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BIPOC Critics Lab Cohort

The BIPOC Critics Lab was founded in 2020 by Jose Solís as a first-of-its-kind program designed to train and create work by emerging BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) theater 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 critics 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. Solís solicited applicants for the first cohort through Twitter where over 100 BIPOC participants expressed interest in participating. For the last two years, The Kennedy Center has 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. 

Following the tenets of dialogue, compassion, and nurturing one’s unique voice, 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. Selected members will have the opportunity to learn all aspects of arts journalism through a variety of mediums beyond the written word. BIPOC experts in the field also serve as guest speakers for the Lab. All critics will be assigned a commissioned piece at the culmination of the program and will be compensated for their work. 

Applications for the 2023-2024 cohort are now closed.

Please reach out to us at [email protected] for any inquiries.

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BIPOC Critics Lab at The Public

The Public Theater is hosting the fourth iteration of Jose Solís’ BIPOC Critics Lab in the 2023-2024 season. Following a successful two-year collaboration with The Kennedy Center, The Public is honored to continue founder Jose Solís’ commitment to creating an educational space for BIPOC critics in the realm of cultural criticism. 

Sessions for the Lab will span over The Public’s 2023-2024 season, and those chosen to participate will receive offers to join the cohort in mid-June, with the cohort officially beginning in July during The Public’s Free Shakespeare in the Park production of HAMLET. This iteration of the cohort will be a hybrid model of in-person and online sessions. Applicants local to NYC or living in the tri-state area will be prioritized. 

The cohort will meet typically once a week for short sessions. Meeting times will be decided by the cohort collectively once applicants are selected for the program. There is no expectation for applicants to provide full-time availabilty, and may continue to pursue full-time jobs, education, and other obligations during the course of the program.

Applications for the 2023-2024 cohort are now closed.

Host the Lab at Your Theater Company

The BIPOC Critics Lab is a movement.

Since the Lab was founded in 2020, The Public committed to commission all past and present cohort members. As we host the next iteration, we invite theater organizations from all around the world to commission a critic. If you are interested in being added to our list of interested organizations, please email us at [email protected] with your organization name and preferred main contact. We are gathering a database of interested contacts as opportunities come up. Additionally, if you are writing to us from a press office, we hope you can add our future cohort members to invite lists during their tenure at The Public. 

While The Public is hosting a Lab next season, there are opportunities for more than one cohort to exist simultaneously, particularly in other parts of the country or world. If you’re interested in hosting a cohort at your organization, we encourage you to reach out to Jose Solís by filling out this form.

About the Founder

Jose Solís began his career as a critic at age 16 when he launched a film review website in Honduras, his home country. He began writing about theatre while attending college in Costa Rica, and upon moving to NYC in 2012, focused mostly on the stage. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Toronto Star, The Washington Post, American Theatre, TDF Stages, The National Catholic Reporter, Encore Monthly, Backstage, Salon, Rotten Tomatoes, 3Views, and America Magazine. He created the web series/podcast Token Theatre Friends.

In 2020, he was selected as the Floria Lasky Visiting Artist at Hunter College where he hosted the Wed@One series. The same year he founded the BIPOC Critics Lab, a training program for the cultural critics of the future. The second and third installments of the Lab were hosted by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In 2021, he was named one of the Kennedy Center’s Next 50, “leaders and organizations that, through sustained excellence of artistic, educational, athletic, or multi-disciplinary work, are lighting the way forward.”

He is currently based in Madrid, Spain, where he’s completing a master’s program in Cultural Criticism and Theory at the Universidad Carlos III.