Coya Paz is a poet, director, and lip gloss connoisseur who was raised in Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil before moving permanently to the United States in 1987. Coya is the Artistic Director of Free Street Theatre, and the Lead Artist for the Poetry Performance Incubator at the Guild Complex. She is also a founding member of Proyecto Latina, and the co-founder of Teatro Luna, where she served as co-Artistic Director from 2000-2009. Recent projects include:
Tempest, about the banning of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest in Arizona schools, Unnatural Spaces, a performance about environmental justice; The Americans, based on conversations with 200 people in 10 states; Fa$hion, an adaptation of Anna Cora Mowatt’s play Fashion; Nation of Cowards, a multi-sited performance piece about interracial dialogue; Tour Guides; and Machos, which won the 2008 Non-Equity Jeff Awards for Best New Work and Outstanding Ensemble. Upcoming projects include Like Bread, a multigenerational piece about the role of art in activism, and the tour of her solo show, Coya Paz is Not _______. Coya is an Assistant Professor in The Theatre School at DePaul University, and holds a PhD in Performance Studies at Northwestern University. She is a regular commentator on race, media and pop culture for Vocalo.org (89.5) and has published several articles on Latina performance, Latina/o identities, and public violence. Her artistic work has been profiled in The New York Times, American Theater Magazine, Theater Journal, and the Chicago Tribune, among others. She has been a featured reader at dozens of literary events including: Proyecto Latina, Paper Machete, Palabra Pura, Revolving Door, and 2nd Story. Coya was named one of UR Magazine’s 30 Under 30 (when she was under 30!), a GO-NYC Magazine 100 Women We Love, and received a Trailblazer Award for her service to LGBTQ communities. Above all, she believes in the power of performance and poetry to build community towards social change.