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2023 Latinx Theatre Commons (LTC) Designer and Director Colaboratorio Participant Bios

DIRECTORS

Francisco Garcia

Francisco Garcia is a director, playwright, actor, and educator from Portland, Oregon. His recent directing work includes the world premieres of Emilio Rodriguez’s Swimming While Drowning and Olga Sanchez’s Broken Promises for Milagro Theatre, Joan Cushing’s Diary of a Worm, a Spider, and a Fly and José Cruz González’s Tomás and the Library Lady for Oregon Children’s Theatre, Andrew Sianez’s Ofelio for MediaRites, the workshop of Marc Pinate’s Antigone on the Border co-commission between Borderlands Theater/Milagro Theatre, Blanca Forzan’s The Light Below for Bag & Baggage’s Sequestered Soliloquies, and Naomi Iizuka’s Anon(ymous) for Lewis & Clark College, where he also worked as a visiting professor.

His recent playwriting work includes the commissions of Maya Ruiz Rises for Oregon Children’s Theatre, Sube y Baja for Artists Repertory Theatre’s Mercury Company, and 545 for Portland Playhouse’s Wonderland, a festival of new works. In 2013, he served as a guest playwright for CalArt’s CAP Program and wrote The Legend of Lauren Lopez, which was performed at REDCAT Theatre and Plaza de la Raza in Los Angeles. Francisco’s recent acting credits include NBC’s Grimm, IFC’s Portlandia, A24 Film’s Lean on Pete, Edith Film’s It’s What’s Inside, and JAW New Play Festival for Portland Center Stage. He’s also worked regionally for such theatres as the Mark Taper Forum, Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, Bilingual Foundation of the Arts, Los Angeles Theatre Center, Cornerstone Theater Company, East LA Repertory, Milagro Theatre, and Artists Repertory Theatre. Francisco received his master’s degree from California State University, Los Angeles and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA.

 

Tamanya M. M. Garza

Tamanya M. M. Garza is a Mexican American parent-artist and diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant based in Philadelphia. As a director, producer, and educator, Tamanya has had the pleasure of working with Power Street Theatre, Simpatico Theatre, Wilma Theater, Philadelphia Theatre Company, InterAct Theatre Company, Ursinus College, Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival, Directors Gathering, University of the Arts, Theatre Exile, Delaware Shakespeare, Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists, and many others. Tamanya is committed to representation at every level and a deep understanding of anti-racist and anti-bias practices paired with concrete steps toward change to create theatre that exists to tell all of our stories without damaging the storytellers. In 2020, she earned a diversity and inclusion certificate from Cornell University to support the equity, diversity, and inclusion consulting work she has done for the theatres and nonprofits for the past two decades.

Currently Tamanya serves as the Parent Artist Advocacy League (PAAL) executive director of community and justice initiatives and the chief representative for Philadelphia. Her work with PAAL to create an equitable and inclusive space for parents and caregivers has been featured alongside other changemakers in HowlRound and American Theatre magazine and the Art Meet Offspring podcast. Tamanya has been invited to speak about the organization’s best practices by Theatre Communications Group (TCG), United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), League of Professional Theatre Women, New Jersey Theatre Alliance, Reel Families for Change, Asian Arts Initiative, Vision Driven Artists, National Women’s Theatre Festival, and more.

 

Miranda Gonzalez

Miranda Gonzalez, born and raised in Chicago, is a writer, director, producer, and consultant. She is currently the producing artistic director at UrbanTheater Company (UTC) in Humboldt Park, is a founding ensemble member of Chicago’s all-Latina theatre company Teatro Luna, and has devised and developed plays since 2000. She is a 3Arts awardee and a recipient of the International Centre for Women Playwrights 50/50 Award. She recently was invited to TEDx and presented a talk called “The Fear of Decolonization” about the theatre industry. She is currently developing a play that discusses the history of the underground railroad to Mexico as a part of Latino Theater Company’s Imaginistas cohort in Los Angeles. Some of her directing credits include Evolution of a Sonero by Flaco Navaja, the theatrical film Brujaja by Melissa DuPrey, Thank You for Coming. Take Care by Stacey Rose at Court Theatre, Ashes of Light by Marco Antonio Rodriguez, and La Gringa by Carmen Rivera. She is also an executive producer for the web series 50 Blind Dates with Melissa DuPrey and has written for the web series Ruby’s World, Yo! created by Marilyn Camacho (season one, episode three, and season two, episodes one to four).

 

Rulas A. Muñoz

Rulas A. Muñoz (they/she) is a Brooklyn-based director, performer, and dramaturg. Selected international and regional theatre credits include The F & L at 1330 (director, Dramatists Guild New England Regional’s Footlight Series), Ella (associate director, Teatro en Corto), The Inheritance (assistant director, SpeakEasy Stage), People, Places & Things (dramaturg, SpeakEasy Stage), BLKS (dramaturg, SpeakEasy Stage), and Meet Me in the Bathroom (Priss, Central Square Theater). Born and raised in Mexico City, their enthusiasm as a storyteller has allowed them to tell stories in different mediums and positions, turning them into multihyphenate theatre artist. They believe that there is no one way to be a storyteller. As a theatremaker, they strive to tell timely, compelling, and intersectional stories that challenge theatre in content and form. Rulas is a graduate of the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, an advanced directing alum from the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, and a 2021–2022 SpeakEasy Stage artistic fellow.

 

Tlaloc Rivas

Tlaloc Rivas is a playwright, director, dramaturg, and educator focused on theatrically adventurous work for the stage and is thrilled to be joining the Colaboratorio! He is the recipient of the Sir John Gielgud Fellowship in classical directing, a participant of the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for directors, and a Usual Suspect for New York Theatre Workshop. Tlaloc’s advanced training includes SITI Company Summer Intensive at Skidmore College, the María Irene Fornés Institute, La MaMa Umbria Summer Institute, NALAC Leadership Institute, Mabou Mines Resident Artist Program, Cornerstone Theatre Company Institute Summer Residency, and anti-racism workshops with Equity Quotient and artEquity. He is a co-founder and one of the original eight of the Latinx Theatre Commons.

Tlaloc is a lecturer in acting at the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale, an associate professor in residence at University of Connecticut, and recently joined the faculty for the National Theatre Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center. He serves on the boards of the New Harmony Project and Latiné Musical Theatre Lab NYC. He is a member of Dramatists Guild and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. He has a bachelor of arts (with honors) from University of California Santa Cruz, a master of fine arts in directing from University of Washington, and was a postdoctoral presidential fellow at Carnegie Mellon University. His website is tlalocrivas.com.

 

Benito Vasquez

Benito Vasquez is a local producer, director, and actor in Houston, Texas. He holds a bachelor of science in applied mathematics and a master of fine arts in performance and pedagogy. Benito is the founding artistic director of TEATRX, a Latinx theatre company established to advance Latinx performance arts to be a vital and prominent part of the artistic identity of Houston. Benito strives to create and present multiethnic, multicultural, and multigenerational stories in English and Spanish that better reflect Houston’s majority-minority population. Most recently, Benito was assistant director for Stages’ production of Sunrise Coven. His recent directing credits include Sonia Flew for TEATRX, The Stories of Us for University of Houston-Downtown, School of the Americas by José Rivera for EDG Theatrical Productions, Inner View for Stages’ Sin Muros Festival, and Escaping Inward for the Fade to Black Festival.

Moreover, Benito sits on the planning committee for Stages’s Sin Muros Festival and has served as part of the steering committees for the Latinx Theatre Commons and the Houston Alliance of Latinx Arts (HALA)—a grassroots coalition of artists and art administrators working towards finding solutions to the inequities in funding of Latinx arts in Houston. He has also served as a panelist on several grant programs awarded by the Houston Arts Alliance. Finally, Benito works for University of Houston-Downtown as a program administrator for the Department of Computer Science and Engineering Technology, helping to increase the number of Latinx students in computing.

 

DESIGNERS

Anthony Almendárez

Anthony Almendárez is an artist and composer working with sound, performance, video, and installation. His work explores modes of storytelling that reorders, remixes, and plays with the intersection between art, literature, and music, using sound as a point of departure. Anthony’s work has been presented nationally and internationally including at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Alberta, Canada; CIRCA, London, UK; Seen:Sound Visual/Music, Melbourne, Australia; ECHOFLUXX 19, Prague, Czech Republic; Conservatoire Maurice Ravel, Paris, France; Experimental Sound Studio, Chicago, Illinois; Miami New Media Festival; Artpace, San Antonio, Texas; and Aurora Picture Show, Blaffer Art Museum, and Lawndale Art Center, Houston, Texas.

He is the recipient of artist grants from YES Contemporary and the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance. Writing on his work has been featured in publications including Moving Image Art London, the Invisible Archive journal, Voyage Houston, and Glasstire. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Anthony is currently based in Houston where he is an administrative coordinator for Nameless Sound. He received his bachelor of arts in music education from California State University, Dominguez Hills, a master of arts in music theory and composition from Marshall University; and a master of fine arts in music/sound from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College.

 

Sonia Álvarez

Sonia Álvarez (she/her/ella) is a Los Angeles–based and bicoastal theatre artist, primarily working in costume design and as producer and dramaturg with In the Margin. She has worked in the Bay Area and assisted on Broadway and Off-Broadway productions in New York City with Manhattan Class Company and Manhattan Theatre Club as well as at the regional level, with three seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival as costume design Assistant. Her recent credits include La Egoísta (costume designer, Actors Theatre of Louisville), Between Two Knees (associate costume designer, Seattle Repertory Theatre), Antigone (associate costume designer, Cleveland Play House), and Exhaustion Arroyo: Dancin’ Trees in the Ravine (costume designer, Cutting Ball Theatre).

 

Carmen Amon

Carmen Amon is a queer Chicanx costume designer in the Greater San Diego area. She has been working professionally as a freelance costume designer since 2016. She graduated the same year with a bachelor’s degree in theatre with an emphasis in costume design from San Diego State University. Her designs have been featured at the Old Globe’s Globe for All, La Jolla Playhouse’s POP Tour, San Diego Repertory Theatre, MOXIE Theatre, San Diego Junior Theatre, Pacific Ridge School, and, most recently, Passage Theatre in New Jersey and Urbanite Theatre in Florida.

 

Jorge Arroyo

Jorge Arroyo is a freelance lighting designer based in Boston and New York with over twenty-five years of experience in theatre, dance, concerts, corporate events, opera, and television. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, he is one of only a handful of professional lighting designers to hail from the island. He is a storyteller who uses light as the medium of communication using both an intellectual and emotional approach to connect with the audience. His work has been seen at venues such as the Alley Theatre, the Huntington, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Apollo Theater, Carnegie Hall, the Public Theater, the Arden, Westport Country Playhouse, City Theatre, and others. He previously served as the resident lighting designer for Dreamcatcher Repertory Theater, Calpulli Mexican Dance Company, and Luna Stage. He has created designs for over fifty shows at both the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Jazz at Lincoln Center for artists such as Alicia Keys, Gabriel Iglesias, the Wayans brothers, the Chieftains, BeBe and CeCe Winans, and others.

He has also worked with choreographer Stacey Tookey, three-time Emmy nominee for her choreography on FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance, on her production of Moments Defined in both New York and California. He has co-authored the last three versions of the Lightwright manual and tutorial. Jorge received his master of fine arts from New York University and is currently an assistant professor of lighting design and co-chair of design and production at Boston University and a member of USA Local 829.

 

Tania Barrenechea

Tania Barrenechea is a scenic designer and artisan for the theatre. She received her bachelor of architecture from Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru in 2015. Before beginning her master of fine arts, she worked as an architect for five years in the architecture studio Vicca Verde in Lima, Peru where she was a project manager. She received her master of fine arts in scenic design from the Pennsylvania State University. She received the Creative Achievement Award from the College of Arts and Architecture and the Anne Gibson Award for Professional Development in Theatre Design and Technology in 2020. Her production credits include A Little Night Music directed by Phillip Fazio and To Kill a Mockingbird directed by Susan Schulman at the Pennsylvania State University. She has assisted Milagros Ponce de León in the production of Miss You like Hell at the Olney Theatre Center in Maryland and Life Is a Dream at the GALA Hispanic Theatre in DC. She is the head of design at the University of Central Arkansas and an assistant professor of design at the Department of Film, Theatre, and Creative Writing.

 

Alex Vásquez Dheming

Alex Vásquez Dheming is a lighting designer and production manager from San Salvador, El Salvador and based in New York City. Selected collaborators include Big Dance Theater (Annie-B Parson), Nélida Tirado, Miguel Gutierrez, New York Theatre Ballet, Calpulli Mexican Dance, Caborca, Ashwini Ramaswamy, Dance Entropy, and Works & Process. Her work has been seen throughout New York City (Lincoln Center, Guggenheim Museum, Park Avenue Armory, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Center for Performance Research, Performance Space New York, the High Line, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Rattlestick Theater, Kaufman Music Center, Museo del Barrio, the Tank NYC, Perelman Performing Arts Center (upcoming)), the United States (Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, New England Conservatory of Music, Theatreworks, Festival Flamenco Albuquerque, LA public libraries, Princeton), Spain (Museo Guggenheim Bilbao), and France (Cannes Film Festival). Alex has done concert lighting for Gilberto Santa Rosa, Tito Rodriguez Jr., the Westerlies, the Owls, and BTS (private event) and her assistant lighting designer credits include Public Obscenities (Soho Rep; lighting designer Barbara Samuels), 4000 Miles (Westport Country Playhouse; lighting designer Carolina Ortiz), Seagull (Elevator Repair Service; lighting designer Marika Kent), and The Antelope Party (Dutch Kills; lighting designer Cha See).

Alex holds a bachelor of fine arts in production design from Savannah College of Art and Design and is an alumna of the Wingspace Mentorship and Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas. She was a recipient of the Playwright Realm’s International Theatermakers Award (2021) and of the Wege Prize Circular Economy Design Competition (2015). Alex was a featured designer in the San Diego Rep’s Latinx New Play Festival 2020 and a commissioned artist for the Park Avenue Armory Sound & Color—The Future of Race in Design symposium (2022). Her website is alexvasquezdheming.com and her social is @alxvsquezdhming.

 

Mariana C. Fernandez

Mariana C. Fernandez, a set designer and scenic artist, and a native of Cordoba, Argentina, was raised in Buenos Aires. She finished her master in fine arts in set design at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she had the opportunity to work as set designer and scenic artist for several shows. In addition to the University of Massachusetts, she has worked at First Stage, NextStop, Imagination Stage, GALA Hispanic Theatre, Folger Theatre, Studio Theatre, Miniature Theatre of Chester, Spooky Action Theater, the Shakespeare Theatre, Signature Theatre, Atlas Performing Art Center, and the Clarice Smith Performing Art Center, Maryland University. She was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award in 2003 and received the Mark Joseph Award at Baltimore School for the Arts, where she has taught since 2008.

 

Michael Shane Flores

Michael Shane Flores is a graduate of the California State University, Fresno theatre program. Although graduating as an acting emphasis, he spent most of his time in college training to be a sound and lighting designer. He worked as the sound designer for University Theatre’s production of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley and for Elizabeth Started all the Trouble, a Zoom play adapted by Gina Sandi-Diaz. Michael was also a light designer for two years of University Theatre’s Contemporary Dance Ensemble productions and for the canceled production of Detroit ’67. Although the pandemic put most of his career plans on halt, Michael is ecstatic to be working on this year’s Colaboratorio. He is excited to spend a week learning new ways to work and collaborate with such a talented group of artists.

 

Blanca Forzán

Blanca Forzán is a lighting designer, set designer, and writer. Blanca has a degree in architecture from Del Valle de Mexico University, was an intern at Banff Center for Arts and Creativity (Canada), and worked with the National Institute of Fine Arts (Mexico City) for over two decades (Mexico City). Notables shows include Faust (Brooklyn Academy of Music) and Hamlet (Cádiz, Spain). Other credits include Bicycle Country (Aurora Theatre); An Octoroon, A Doll’s House, Part 2, La Ruta, and The Hombres (Artists Repertory Theatre); In the Next Room (Portland State University); Men on Boats and A Bright New Boise (Willamette University); Jump (Confrontation Theatre); Mother Courage and Ruined (Imago Theatre with Profile Theatre); The Measure of Innocence (Bag&Baggage); A Christmas Carol, Dia De Los Muertos, and Bella: An American Tall Tale (Portland Playhouse); In the Name of Forgotten Women (CoHo Productions); NEAT and Black Nativity (PassinArt); Blink (Third Rail Repertory Theatre); and El Huracán (GableStage).

 

Luis Garcia

Luis Garcia is a Peruvian American lighting and media designer who currently resides and works on Piscataway land, commonly known as College Park, Maryland. His work includes but is not limited to theatre, dance, digital, and other live performance art. Luis received his bachelor of arts in theatre arts from Stetson University in 2016 and is currently on track to receive his master of fine arts in theatre design from the University of Maryland by 2024. In 2018, Luis was chosen as one of Live Design’s 30 Under 30, which recognizes “thirty young movers and shakers who are changing paradigms, looking at things from new angles, and rapidly rising to the forefront of their field.” Some companies Luis has worked at include Studio Theatre, Repertorio Español, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and Vineyard Theatre.

Luis’s mission as an artist is to use everything he learns and earns in his life to act as a mirror to a younger BIPOC generation of artists who think they don’t fit in this world because their authentic selves aren’t represented on the big stage. He wants to remind them that it’s okay to be different. Luis is an alumni of the 2017 Oregon Shakespeare Festival FAIR program and the 2016 United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) Gateway Program.

 

Pedro L. Guevara

Pedro L. Guevara is a scenic designer and scenic artist based out of Louisiana, where he is currently the assistant professor of set design at Northwestern State University. Scenic design credits include Connecticut Repertory Theatre, AfterWork Theater, Stella Adler Studio, Harlem School of the Arts, Opera House Arts, Florida Studio Theatre, and the Public Theater of San Antonio. His work as a scenic artist has been seen at Atlantic Theater Company, Hartford Stage, and Connecticut Repertory Theatre. Pedro is a proud alum of the University of Connecticut MFA Scenic Design program.

 

Alejandro Melendez

Alejandro Melendez is a first-generation Latinx lighting designer. He is based in Los Angeles, working in theatre, opera, and art installations. His past projects include Roman and The Double for the Synchromy Opera Festival and The Rocky Horror Show for the disability-affirmative Phamaly Theatre Company. Alejandro will soon be starting his final year as a master of fine arts student at CalArts in the Experience Design and Production program in the School of Theater. Connect with Alejandro on Instagram at @wamelendez and see more of his work at wamelendez.design.

 

Susana Monreal

Susana Monreal is a professor of practice costume shop manager and technology at Texas Tech University. She attained her master of fine arts in costume technology at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas. She is an Association for Theatre in Higher Education member. She has worked at many great opera and theatre companies in the United States including the Los Angeles Opera; Elizabeth Courtney Costume; Santa Fe Opera; Utah Shakespeare Festival; Houston Alley; Shakespeare Festival in Boulder, Colorado; and Teatro Vivo. She has recently moved back to the States from Italy. For fifteen years she worked as a costume technician, a costume designer, and in wardrobe on set in film, and as a patternmaker for an Italian fashion company.

 

Laura Moreno

Laura Moreno (she/her/hers) is a multifaceted theatre artist and adminnistrator, known as an actor, director, dramaturg, costume designer, and producer in Houston, Texas. She is a graduate of the University of Houston, with a master in fine arts in theatre with emphasis in directing, dramaturgy, and Latinx theatre studies; a master of arts in arts leadership, with an emphasis in community engagement and a certificate in arts in health; and a bachelor of fine arts in acting. She has extensive knowledge and training in theatrical intimacy, mental health for artists, and cultural sensitivity. She’s completed artEquity’s Anti-Racist Facilitation training and Nicole Brewer’s Anti-Racist Theatre workshop, and was a cohort member of artEquity’s BIPOC Leadership Circle and Women of Color in the Arts (WOCA) Mentorship Program.

She is the founder of Women in Theatre – Houston, an organization that brings female-identifying theatre professionals together to network, lend support, and offer mentorship; ¡Qué Onda! - LatinX Theatre Collective, an open forum that elevates and celebrates Latinx artists, art, and opportunities. Laura is the chief representative for the Parent Artist Advocacy League (PAAL) Houston chapter and serves as the national chief rep coordinator. She is the co-founder and artistic director of Beans & Rice Media Arts, which focuses on archival art, documentaries, interview series, podcasts, and short films. She is a member of the Latinc Theatre Commons steering committee and an advisory member for the El Zócalo for the Alley Theatre, Advocates of a Latino Museum of Cultural and Visual Arts & Archive Complex in Houston, Harris County, and Sin Muros Latinx Theatre Festival.

Laura is the 2022–2023 Project Freeway fellow for DiverseWorks. She’s directed, assistant directed, costumed, and dramaturged a number of productions in Houston and has produced a number of festivals including University of Houston’s Edward Albee Reading Festival. Recently her Alley@Home project Professor Blume’s Last Odyssey was released for streaming and can be found on YouTube. She’s also the momma to a four-year-old named Izzy.

 

Noel Nichols

Noel Nichols (they/she) is a sound designer with roots in Phoenix, Arizona and New York City. They work most frequently with design collective UptownWorks to design sound for theatre, film, and new media and continue to work regionally while in residence at University of Southern California. Select sound design highlights with UptownWorks include the ripple, the wave that carried me home (Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Goodman Theatre), Which Way to the Stage (Signature DC), Today is My Birthday (Yale Repertory Theatre), First Down (Noor Theatre), Sidewalk Echoes (En Garde Arts), Nightwatch (Dorset Theatre Festival), and The Masses Are Asses (Wesleyan CFA). Other designs include Mojada (Indy Shakes), Fade (Audible), Fun Home (Yale School of Drama), Media Clown (University of Iowa), Tomás and the Library Lady and Memory House (Lake Dillon Theatre Company), Latinos Who Look Like Ricky Martin (Verano Cabaret), and Counting Pebbles (Faultline Ensemble). They have a master of fine arts in sound design from Yale School of Drama. Their website is noelnicholsdesign.com.

 

Eme Ospina-López

Eme Ospina-López (they/él) is an artivist and projections designer, born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. Eme is a passionate collaborator exploring transdisciplinary and unexpected approaches to storytelling, videography, and technology to produce impactful live performance experiences in all scales. Member of La Compañía Estable since 2015, Eme had the chance to start their career working in major theatre houses and outdoor stages for opera festivals in Bogotá and Manaus, Brazil. They have been part of the productions of The Magic Flute, Candide, Dido and Aeneas, María de Buenos Aires, Florencia en el Amazonas, and Tosca. For music and dance performance, they have collaborated with Cimarrón Joropo Ensemble, to create their touring live show, and United States–based choreographers Roxane D’Orléans Juste, Laura Chiaramonte, Abby Williams Chin, and Dr. C. Kemal Nance.

Eme is receiving their master of fine arts in media design at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in May 2023. At the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Eme designed for Pshitter! A Drinking Song for the Year of Our Lord 2020, Great Scenes from American Kitchen Sink Theatre, the musical Fun Home, and devised new work The Joy of Regathering. Moved by a deep commitment to theatre as a device for social change and belonging, they have collaborated with INNER VOICES Social Issues Theatre, the Station Theatre, Chicago Latino Theater Alliance, and PrideArts. Eme has been awarded with the Michael Philippi Prize for Best Exhibit at the Merritt Awards 2023 and the John Spiegel Theatrical Artist Award 2023. Their website is emedemomento.wixsite.com/portfolio.

 

Ash Parra

Ash Parra (they/she) is a Latine, designer, and technician who has worked at the University of St. Thomas, University of Houston-Downtown, Island ETC, St. Johns School, HITS Theatre, Queensbury Theatre, Generations A/V, STAGES, and MATCH. In addition to freelancing, Ash is the production coordinator for TEATRX, a Latinx theatre company in Houston, Texas. Within their work they explore themes of culture, gender, and sexuality that reflect their personal narrative. It is important for them to pursue stories, plays, and projects that reflect their culture. Their insistence on culture is a way to resist, preserve, and educate on their oral histories, cultural traditions, ancestors, and customs. Outside of theatre Ash finds inspiration through film photography, ceramics, and nature walks.

 

Daniel Pinha

Daniel Pinha is a scenic designer with a passion for creating immersive environments that enhance the storytelling experience. Originally from Brazil, Daniel moved to the United States in 2006 after earning his degree in scenic design from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. In Brazil he worked extensively in theatre, film, and television. In the United States Daniel earned a master of fine arts degree from the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies at the University of Maryland. Since then, he has designed for a range of theatre companies and artistic projects, including internationally. Daniel’s artistic exploration centers on how spaces, environments, and objects can be integrated into the dramaturgical and devising process. He is fascinated by the ways in which we interact as human beings, and he seeks to create work that highlights the beauty of those interactions.

Daniel’s processes have led to several important collaborations. For example, he worked with renowned photographer Carrie Mae Weems to create a multimedia art installation at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. In Brazil, he collaborated with the Oscar-nominated actress Fernanda Montenegro to create the set design for the recent show Nelson Rodrigues Por Ele Mesmo and the graphic design project for the book Fernanda Montenegro: Itinerário Fotobiográfico. Daniel is also a faculty member in the Department of Visual & Performing Arts at Loyola University Maryland.

Luzet Romo

Luzet Romo (he/him) is a trans and Latine costume designer from Nogales, Arizona and Mexico, but currently resides in Tempe, Arizona. His work as a costume designer focuses on expressing narratives that bring awareness to current issues that affect marginalized communities as well as complex topics that people may be uncomfortable addressing. He also finds it important that his work incorporates his own identities and experiences. In terms of creating the garments themselves, he reduces as much waste as possible through the process of upcycling. Outside of costume design, Luzet enjoys multiple activities such as creating cosplay, singing and guitar playing, ice skating, and honestly anything that would seem fun or challenging to try.

 

Azaria Jade Rubio

Azaria Jade Rubio is a recent graduate from Shenandoah University earning a bachelor of fine arts in theatre design and technology emphasizing in costume design. She is currently working as a costume apprentice at the Santa Fe Opera. She is very excited to be taking the next step in her career and continue to find ways to make meaningful art.

 

Jesse J. Sanchez

Jesse J. Sanchez is a writer, composer, and music director. Jesse’s a sought-after collaborator in theatre, opera, TV, and film. He’s currently in residence as resident music supervisor for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Jesse was most recently in residence at the Johnny Mercer Writers Grove at Goodspeed Musicals. Jesse was a recipient of the NAMT Frank Young development grant for his musical Sueños: Our American Musical. In 2018, Sanchez was named on American Theatre magazine’s “people to watch” list. His operas and musicals have been performed or developed at the Goodspeed Johnny Mercer Writers Grove, Boston Lyric Opera, New York Theatre Barn, Arizona Theatre Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the 24 Hour Plays, Arizona State University, and New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. As a composer, orchestrator, and arranger, his works have been heard at Long Wharf, the 24 Hour Plays, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Arizona Theatre Company, Huntington Theatre Company, Hartford Stage, Alley Theatre, and University of Texas at Austin, among others.

 

Efrain Schunior

Efrain Schunior is a queer director/producer living and working in Los Angeles. He received his bachelor of arts in theatre from New Mexico State University and his master of fine arts in directing from University of California, Los Angeles. He runs the theatre program at a Place Called Home in South Central Los Angeles, where he created and developed South Central’s first-ever Latine theatre festival, El Centro del Sur, now in its third year.

 

Frank J. Oliva

Frank J. Oliva is an award-winning Cuban American stage designer. Born and raised in Miami, he now lives and works in New York City. His recent projects include world premieres and new productions with the Shed, Ars Nova, Cherry Lane Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, Geva Theatre, Miami New Drama, Area Stage Company, GableStage, Clubbed Thumb, Weston Playhouse, Two River Theater, and the Cincinnati Symphony, among others. Frank was associate designer on the recent Broadway productions of The Collaboration, Death of a Salesman, Oklahoma!, West Side Story, and Hangmen. He was also the theatre designer for Marriage Story. Frank is the recipient of the Silver Palm Award and an Innovative Theatre Award for stage design, and was nominated for Audelco and Carbonell awards. His designs have been featured in the American exhibit at the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space. He is a member of Wingspace Theatrical Design, member of United Scenic Artists, and proud graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Frank loves to cook in his spare time and is currently learning Italian. His website is frankjoliva.com.

 

Dominique Zaragoza

Dominique Zaragoza is a Chicana scenic designer. She holds a bachelor of arts from Columbia College Chicago and is finishing up a master of arts at the University of Florida. Her recent credits include Yemaya’s Belly and Marisol at the University of Florida. Dominique enjoys creating immersive spaces for underrepresented communities to tell their stories. After graduation she plans to move back to her home town, San Antonio, Texas, to create art with likeminded individuals who share her vision for Chicano theatre and community engagement. Dominique is extremely grateful to share this exciting opportunity with everyone.

 

SCHOLARS/DOCUMENTARIANS

Carla Della Gatta

Carla Della Gatta is a theatre historian and performance theorist whose research focuses on ethnicity, aurality, and gender and sexuality. She is author of Latinx Shakespeares: Staging U.S. Intracultural Theater (2023) and co-editor with Trevor Boffone of Shakespeare and Latinidad (2021). She built and maintains the first online living archive of Latinx theatrical adaptation, latinxshakespeares.org.

Carla is currently assistant professor of English at Florida State University. Her work has been published in collections as well as in journals such as Shakespeare Survey, Shakespeare Studies, Bulletin of the Comediantes, Shakespeare Bulletin, and Theatre Journal. She has written various entries for the forthcoming Stanford Global Shakespeare Encyclopedia and has published essays online on HowlRound. She has worked as a scholar for the theatre for Shakespeare Center Los Angeles, the Public Theater, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and Victory Gardens Theater.

She is the recipient of a Woodrow Wilson (now Citizens and Scholars) Career Enhancement Fellowship, two Folger Shakespeare Library fellowships, and the Shakespeare Association of America’s J. Leeds Barroll Dissertation Prize. Carla has served on the governing council for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE). She is on the editorial and advisory boards of journals Shakespeare Survey and Teatro: Revista de Estudios Culturales, and for the Arden series on Shakespeare and social justice.

 

Mateo Hernandez

Mateo Hernandez (they/he) is a queer, Latinx theatremaker, applied theatre practitioner, pedagogue, and scholar currently residing on the ancestral lands of the Tonkawa, Lipan-Apache, Karankawa, Comanche, and Coahuiltecan people, also known as Central Texas. They are a master of fine arts candidate in drama and theatre for youth communities at the University of Texas at Austin where their research interests include queering pedagogies and performance through transgender epistemologies and queer feminist abolitionist practices in art-making. They have worked with companies such as Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Filament Theatre, UrbanTheater Company, Teatro Vivo, Cara Mía Theatre, Chicago Children’s Theatre, and more. As a playwright, their plays have been selected for readings with the INGENIO New Play Festival (Milagro Theatre) and Austin Latinx New Play Festival (Teatro Vivo). Mateo is also a company member with FYI (For Youth Inquiry) a performance company in Chicago, Illinois making participatory theatre around issues of reproductive justice. They hold a bachelor of fine arts in theatre education from the University of Texas at Austin.

 

Dolissa Medina

Dolissa Medina is a filmmaker, writer, and organizer from the borderlands of South Texas. Exploring themes of belonging and home, her experimental documentaries draw from journalism, found-footage practice, and essay film traditions to interrogate how legacies of collective traumas contribute to experiences of place. Often engaged in queer world-mending through mythology, folklore, and confrontations with mortality, Dolissa’s films have screened at venues including International Film Festival Rotterdam, Mexico City’s Palacio de Bellas Artes, and Chicago’s National Museum of Mexican Art. A Fulbright fellow, Dolissa has received support from the San Francisco Arts Commission, LEF, Puffin Foundation, and others. Her writing has appeared in Film Quarterly, the Moving Image, INCITE Journal of Experimental Media, and the anthology Southwestern Women: New Voices. Her background includes house managing at several San Francisco theatres such as Theatre Rhinoceros, Project Artaud, and the Marsh.

Dolissa is currently in production on her first feature, a personal documentary weaving 1980s history with a contemporary portrait of her hometown of Brownsville, Texas, a contested axis of migration and experimental rockets to Mars. She is also founder of Grito Viejito, an interdisciplinary artist collective using a Mexican folk dance to stage dialogues around health, HIV histories, and queer futures. The project’s first video, commissioned by Visual AIDS, will premiere on World AIDS Day’s Day With(out) Art 2023 in more than one hundred venues, including the Whitney. Dolissa holds a bachelor of arts in journalism from San Francisco State University and an master of fine arts in visual art from University of California San Diego.

 

Carl(os) Roa

Carl(os) Roa (they/them) is an interdisciplinary artist and storyteller, juicy Colombian bear, and effusive Miami transplant. A proud alumni of the Headlong Performance Institute and Drexel University, (os)’s work explores the marginalized within the marginalized and alternative communities living alternative lives. They’ve worked with numerous artistic organizations in Philadelphia including the Wilma Theater, Taller Puertorriqueño, First Person Arts, Philadelphia Artists’ Collective, Philadelphia Young Playwrights, and Swim Pony Performing Arts. They are currently the program manager for the Painted Bride and a contributing writer for HowlRound Theatre Commons and American Theatre magazine—three organizations that they are honored to be associated with. They are also a graduate of the Foundry, a playwriting group affiliated with PlayPenn that is guided by the mentorship of R. Eric Thomas and L. M. Feldman.

Previous projects include From Beneath, It Lurks, a devised play they wrote exploring Lovecraftian horror; Andean Mountains (Montañas Andinas), which was the recipient of FringeArts’s inaugural Camp Fringe residency program and received its world premiere at Taller Puertorriqueño; and Spanish for Estranged Latin Kids, made in collaboration with Cat Ramirez and Mariadela Belle Alvarez. They were a finalist for the Latinx Theatre Commons’ Carnaval of New Latinx Work and they’ve collaborated with director Blanka Zizka and playwright Christopher Chen on the world premiere production of Passage at the Wilma Theater. In 2022, they were a finalist for the Terrence McNally Award and received an Illuminate the Arts grant from the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy.

 

Daphnie Sicre

Daphnie Sicre, PhD (she/ella), is a multihyphenate theatre artist. She is a director/dramaturge/scholar/educator who shares a deep passion for Black and Latinx perspectives in theatre, especially AfroLatinidad. Engaging in anti-racist and culturally competent theatre practices, she helps bring stories from the page to the stage. Her latest publication is a book chapter in Stages of Reckoning: Antiracist and Decolonial Actor Training. Other publications include a peer-reviewed article in Theatre Symposium, “Being Black and Latinx in Theatre Today,” and the co-published “Training theatre students of colour in the United States” in Theatre, Dance and Performance Training. She has contributed book chapters to The Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance, Black Acting Methods, and Shakespeare and Latinidad. Upcoming book chapters for 2023 will appear in Contemporary Black Theatre & Performance: Acts of Rebellion, Activism, and Solidarity. Currently she is working on two book chapters on AfroLatinidad for The Routledge Companion Latinx Theatre and Performance and Every Great Dream: Visioning African American Theatre for Young Audiences. She is also the resident dramaturg at the Robey Theatre, where she runs the Playwright’s Lab, as well as is culture consultant for Nickelodeon, having worked on the Emmy-nominated Santiago of the Seas, The Face, and the upcoming film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

 

Linnea Christina Valdivia

Linnea Christina Valdivia (she/they) is a bicoastal scholar and theatre practitioner. Her specialties include developmental dramaturgy, queer theatre, and theatre history. They have artistic credits at the Lark, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, National Queer Theater, Curious Theatre, Art House Productions, Playwrights Realm, and New Dramatists. Linnea is most interested in supporting and creating spaces for new work that reimagine popular cultural narratives, challenge American folklore, and explore histories that have undergone relentless historical erasure.

 

AnaSofía Villanueva

AnaSofía Villanueva is a freelance producer, director, writer, and activist. AnaSofía is the former director of impact and engagement at Playwrights’ Center and director of creative and civic partnerships at Artists Repertory Theatre. She was the artistic associate at History Theatre and regularly directed and facilitated equity, diversity, and inclusion discussions for Pillsbury House Theatre’s Breaking Ice Program. She has directed at Public Playhouse, Cornerstone Theater Troupe, and the University of Minnesota/Guthrie bachelor of fine arts program, and has assistant directed at Mixed Blood Theatre and the Guthrie Theatre. AnaSofía has received staged readings at Artists Repertory Theatre, Teatro Milagro, and Mixed Blood Theatre. AnaSofía has published articles for American Theatre magazine and StarTribune, and authored the Power Dynamics Series: From a Mixed-Race Latina’s Perspective for MinnesotaPlaylist. For more information about AnaSofía, please visit her website at anasofia.me, and to read her publications, please visit mixedracelatina.com.

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