TCG Launches New Round of Rising Leaders of Color Program

By Emilya Cachapero posted 05-10-2021 10:01


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 10, 2021         PRESS CONTACTS:  Corinna Schulenburg | | 212-609-5941

Theatre Communications Group Launches New Round of 
Rising Leaders of Color Program
Cohort includes NYC-based leaders in various theatre disciplines

New York, NY – Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, is pleased to announce the participants in the sixth round of its Rising Leaders of Color (RLC) Program. The participants will form a cohort of eight highly talented early-career BIPOC leaders based in New York City boroughs who are advancing their careers in the U.S. not-for-profit theatre and related sectors, are committed to advancing an equitable theatre field, and demonstrate strong potential to become change agents impacting the field in a significant way. The program is supported in part by the Howard Gilman Foundation, an organization supporting performing arts organizations in New York City

“We’re thrilled to welcome this next cohort into an ever-growing intergenerational network of BIPOC leaders,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director of TCG. “As our field enters an unprecedented period of reopening, rehiring, and renewal, our theatre ecology must center BIPOC leadership and make the most of the transformational opportunities ahead of us.”

The members of the new cohort are:

Zi Alikhan (He/Him, New York, NY) is a queer, first-generation South Asian-American, culturally Muslim theatre director, educator, and leader. Zi is currently the inaugural Artistic Directing Fellow at Artists Repertory Theatre, where he serves as the first Director of DNA: Oxygen, an affinity space and creative hub dedicated to the development and production of new work generated by, led by, and featuring artists of color. DIRECTING: Manik Choksi’s The Ramayan (currently in development at Ars Nova), Ragtime (Playmakers Rep), Lady Apsara (filmed for Prospect Theatre Co), The Flick and Red Speedo (Juilliard), and development at Playwrights Horizons, LCT3, New York Stage and Film, and The Playwrights Realm. RESIDENT/ASSOCIATE: Hamilton, The Band’s Visit, The Rose Tattoo, and Six Degrees of Separation. ALUM: Drama League Directors Project, Soho Rep Lab, Ars Nova Makers Lab, MTC Alper Fellowship, NYU/Tisch. UPCOMING: The Great Leap with Portland Center Stage and Artists Rep. 

Sivan Battat (She/They, New York, NY) is an Iraqi-Jewish theatre director & community organizer. Sivan’s work is across genres - in the theatre, in community, in ritual celebration, and beyond. They create work that leans into multiplicity and resists cultural erasure, exploring displacement across immigrant experiences, asking questions about nostalgia and home. Recent projects include: Layalina (National Queer Theater), The Night Traveller (Cutting Ball Theater), Coexistence My Ass (Harvard University/Tour), Baba Karam, McArabia (Atlantic Middle Eastern Mixfest), East o’, West o’! (ANTFest, Ars Nova). Fellowships/Residencies: Roundabout Theatre Company (Directing Fellow), Drama League (Leo Shull Musical Directing Fellow), NYTW (Adelphi Residency), National Queer Theater (Mount Tremper Arts Residency), 14th Street Y (LABA Fellowship), Studio Theatre (Artistic Apprentice). Sivan works with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) specifically organizing Mizrahi & Sephardi Jews, and ritual events. Sivan has curated several iterations of Salon Al-Mahjar صالون المهجر, a performance salon for queer & trans MENASA artists, leads ancestral storytelling workshops, and serves on the board with Ammud: the Jews of Color Torah Academy. Sivan seeks to bridge justice work and cultural work, bringing the power of performance to our movements, and the vision of movement work to our theaters. 

Adam Coy (He/Him, New York, NY) is a Tejano director, curator of vibes (producer), and actor based in New York City, originally from San Antonio. He currently serves on The Fled’s leadership circle and is the Associate Artistic Director of The Egg & Spoon Theatre Collective. Recent Directing: The Aliens (Syracuse University), You Don’t Deserve to Die (Invited Dress Podcast), Zabelle, Crave (E&S). SDC Foundation Observer: Mojada (Chay Yew, The Public Theater).  Acting: The Fre, Southern Promises, Fill,Fill,Fill,Fill,Fill,Fill,Fill (The Flea); Lilia (New Dramatists), Romeo and Juliet (Westport Country Playhouse), Young Playwrights Project (Chautauqua Theater Company). Adam is a member of Theater Producers of Color: Producing 101 inaugural cohort, the 2018-19 SDC Foundation Observership Class, and an SDC Associate Member. BFA in Acting, Syracuse University. Upcoming Projects: Egg & Spoon's Incubation Series and Chopp it Up with Chef John Capers.

Rebecca Martinez (She/Her, Brooklyn, NY) is an award-winning director and choreographer, ensemble member of Sojourn Theatre and the BOLD Associate Artistic Director of WP Theater. Affiliations: Sol Project Collective, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, INTAR’s Unit52, SDCF Observer, Latinx Theatre Commons Advisory Committee, 2019 Audrey Resident, New Georges Affiliated Artist, 2018-2020 WP Lab, 2017 Drama League Directing Fellow, Member of SDC, and artist with Center for Performance and Civic Practice. She is the recipient of two Drammy Awards for Outstanding Choreography (Portland, Oregon), a Henry Award for Outstanding Direction (Colorado) and the Lilla Jewel Award for Women Artists. Rebecca is based in Lenapehoking aka Brooklyn, NY, and originally from the lands of the Arapaho, Cheyenne and Ute peoples aka Denver, Colorado with deep ancestral roots in the Southwest. 

Liz Morgan (She/Her, Bronx, NY) is the Director of Training & Pedagogy at Theatre of the Oppressed NYC where she facilitates creative advocacy work and trains practitioners all over the world in social justice theatre techniques. Her original work includes Deliver: Letters to the Motherland from a Foreign Body (Kilroys Honorable Mention) and The Clark Doll which was featured at the Deep Water Literary Festival and nominated for a Drammy Award in the category of Best Original Script after its premiere. Other theatrical honors include the 2017 Torchbearer for Black Theatre Award, Playwrights Realm Writing Fellowship (Semi-Finalist) and the New Works Lab at Stratford (Semi-Finalist). Before leaving to help form “The Fled,” a collective rooted in anti-racist values, Liz was also a resident writer at The Flea. Her acting credits range from Hollywood film to experimental theatre and include her performance with Ntozake Shange on the legend’s choreopoem, Lost in Language and Sound. She is proud to have served on A.R.T./New York’s Body Autonomy Leadership Council and looks forward to collaborating more with her classmates from Columbia Law & Broadway Advocacy Coalition’s Theatre of Change program. MFA: Brown/Trinity Rep Acting. 

Rudy Ramirez (They/Them, Brooklyn, NY) is a Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist, arts educator, and facilitator. They are presently a Consulting Director of Antiracism Initiatives for Theatre for Young Audiences/USA. Rudy is also a current teaching artist with Ping Chong + Co, and has served similarly at other organizations like Seattle Children’s Theatre, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Childsplay, and others. Recently, they were a founding member of the BIPOC in TYA Advisory Board and project curator for ANTI-RACIST & ANTI-OPPRESSIVE FUTURES FOR THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES: AN INTERACTIVE GUIDE. They are a member of Actors' Equity and have performed both regionally and on national tours. Rudy believes in the transformative power of art, theatre, and storytelling. They live and create and dream on unceded Lenape Land. 

Danica Rodriguez (She/Her, New York, NY) is a New York casting director & theatermaker who is dedicated to centering & celebrating the voices of the global majority. Danica has worked at Marc Hirschfeld Casting, Warner Brothers Television Casting NY and most recently The Public Theater’s casting department, under Jordan Thaler & Heidi Griffiths. Danica’s core values of generosity & equity led her to her role as trainer & educator for Broadway for Racial Justice’s Casting Directive. As a proud Puerto Rican & Mexican-American woman, she believes inclusivity is a radical act and chooses to uplift the voices of BIPOC, Trans folks & Queer artists. Danica has also taken on projects connected to Netflix, LALIFF, & The Civilians, bringing her keen eye to a multitude of artistic mediums. As a freelance casting director, she has been invited to speak at The Playwrights Realm & Roundabout Theater Company. Danica holds a Bachelor of Arts with distinction in Film & Media Studies from Dartmouth College. 

Gaven Trinidad (He/Him/Siya, New York, NY) is a first generation Filipinx American theatremaker, illustrator, and educator from NYC. His artistic work examines the intersections of race, language, immigration, queerness, ritual, community, and futurity. He taught undergraduate courses on the work of contemporary BIPOC playwrights at the University of Massachusetts Amherst under the mentorship of Dr. Priscilla Page. He continues to teach social justice and intergenerational theatre as a member of the Education Team at New York Theatre Workshop. He's had the privilege to collaborate with folx in various positions at places such as The Juilliard Drama Division, Musical Theatre Factory, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, and National Queer Theater. Selected dramaturgy credits: PreP Play, or Blue Parachute (National Queer Theater), June is the First Fall (Yantze Repertory Theater), Collidescope 2.0 (Ping Chong + Company). Directing credits: Joker (National Queer Theater), Are You There Truman? (Pride Plays, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater). Upcoming: Sa Aming Puso (Global Forms Theatre Festival, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, New York Theatre Salon). B.A. American Studies, Dickinson College; M.F.A. Dramaturgy + Graduate Certificate in Woman, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Proud former public-school teacher in Memphis, TN. He is the Community Engagement Associate at New York Theatre Workshop.

The 2021 RLC Program will combine practical skills building with professional connections and opportunities to develop empowering relationships, as well as tools and resources to navigate a career in the theatre field as a BIPOC leader. Activities include:

  • Workshops throughout the year designed to strengthen the participants’ leadership skills, provide a catalyst for personal growth, and to inform participants of the current state of the field;
  • Regular all-cohort meetings;
  • Introductions to individually identified thought partners;
  • Individual coaching sessions with specialists and TCG staff; and
  • Access to veteran leaders of the field and a national network of peers.

Due to continuing health and safety restrictions, program activities will take place online and span from May 2021 through June 2022.

"We are thrilled to launch the sixth round of the Rising Leaders of Color program.” said Emilya Cachapero, director of artistic & international programs. “ More than ever, as this country wrestles with its legacy of racism and inaction, it is essential to uplift and support BIPOC leaders who have exhibited their commitment to creating a more just society. The 44 alumni of the program have already made impactful contributions to the theatre field and their communities We look forward to identifying a new cohort who will undoubtedly be at the forefront of shaping our theatre field’s future, especially as our field begins to plan for reopening.”

The new round of RLC recipients are based in New York City. The program builds on learnings from past programs in Washington, DC (2016), Portland, OR (2017), St. Louis, MO (2018), Miami, FL (2019), and New York (2020) and has also included a theatre criticism/journalism track in past iterations. This cohort will participate in a year-long curriculum designed to provide professional development, mentorship and networking opportunities. RLC is part of TCG’s commitment to changing the face of theatre by nurturing and supporting an intergenerational network of leaders who are committed to transforming the field into a more equitable, inclusive, and diverse community. To learn more about the program, please visit:

Rising Leaders of Color 2021 is supported in part by the Howard Gilman Foundation. Support for alumni activities is supported in part by Hearst Foundations and Walt Disney Imagineering.

Howard Gilman believed in the power of the arts to transform lives. The Howard Gilman Foundation honors his legacy by supporting the most robust, innovative, and promising performing arts organizations in New York City. 

The Hearst Foundations are national philanthropic resources for organizations and institutions working in the fields of Education, Health, Culture and Social Service. The goal of the Foundations is to ensure that people of all backgrounds have the opportunity to build healthy, productive and inspiring lives. The charitable goals of the Foundations reflect the philanthropic interests of William Randolph Hearst.

Walt Disney Imagineering is the creative engine that designs and builds all Disney theme parks, resorts, attractions, and cruise ships worldwide, and oversees the creative aspects of Disney games, merchandise product development, and publishing businesses.

Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, leads for a just and thriving theatre ecology. Since its founding in 1961, TCG’s constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to over 700 Member Theatres and affiliate organizations and over 7,000 Individual Members. Through its programs and services, TCG reaches over one million students, audience members, and theatre professionals each year. TCG offers networking and knowledge-building opportunities through research, communications, and events, including the annual TCG National Conference, one of the largest nationwide gatherings of theatre people; awards grants and scholarships to theatre companies and individual artists; advocates on the federal level; and through the Global Theater Initiative, TCG's partnership with the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute. TCG is North America’s largest independent trade publisher of dramatic literature, with 18 Pulitzer Prizes for Drama on the TCG booklist. It also publishes the award-winning American Theatre magazine and ARTSEARCH®, the essential source for a career in the arts. TCG believes its vision of “a better world for theatre, and a better world because of theatre” can be achieved through individual and collective action, adaptive and responsive leadership, and equitable representation in all areas of practice. TCG is led by executive director and CEO Teresa Eyring and deputy director and COO Adrian Budhu. 

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