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Coya Paz is a writer, director, and lip gloss connoisseur who was raised in Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, and the United States. She is the artistic director of Free Street Theater, a cofounder of the Proyecto Latina collective, and served as the founding co-artistic director of Teatro Luna for nine years. As a theater-maker, Paz specializes in cocreated and devised performance. Recent projects include a journalism collaboration with ProPublica Illinois and 100 Hauntings, a play about Chicago’s ghosts. She is currently at work on Still/Here: A Manifesto for Survival, an epic performance which will tour to all 50 wards of Chicago and mark Free Street Theater’s 50th year of performing in public spaces.
Paz is an associate professor in The Theatre School at DePaul University, where she is the chair of the Theatre Studies department. Paz holds a PhD in performance studies from Northwestern University. She is the coauthor, with Chloe Johnston, of Ensemble-Made Chicago: A Guide to Devised Theater and her writing is featured in the following anthologies: Blacktino Queer Performance, Windy City Queer: LGBTQ Dispatches from the Third Coast, Rebeldes: A Proyecto Latina Anthology, and Sexualities in Education: A Reader. Paz is a frequent commentator on race, politics, and pop culture for Vocalo.org, and has been a featured reader at dozens of literary events including: Proyecto Latina, The Paper Machete, Palabra Pura, and 2nd Story. Above all, she believes in the power of performance and poetry to build community towards social change.