NEW YORK CITY: The Public Theater has selected 12 future arts journalists for the 2023-24 cohort of Jose Solís’ BIPOC Critics Lab. The selected participants are Maria Paz Alegre, Zuhdi Boueri, Cynthia L. Dorsey, Jhaunay-Amanie Hernandez, Zoë Kim, Strella Leal, Francisco Morandi Zerpa, Noran Morsi, Alex Paredes-Ruiz, Nina Slowinski, Eliseo Valerio, and Octavia Washington. Find out more about the new cohort members here.
Participants were selected from over 70 applicants from all over the world, and offer backgrounds and expertise in writing, performing, visual arts, design, directing, dramaturgy, and more. Over the course of next season at the Public, cohort members will train under the instruction of Jose Solís, as well as other guest speakers in the journalism field, with the opportunity to learn aspects of arts journalism through a variety of mediums beyond the written word. Future critics who participate in the cohort will contribute to the creation of a custom program that fits their specific needs and encourages them to pursue the path of criticism that best serves them. Participating in the cohort is of no cost to members. All writers will be assigned a commissioned piece at the culmination of the program and will be compensated for their work.
The BIPOC Critics Lab was founded by Jose Solís in 2020 as a first-of-its-kind program designed to train and create work by emerging BIPOC theatre journalists. Solís noticed a gap in training based on his own experience as a cultural critic in the field and created an educational space for BIPOC writers who had not been welcomed into cultural criticism, whether due to systemic oppression, lack of opportunity, or because they didn’t know they were allowed to see themselves as critics.
For the last two years, the Kennedy Center hosted the BIPOC Critics Lab online as a part of the American College Theater Festival. Alumni of the program have gone on to write and work as editors for outlets such as The Los Angeles Times, Andscape, Elle, Glamour, American Theatre, Broadway News, 3Views, Brooklyn Rail, and Token Theatre Friends.
Since the program’s 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. The Public Theater was conceived over 60 years ago in New York City as one of the nation’s first nonprofit theatre organizations and operates on the principles that theatre is an essential cultural force, and that art and culture belong to everyone. The Public presents an annual season of new work on Astor Place, Free Shakespeare in the Park, the Mobile Unit, Public Works, and Joe’s Pub. As of 2022, The Public had an approximate budget of $37,881,000.
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