Drama League (Leo Shull Musical Directing Fellow), NYTW (Adelphi Residency), National Queer Theater (Mount Tremper Arts Residency), 14th Street Y (LABA Fellowship), and Studio Theatre (Artistic Apprentice). Battat works with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) specifically organizing Mizrahi & Sephardi Jews, and ritual events. Battat has curated several iterations of Salon Al-Mahjar صالون المهجر, a performance salon for queer and trans MENASA artists, leads ancestral storytelling workshops, and serves on the board with Ammud: the Jews of Color Torah Academy. Battat seeks to bridge justice work and cultural work, bringing the power of performance to our movements, and the vision of movement work to our theaters.
Adam Coy (he/him) is a Tejano director, curator of vibes (a.k.a. producer), and actor based in New York City, originally from San Antonio. He currently serves on the Fled’s leadership circle and is the associate artistic director of the Egg & Spoon Theatre Collective. Recent directing credits include The Aliens (Syracuse University), You Don’t Deserve to Die (Invited Dress Podcast), and Zabelle, Crave (E&S). Coy has worked as an SDC Foundation Observer on Mojada (Chay Yew, the Public Theater). Acting credits include The Fre, Southern Promises, Fill,Fill,Fill,Fill,Fill,Fill,Fill (the Flea); Lilia (New Dramatists), Romeo and Juliet (Westport Country Playhouse), and Young Playwrights Project (Chautauqua Theater Company). Coy is a member of Theater Producers of Color: Producing 101 inaugural cohort, the 2018-19 SDC Foundation Observership Class, and an SDC Associate Member. He has a BFA in acting from Syracuse University. Upcoming projects include Egg & Spoon’s Incubation Series and Chopp it Up with Chef John Capers.
Rebecca Martinez (she/her) is an award-winning director and choreographer, ensemble member of Sojourn Theatre, and the BOLD associate artistic director of WP Theater. Affiliations include Sol Project Collective, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, INTAR’s Unit52, SDCF Observer, Latinx Theatre Commons Advisory Committee, 2019 Audrey Resident, New Georges Affiliated Artist, 2018-2020 WP Lab, 2017 Drama League Directing Fellow, Member of SDC, and artist with Center for Performance and Civic Practice. She is the recipient of two Drammy Awards for Outstanding Choreography (Portland, Ore.), a Henry Award for Outstanding Direction (Colorado) and the Lilla Jewel Award for Women Artists. Martinez is based in Lenapehoking aka Brooklyn, N.Y., and originally from the lands of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Ute peoples aka Denver, Colo., with deep ancestral roots in the Southwest.
Liz Morgan (she/her) is the Director of Training & Pedagogy at Theatre of the Oppressed NYC, where she facilitates creative advocacy work and trains practitioners all over the world in social justice theatre techniques. Her original work includes Deliver: Letters to the Motherland from a Foreign Body (Kilroys Honorable Mention) and The Clark Doll, which was featured at the Deep Water Literary Festival and nominated for a Drammy Award in the category of Best Original Script after its premiere. Other theatrical honors include the 2017 Torchbearer for Black Theatre Award, Playwrights Realm Writing Fellowship (Semi-Finalist), and the New Works Lab at Stratford (Semi-Finalist). Before leaving to help form “The Fled,” a collective rooted in anti-racist values, Morgan was also a resident writer at the Flea. Her acting credits range from Hollywood film to experimental theatre and include her performance with Ntozake Shange on the legend’s choreopoem, Lost in Language and Sound. She is proud to have served on A.R.T./New York’s Body Autonomy Leadership Council and looks forward to collaborating more with her classmates from Columbia Law & Broadway Advocacy Coalition’s Theatre of Change program. MFA: Brown/Trinity Rep Acting.
Rudy Ramirez (they/them) is a Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist, arts educator, and facilitator. They are presently a Consulting Director of Antiracism Initiatives for Theatre for Young Audiences/USA. Ramirez is also a current teaching artist with Ping Chong + Co, and has served similarly at other organizations like Seattle Children’s Theatre, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Childsplay, and others. Recently, they were a founding member of the BIPOC in TYA Advisory Board and project curator for Anti-Racist & Anti-Oppressive Futures for Theatre for Young Audiences: An Interactive Guide. They are a member of Actors’ Equity and have performed both regionally and on national tours. Ramirez believes in the transformative power of art, theatre, and storytelling. They live and create and dream on unceded Lenape Land.
Danica Rodriguez (she/her) is a New York casting director and theatremaker dedicated to centering and celebrating the voices of the global majority. Rodriguez has worked at Marc Hirschfeld Casting, Warner Brothers Television Casting NY, and most recently the Public Theater’s casting department, under Jordan Thaler and Heidi Griffiths. Rodriguez’s core values of generosity and equity led her to her role as trainer and educator for Broadway for Racial Justice’s Casting Directive. As a proud Puerto Rican and Mexican American woman, she believes inclusivity is a radical act and chooses to uplift the voices of BIPOC, trans folks, and queer artists. Rodriguez has also taken on projects connected to Netflix, LALIFF, and the Civilians, bringing her keen eye to a multitude of artistic mediums. As a freelance casting director, she has been invited to speak at the Playwrights Realm and Roundabout Theatre Company. Rodriguez holds a Bachelor of Arts with distinction in Film & Media Studies from Dartmouth College.
Gaven Trinidad (he/him/siya) is a first generation Filipinx American theatremaker, illustrator, and educator from NYC. His artistic work examines the intersections of race, language, immigration, queerness, ritual, community, and futurity. He taught undergraduate courses on the work of contemporary BIPOC playwrights at the University of Massachusetts Amherst under the mentorship of Dr. Priscilla Page. He continues to teach social justice and intergenerational theatre as a member of the Education Team at New York Theatre Workshop. He’s had the privilege to collaborate with folks in various positions at places such as the Juilliard Drama Division, Musical Theatre Factory, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and National Queer Theater. Selected dramaturgy credits include PreP Play, or Blue Parachute (National Queer Theater), June is the First Fall (Yantze Repertory Theater), and Collidescope 2.0 (Ping Chong + Company). Directing credits include Joker (National Queer Theater) and Are You There Truman? (Pride Plays, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater). Upcoming will be Sa Aming Puso (Global Forms Theatre Festival, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, New York Theatre Salon). Trinidad has a B.A. in American Studies from Dickinson College and an M.F.A. in Dramaturgy and Graduate Certificate in Woman, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Trinidad is a proud former public school teacher in Memphis, Tenn. He is the Community Engagement Associate at New York Theatre Workshop.
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