Coya Paz Brownrigg is a writer, director, scholar and arts administrator with a deep commitment to racial and economic equity in the arts.

Why you should listen

Coya Paz Brownrigg specializes in co-created performance and applied theater. She is the Artistic Director of the historic Free Street Theater in Chicago, whose mission is to create original performance by, for, about, with and in Chicago's historically divested communities. She is the co-author of Ensemble-Made Performance: A Guide to Devised Theater

Paz Brownrigg is the Interim Dean of The Theatre School at DePaul University and teaches classes in directing, history and community-engaged performance for the Theatre Studies program. She holds a PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, where her graduate research focused on intersections between public violence and performance, and she is particularly interested in ghost stories as cultural archives.

She also researches economic disparity and the arts in Chicago, and is an advocate for neighborhood-based arts, particularly on the South and West sides of the city. She serves on a wide-variety of advisory and advocacy boards focused on racial and geographic equity, and does organizational consulting via Free Street Talks.

Above all, she believes in the power of performance and poetry to build community towards social change.

Coya Paz Brownrigg’s TED talk