DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > Coya Paz Brownrigg named interim dean for The Theatre School

Coya Paz Brownrigg named interim dean for The Theatre School


Coya Paz Brownrigg to be interim TTS dean
(DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)

DePaul Interim Provost Salma Ghanem announced today, March 9, Coya Paz Brownrigg will serve as the interim dean for The Theatre School. Her appointment is effective July 1.

“Coya will be an effective advocate for continuing The Theatre School's success during this time of transition," Ghanem says. “Her creative passion and empathic leadership style will serve the school well, and I appreciate her willingness to serve as interim dean."

A poet and director, Brownrigg currently serves as the associate dean of curricular development and chair of Theatre Studies. She joined DePaul in 2008 as the visiting multicultural faculty. Her current research focuses on the arts economy – economic inequity in Chicago and its effect on the arts.

Brownrigg has been the artistic director of the historic Free Street theater since 2012. Founded in 1969, Free Street is committed to using performance and creative facilitation to challenge Chicago's racial and economic segregation. Previously, Brownrigg co-founded Teatro Luna, a national cohort of artist leaders that creates original theatrical performances, digital media and cultural experiences to drive social change around the world. She served as co-artistic director for the theatre company until 2009.

A regular radio commentator on race, media and pop culture, Brownrigg has published several articles on Latina performance, Latinx identities and public violence. She is also the coauthor, with Chloe Johnston, of the book, “Ensemble Made Chicago: A Guide to Devised Theater." She earned her PhD in performance studies from Northwestern University.

“This is a time of extraordinary transition for The Theatre School as we say goodbye to a much-loved dean and hopefully return, after a year of disruption due to the pandemic," Brownrigg says. “At the same time, the Theatre School is actively focused on examining issues of racial equity and how to make conservatory training more inclusive. We're visioning and imagining what we can be, and I hope to support our community as we go through this process."

In November, John Culbert announced he is stepping down as dean at the end of this academic year. Culbert joined DePaul in 1988 as an assistant professor and head of the lighting design program. He has served as dean for The Theatre School for 21 years.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank and recognize John for his 33 years of service and 21 years as dean," Ghanem says. “Thanks to his vision and artistic talent, The Theatre School is recognized as one of the top programs in the world. I am very grateful for his leadership and all that he has done for DePaul's students."

A nationwide search for a new dean will take place in the 2021-22 academic year.