The Theatre School > About > Faculty & Staff > Theatre Studies > Coya Paz Brownrigg
Coya is a writer, director, scholar, and arts administrator with a deep commitment to racial and economic equity in the arts. She specializes in co-created performance and applied theater, and 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, with Chloe Johnston, of Ensemble-Made Performance: A Guide to Devised Theater.
Coya has been faculty at The Theatre School since 2008, and teaches classes in directing, history, and community-engaged performance for the Theatre Studies program. Before taking on the role of Interim Dean during the 2021-2022 school year, she served as Associate Dean for Curriculum and Instruction. Coya 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. Coya 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, Coya believes in the power of performance and poetry to build community towards social change.