Please join us in welcoming the new 2023/24 Artistic Fellows: Emily Abrams, Andrea Ambam, Raz Golden, Celeste Jennings, Ying Ying Li and Nicholas Polonio. NYTW Usual Suspect and former 2050 Artistic Fellow Miranda Haymon will return as advisor to the 2023/24 Fellows, working directly with each fellow to build their individual fellowship experience as well as with the cohort and Artistic Staff to create community.
EMILY ABRAMS (she/her) is a director, administrator, and silly human who creates community by putting audiences through one-of-a-kind experiences. Currently, Emily is the ongoing resident director of Spiegelworld’s THE HOOK. Her work is heavily influenced by the theatre of the ridiculous movement, camp, parody, clown, and midnight-cult-classic movies. Emily has worked for leading not-for-profits, including Ars Nova, Manhattan Theatre Club, Studio Theatre, Roundabout, Asolo Rep, New York Theatre Workshop, People’s Light, The Kimmel Center, The New Group, Life Jacket Theatre and more. She has worked as an Assistant Director for Andrew Neisler, Rory Pelsue, Knud Adams, David Muse, Candis C. Jones, Sivan Battat, Josh Rhodes and others. She is an alum of Studio Theatre’s Directing Apprenticeship, Ars Nova’s Emerging Leaders Fellowship, and Asolo Rep’s Directing Fellowship. She holds a BFA in Directing from The University of the Arts and is an alum of the National Theatre Institute’s Advanced Directing program. When she is not directing, Emily cares for her very small—very fluffy—dog and competes in Rubik’s cube speed-solving competitions. Find out more about Emily, her work, and her obsession with Tommy Wiseau by visiting EmilyAbramsDirects.com.
ANDREA AMBAM is a performance artist and writer whose roots sprout from Cameroon. As a politically engaged storyteller, Andrea puts narrative to use, creating theatrical experiences that worldbend and record truth. Currently, Andrea is the Programming Manager at Level Forward, where she hosts the Anthem Award-winning podcast More To Talk About. She has developed her multi-hyphenated practice as a Playwrights Realm Writing Fellow, a Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX) Artist-In-Residence, an Artistic Fellow with Signature Theatre, a Writing As Activism Fellow with PEN America, an Artivism Fellow with Broadway Advocacy Coalition (BAC), an Artist-in-Residence for Anna Deavere Smith, an EmergeNYC Fellow, and as a competitive public speaker/performer where she was awarded “Top Speaker in the Nation’’ three times. Her plays include Fragile State (Playwrights Realm Writing Fellowship 2022-23), R(estoration) I(n) P(rogress) (NYU Educational Theatre/Provincetown Playhouse 2023, ANPF Semifinalist 2021, Playwrights Realm Semifinalist 2021), Rehearsing Justice: A One-Woman Show (Presentations with BAX 2022 & BAC 2021), and Angelina Weld Grimke (Classical Theatre of Harlem/Playbill, Broadway Podcast Network). Andrea lives in Brooklyn and has a master’s in Art & Public Policy from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. andreaambam.com
RAZ GOLDEN is a director of theatre and film. His work employs classical texts and new stories to dissect history, performance, and liminality, while continually centering people of color. He has directed and developed work with Second Stage, Juilliard, the National Queer Theatre, the Mercury Store, the Public Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, NYU Tisch, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival. He is a Drama League 2019 Fellow, a member of Roundabout Directors Group Cohort 2 and a founding member of the Fled Collective. As a filmmaker, he has collaborated on numerous projects with the creative agency Adventure We Can and in 2021 on Eisa Davis’ Afrofemononomy. BA, Carnegie Mellon University. Directing: What the Constitution Means to Me (Weston Theatre Company), Orestes (SUNY Purchase), How to Catch Creation (Juilliard), Golden Leaf Ragtime Blues (Shakespeare & Company), We Are Proud to Present… (Purchase), The Mountaintop by Katori Hall (Weston), Queen of the Night, a new play by travis tate (Dorset Theatre Festival), Macbeth, (HVSF). Associate Directing: Good Night Oscar (dir. Lisa Peterson), Macbeth (dir. Sam Gold).
CELESTE JENNINGS is a playwright and costume designer. Using the language of her family, she quilts love songs for Black folks. Her work invites her community to stop and rest awhile as they refamiliarize themselves with the poetic diction of home. She loves to incorporate her unique perspective into her work and is particularly motivated to uplift and protect Black women as a writer and designer. Her dream projects evoke the past, present, and future and remind Black women that they are loved, that they’re soft, powerful, capable of resting, deserving of liberation, and that they are everything- that they always have been. Most recently, her play ‘Bov Water was produced at Northern Stage, and she developed another play with music, Contentious Woman, with PlayCo. Selected work includes Citrus (produced at Northern Stage), and Processing. Lately she collaborated with JAG in a designer workshop for Urinetown and worked as an assistant designer on The Notebook. Celeste recently studied costume design at NYU Tisch and graduated this spring. She’s grateful to her community of friends, family, and mentors for encouraging and uplifting her work and is incredibly happy to be a NYTW 2050 Fellow.
YING YING LI was born in Beijing and grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She came to America to attend Yale Law School and practiced corporate law in NYC before restarting her life as a writer and performer with no training or experience whatsoever. She is a member of The Public Theater’s 2020–2023 Emerging Writers Group, and the Parent/Caregiver Playwrights Group, sponsored by Project Y Theatre. She is an alumna of The Tank’s Playwrights Group, The Tank’s TV Writers Group, Harvardwood’s TV Writers Group and Hot Buffet Sketch Comedy Group. Full-length plays include This Could Be You (EWG Spotlight Series) and Dance Moms (Premiere Play Festival semi-finalist, NEA grant recipient). Her work has been commissioned by Project Y, and developed or seen at The Public, The Tank, Boomerang Theatre, Rule of 7×7, Decent Company, Yes Noise, The Brick, and on The Highline (so many helicopters, lesson learned). Her humor writing and videos have appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Buzzfeed, Wired, MSN, Lifehacker, Men’s Health and Mental Floss. She has two delicious small children.
NICHOLAS POLONIO is a Filipino-American director originally from the Bay Area and currently based in Brooklyn. He has directed productions including The Police (The Wedge @ Hangar Theater), pov: u run Joe biden’s tiktok (Ars Nova ANTFest), Mary Stuart (Strasberg Institute @ NYU Tisch), Late Fame: A History Play (Rutgers University), and The 100 Most Beautiful Names of Todd (Williamstown PTP). As Associate Director, productions include Slave Play (Broadway, remount, CTG), Public Obscenities (Soho Rep), A Raisin in the Sun (Public Theater, Williamstown Theatre Festival), Richard III (Shakespeare in the Park, Public Theater), A Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Audible, Minetta Lane Theatre), A Streetcar Named Desire (Audible, Williamstown Theatre Festival), and X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X (The Metropolitan Opera). Nicholas has directed and developed new writing with Bedlam, The TEAM, Normal Ave, the Asian American Arts Alliance, the Sống Collective, Ma-Yi Writer’s Lab, and the American Playwriting Foundation. He is an alum of the Drama League Directing Fellowship, Roundabout Directors Group, Mercury Store Directors Lab, Williamstown Theatre Festival Directing Corps, the Young Vic Genesis Directors Program, and the National YoungArts Foundation. Nicholas received his BFA in Acting from Rutgers Mason-Gross School of the Arts.
The 2050 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 the American landscape—demographically, technologically, environmentally, and artistically—now and in the future. They are a catalyst for broader questions about our ever-transforming field. How can theatre challenge our conceptions of storytelling? How can we push aesthetic boundaries in the 21st century? What is the power of theater today?
Each year NYTW is honored to invite a cohort of 2050 Artistic Fellows to join them in making art, engaging in deep conversation, and being in community. The 2050 Artistic Fellowship embodies the values of nurturing and cultivating an artistic community that challenges dominant paradigms and amplifying those whose experiences are not often heard. The 2050 Artistic Fellows are early-career artists who, with their unique voices, give us perspective on the world in which we live and who inspire us all to contend with this changing world.