2023-2024 BIPOC CRITICS LAB COHORT
Meet the 2023-2024 BIPOC Critics Lab Cohort at The Public Theater! Selected from over 70 applicants from around the world, these 12 creatives bring backgrounds and expertise in writing, performing, visual arts, design, directing, dramaturgy, and more. Over the next season at The Public, cohort members will train under Jose Solís, as well as guest speakers from the journalism field, and complete a commissioned piece.
Maria Paz Alegre
Maria Paz Alegre is an artist, activist, and educator. She has presented and created workshops for several national and regional education conferences centered around creating diverse, equitable, and inclusive curriculum. As a librarian, she has served in communities facing adversity including Ferguson, MO, and serves as a judge on the 2023-2024 Caldecott Award Committee. She has interviewed a myriad of artists including Misty Copeland, Jackie Sibblies Drury, and Stephen Adly Guirgis. She has collaborated with many theatre companies including LAByrinth Theatre, of which she is a member of their 2012 Intensive Ensemble. BFA in Acting - Emerson College, MLS - Queens College
Zuhdi Boueri is a first-generation Middle Eastern actor and artistic producer who is based in NYC. He worked as Producing Artistic Associate at Classic Stage Company and has been on stage and screen since graduating with his MFA from Penn State University. You might have spotted him in TV shows “The Other Two,” “Uncoupled,” or more. He was also in Amazon Prime’s feature film The Report and Sony Picture’s Here Today. He’s grateful to be part of such an extraordinary opportunity at The Public!
Cynthia L. Dorsey
Cynthia L. Dorsey is an award-winning actor, director, producer, writer, and filmmaker. She is the Co-Founder of SoulFLY Theatre Society and has devoted her artistry to liberating the stories of women of color from the page. Dorsey is also an arts educator who was nominated for an Excellence in Theatre Education Tony Award. Currently, Dorsey is a Prince/TTLP Fellow and Broadway League Fellow. Her writing has been featured in 50in50 Women Writers and on the Mortified podcast. Her freelance writings can be found on lifestyle publications Madame Noire and XoNecole. It is Dorsey’s goal as an artist to create and produce art that empowers audiences and invokes societal change.
Jhaunay-Amanie Hernandez (they/them) is a Black Latine student, writer, and director born in Sacramento, CA and based in Washington Heights, NYC. They are a recent first-generation BMCC graduate and a current CCNY student for Theatre and Cinema Studies with a focus on making and supporting works by and for traditionally underrepresented and marginalized communities. Hernandez is very grateful and excited for the opportunity to gain more knowledge and grow as both a writer and a critical thinker with The Public Theater and the BIPOC Critics Lab. Recent works include: Sol/Luna at BMCC and The Lovers for Haunted Love - A Halloween Play Festival.
Zoë Kim (she/her) is a Korean-American storyteller based in NYC who is passionate about creating art that encourages humanity, compassion, and kindness. She is the founder of Seoulful Productions (seoulfulproductions.org), a Korean-American women-led 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose primary mission is to create artistic experiences that celebrate the culture, artistry, and voices of the Korean diaspora through our own eyes and lived experiences. Additionally, Kim works as the New Works Development Manager at The Public Theater and as an Anti-Racist Theatre Facilitator. Furthermore, she has nearly 15 years of experience in program management and marketing having worked at renowned nonprofits, museums, and the largest communications corporation in the world. As an actor, her recent credits include Eureka Day, Motherf**ker with the Hat, The Winter’s Tale (Shakespeare’s Globe in London), 4000 Miles, The King’s Language (world premiere), and No Returns (AFI Film). As a writer, her play Did You Eat? will have its world premiere at the 2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland. She also wrote screenplays for Phone Call, Meet Me at a Funeral (MMF), Say, Do You Wanna Be White?, and multiple episodes of “Blue Match Comedy.” As a filmmaker, Meet Me at a Funeral and Phone Call became official selections at various film festivals and have won her numerous awards including Emerging Filmmaker, Best Comedy, Best Film, and Best Lead Performance. Read more at www.thezoekim.com
Born and raised in Queens, NYC, Strella is a recent graduate of Marymount Manhattan College with a BA in Theater Design/Production. Passionate about visual and performing arts, she focuses on contributing to and highlighting the rich culture of New York City through her work in lighting design, community event coordination as a founder of The Capitalist, (@thecapitalistnyc) and digital publications centered around fine arts and gallery spaces. Her hobbies include figure drawing, travel planning, and attending metal concerts.
Francisco Morandi Zerpa
Francisco is a Queer Latinx actor, theater-maker and teaching artist from Caracas, Venezuela. His work onstage ranges from classical to contemporary to devised material. When he is not onstage he works as a dramaturg and verbatim theater-maker. His latest verbatim project surrounds the letters of the Queer visual artist David Wojnarowicz. He is a 2022 graduate of NYU Tisch where he studied with Anna Deavere Smith. He begins his first year at Yale’s MFA Acting program in the Fall of 2023. He is on the Voice and Speech Faculty at The Atlantic Acting School and Waterwell Theater. He collaborates most often with friends, which he hopes to do forever.
Alexander "Alex" Paredes-Ruíz is a Chicago-based writer, creative, and cultural worker from Miami, FL, focusing on theater, race, and popular culture, particularly in performance and aesthetics. He is the Marketing Manager at First Floor Theater and supports teaching in Latinx culture as an MA student in Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Paredes-Ruíz has previously received T. Howard Foundation and 4A’s MAIP fellowships alongside a Studio Theatre apprenticeship. Past affiliated organizations include Chicago Latino Theatre Alliance, Steppenwolf, Americans for the Arts, and Actors Playhouse. Alex holds degrees in Theatre Arts Management and History from Ithaca College.
Nina Slowinski (she/they) received her Bachelor of Science in Theater from Skidmore College in 2019 with concentrations in directing and playwriting, and is currently the Artistic Programming Associate at The New Victory Theater. She has developed work with Dramatic Question Theatre, ExeQutive Entertainment, HALF STRADDLE, Hangar Theater, Primary Stages, The Drama League, The Tank, among others. Additionally, their story “2001 Red Honda CR-V” is featured on The Moth podcast available on all streaming platforms. IG: @ninaslowinski
Eliseo Valerio is a Mexican American artist-educator who cares deeply about culture and access. He has contributed to education programming at the Alley Theatre, the New Victory Theater, Second Stage Theater, The Kennedy Center, Ford's Theatre, and Shakespeare Theatre Company where he's currently the School Programs Manager. Prior to that role, Valerio served as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Mexico where he used theatre-based activities to facilitate language acquisition and foster cultural exchange. He majored in Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford and is a current M.S.Ed. student at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.
Octavia Washington is a Brooklyn-based writer, amateur reviewer, producer, Capricorn, and graduate of Carleton College. In addition to being a proud alumnus of the Apollo Theater Academy, she's currently studying to complete a master's degree in dramaturgy at Columbia University. You can most likely find her shopping until she drops.