NEW YORK CITY: The Public Theater has announced that it will host this year’s upcoming cohort of the BIPOC Critics Lab in partnership with program founder Jose Solís. Founded by Solís in 2020, the BIPOC Critics Lab was designed to train and create work by emerging BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) theatre journalists. Since its creation, the Public has been committed to supporting the work of the BIPOC Critics Lab, commissioning all current and alumni writers to pen features for most productions. Following a successful two-year collaboration with The Kennedy Center, the Public will continue to further the Lab’s mission.
“I am thrilled that the Public will continue to build upon its work with the BIPOC Critics Lab as we host the next iteration during our 2023-24 season,” said Public Theater executive director Patrick Willingham in a statement. “Throughout our partnership with the Lab over the past three years, we have had the opportunity to work with Jose Solís and amplify his mission as we work to give space to and commission the next generation of cultural critics, a commitment that directly aligns with our organization-wide Cultural Transformation Plan. Hosting the Lab is a perfect next step in supporting Solís’s vital work as we continue to champion diversity within arts journalism and the theatre industry as a whole.”
Cohort applications are now available and will be accepted through April 30. There is no cost to participate and members will each contribute to the creation of a custom program that fits their specific needs and encourages them to pursue their own path of criticism. Future critics will have the opportunity to learn all aspects of arts journalism through a variety of mediums beyond the written word, with BIPOC experts in the field serving as guest speakers. All writers will be assigned a commissioned piece at the culmination of the program and will be compensated for their work.
Sessions for the Lab will take place throughout the course of the Public’s 2023-24 season. Accepted writers will receive offers to join the cohort in mid-June, with the program officially beginning in July during the Public’s Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Hamlet. This iteration of the cohort will consist of a hybrid model of in-person and online sessions. Applicants local to NYC or living in the tristate area will be prioritized.
“Since the program first began three years ago, over 30 BIPOC critics have had their works published via
assignments set up by the Lab,” said program founder Solís in a statement, “with many of them going on to continue successful careers as freelancers, editors, and staff reporters for various outlets across the U.S. The Public has been an invaluable supporter of the Lab since its inception. I’m overjoyed to be working with an arts organization that not only has kept all the promises made to the BIPOC theatre community in 2020, but has gone beyond in order to create a more inclusive field. The Public has made me feel like family, and that’s an indescribable feeling. With a Lab hosted and funded by them, the sky is truly the limit.”
In an effort to further the movement initiated by Solís and to expand both past and present cohorts’
networks, the Public invites theatres in New York City, arts and cultural press agencies, and regional
theatres around the world to collaborate with the Lab’s early-career BIPOC journalists for future
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