Inaugural Cohort for Public Theater's BIPOC Critics Lab Revealed | Playbill

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Off-Broadway News Inaugural Cohort for Public Theater's BIPOC Critics Lab Revealed

Founder Jose Solís is partnering with the Off-Broadway company to create an educational space for BIPOC writers with an interest in cultural criticism.

The Public Theater

The Public Theater has revealed the inaugural cohort of its newly launched BIPOC Critics Lab. Founder Jose Solís is collaborating with the Off-Broadway company to create an educational program for BIPOC writers pursuing cultural criticism.

Sessions for the lab will begin this month with The Public Theater's Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Hamlet, and will continue through the rest of The Public's 2023-2024 season. The program will follow a hybrid model, with some sessions online and some in-person.

The selected writers 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.

Since the BIPOC Critics Lab began three years ago, 30 BIPOC critics have had their works published through assignments for the program, and many have gone on to find success as freelance writers. A first-of-its-kind program, the BIPOC Critics Lab was founded in 2020 by Solís in hopes of facilitating a space for BIPOC writers who may not have felt welcome in the landscape of cultural criticism due to systematic oppression, lack of representation in the field, or lack of opportunity. For the last two years, The Kennedy Center has hosted the BIPOC Critics Lab online as a part of the American College Theater Festival.

“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’ vital work as we continue to champion diversity within arts journalism and the theatre industry as a whole," said Public Theater Executive Director Patrick Willingham in an earlier statement.

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