As we make a return to live performance and NYTW staff heads back to our offices, we are proud to announce the Fellows that will be joining us this September as part of the 2050 Administrative Fellowship for the 2021/22 Season.
“This vital program has been a tremendous source of talent and energy in our community over the last several years. While ultimately the right call, it was a painful decision to forgo having a new cohort of Fellows last year, and their absence was deeply felt. We could not be more excited to be welcoming these eight talented young people to the Workshop in September!” said Artistic Director James C. Nicola and Managing Director Jeremy Blocker.
The 2050 Administrative Fellowship—a sister program to our successful 2050 Artistic Fellowship—represents one of several NYTW initiatives to address the economic barriers that may prevent talented individuals from pursuing careers in the theatre.
The Fellowship is named in celebration of the U.S. Census Bureau’s projection that by the year 2050, there will be no single racial or ethnic majority in the United States. This projection provokes thoughts at New York Theatre Workshop about the transformations that will take place in our society and are a catalyst for broader questions about the direction of the American theatre. But, we’re not waiting for the year 2050 to make the change we wish to see. Instead, we’re working to reflect our evolving and beautifully diversifying society now—to ensure there’s space for those who will lead us into the future to build the skills they need now.
Administrative Fellows receive a yearlong paid part-time fellowship in a field of interest, plus an additional monthly stipend, attend monthly seminars and networking events with professionals in the field, and participate in specialized career-development training among other opportunities. In turn, Fellows take on significant responsibilities across all departments of the institution, including day-to-day tasks and long-term collaborative and individual projects. Past graduates of the program have gone on to pursue full-time and freelance careers in the arts and creative industries in New York City and beyond.
The 2021/22 Season cohort of 2050 Administrative Fellows includes:
Obed De la Cruz, Artistic Fellow (he/him/his)
Obed De la Cruz is a Puerto Rican-Dominican playwright, composer, director, and performer who has finally made the move to New York from Dallas, Texas. Obed graduated from Stanford University in 2021, where he studied Theater and Performance Studies with a theater-making concentration. During his senior year at Stanford, Obed composed and directed his first full-length project, La Llorona: A Horror Musical, as his capstone. Just a few months prior, his musical Monster on the Lawn received top prize at NAMT’s 15 Minute Musical Challenge and was produced as part of the Beck Center for the Arts’ 15×5 Festival of New Musicals. Obed has previously interned at two other off-Broadway theaters (MCC Theater, The Public Theater) and is incredibly excited to immerse himself in the world and vision of NYTW.
Taji Senior, Artistic Fellow (she/her/hers)
Taji Senior is mostly just trying to figure it all out. She is an actor, writer and sometimes dramaturg. Most of her work is centered on Blackness as an impossibility, which is to ask: what does it mean to build an existence in flight and fugitivity? She is deeply curious about you, about the world around her and what we do now that we’re all here. She holds a BA in Journalism from Texas Tech University and an MFA in Acting from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television. www.tajisenior.com
Bernadette Norman, Development Fellow (she/her/hers)
Bernadette Norman is very excited to begin her career in arts administration. She grew up in Massachusetts and has loved the performing arts from a young age, but hadn’t considered pursuing a career in this industry. Throughout high school and college she followed her passion for learning languages and traveling, but during her senior year of college she realized that she actually wanted to work in the arts. After graduating from Mount Holyoke College in 2018, she moved to New York City where she has been working at a translation company. In her free time, she has attended many shows and concerts and has volunteered at several theater organizations including Amas Musical Theatre, The Drama League, and The New York Pops. Over the past year, Bernadette has also grown more passionate about arts advocacy and recently participated in the National Arts Action Summit in April. She is grateful for this Fellowship opportunity at NYTW and is very much looking forward to gaining more experience in arts administration while helping to make it a more diverse, inclusive, equitable and anti-racist field.
Nia Smith, Education & Engagement Fellow (she/her/hers)
Nia Nicole Smith is a theater artist and educator hailing from the DC Metro area. She was the 2019-2020 Education Apprentice at McCarter Theatre Center, where she worked with students aged three to ninety-two and is a visiting teaching artist at American University. Nia has been the Director of Summer Stage at Lowell School since 2016, most recently having co-written and directed an original musical for this past year’s campers. Additionally, she co-founded Humbug! Theater Co. in response to the lack of generative theater classes available to students from all socio-economic backgrounds during the pandemic, where she led classes in devising, writing, and performance over Zoom where no student was turned away for lack of funds. Nia is a former child actor who brings eight years of professional performance experience to her work as a teaching artist and is passionate about the arts as a vehicle for self-expression and social-emotional growth.
Ali Sousa, Executive Fellow (she/her/hers)
Ali Sousa is a Cuban-American freelance dramaturg, script reader, and creative producer from Miami, FL. She has interned at a variety of off-Broadway theaters, including LCT3, Second Stage, and Atlantic Theater Company, was an oral history apprentice with the League of Professional Theater Women, transcribed interviews for Theatermania’s oral history of the Broadway shutdown, and currently reads scripts for The Playwrights Realm. Her work has been seen at NYMF, Irondale Center, Dixon Place, Theater Under St. Marks, Theater for the New City, and Yo Soy LOLA (Boston). She can often be found in real life at Marie’s Crisis or on Twitter at @alisousa4. BFA (Dramaturgy): Hofstra University.
Robert Loria, Finance & Operations Fellow (he/him/his)
Robert L. Loria is a writer who is studying Theatre and Creative Writing at Lehman College (Class of 2022). His passion is to create stories that draw audiences in, whether that is for stage, film and/or television. In his free time enjoys watching plays, films and TV shows, and reading (usually anything with a good plot twist or Marvel related). He has self-published dramatic pieces of fiction on Amazon.com and currently resides in East Harlem, NY.
Cedeem Gumbs, Marketing Fellow (he/him/his)
Cedeem Gumbs is a recent graduate of Baruch College [a constituent college of the CUNY system] where he double majored in English and Political Science and minored in Sociology. His interest in equity across multiple disciplines has excitingly led to his participation in the 2050 Administrative Fellowship at the New York Theatre Workshop. Prior to his work at NYTW, Cedeem interned for the arts advocacy organization Americans for the Arts where he supported the facilitation of the Diversity In Arts Leadership program–an internship designed to provide college students from underrepresented backgrounds with opportunities in arts administration. Outside of his intern work, Cedeem enjoys writing about music, pop culture, and at times even Netflix shows. When he is not writing, he finds time to study Japanese and indulge in his favorite art forms: anime and manga.
Lisette Medina, Production Management Fellow (Lisette/they/she)
Lisette Medina is a native New Yorker hailing from Alphabet City. Lisette discovered a passion for theater management while studying at Hampshire College and has been pursuing it ever since. Following graduation, Lisette has worked on projects at Joe’s Pub, JACK, BRIC, and The Shed. Lisette’s work in theater is committed to amplifying underrepresented voices, diversifying theater administration, and overall making theater accessible to all. Lisette is truly honored to be a Fellow with NYTW and cannot wait to spend the next year learning and growing with this team. Outside of theater, you can find Lisette raving about television, video games, comics, and many other nerdy things.
To learn more, visit the 2050 Administrative Fellowship page.