2023 Cohen New Works Festival Guest Artists

One of our favorite aspects of The Cohen New Works Festival at The University of Texas at Austin is the group of guest artists that join us for this process of art-making. Students get paired with professionals in the field who travel from all over the country and, in some cases, around the world. They work creatively with students, provide constructive feedback to student work, participate in panel discussions and network with the student body through Festival events.

It is part of our mission to help bridge the gap between the educational and professional fields of art-making, so we open the Festival’s doors to working artists we admire. This opportunity for mentorship, feedback and exchange has a lasting impact on the students at The University of Texas at Austin. 

Guest Artist Panels

Teaching as Practice

Join us in a discussion exploring how a teaching practice can coevolve alongside artistic work and the value of a young perspective. Joining the conversation will be accomplished playwright, breakbeat poet, arts champion, and Artistic Director of Seattle Children’s Theater, Idris Goodwin and UT's Performance as Public Practice's very own Dr. Charlotte Canning. Led by Graduate student Renita James.

Location: WIN 2.112


April 3 at 1 pm. 

Theater <3 XR Workshop with victor cervantes jr.

What is theater? What is digital storytelling? What happens when theater utilizes new technology such as Virtual Reality (VR) or 360 Film? This workshop focuses on the relationship between new media, audience experience, and storytelling frameworks. Students will create a theatrical piece to understand how the many technologies encompassed within extended reality (or XR) can be utilized in the creation of theater. Maybe we’ll collectively be able to answer: what is liveness?

Location: WIN 2.112


April 6 at 1 pm

Keynote Speaker: Idris Goodwin

Idris Goodwin is an award-winning storyteller for multiple generations. An accomplished playwright, breakbeat poet, content creator and arts champion, Goodwin is recognized as a culture bearer who celebrates community values and cultivates histories with care. Goodwin is the author of over 60 original plays ranging from his Hip Hop inspired breakbeat series to historical dramas to works for young audiences. Goodwin currently serves as Artistic Director of Seattle Children’s Theater. Prior to this he was Executive Director of The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, where he also taught as a professor in The Department of Theater and Dance. Previous to this Goodwin led StageOne Family Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky as Producing Artistic Director. Goodwin is Board President of Theater For Young Audiences/USA and also serves on the board at Children’s Theater Foundation Association. In addition to Goodwin’s work in theater he’s created original content for and/or appeared on Nickelodeon, HBO Def Poetry, Sesame Street, NPR, BBC Radio and the Discovery Channel. Your House is Not Just A House, his first picture book, will be published by Harper Collins in 2024.

2023 Guest Artists

Alexa Capareda

Alexa Capareda is a sugar-powered dancing noodle robot who engages in unaffected virtuosity, versatility and earnest and playful. She trained in her native Philippines, Austin and Montreal before joining Balet Bratislava in Slovakia.

victor cervantes jr.

victor cervantes jr. is a theatermaker, educator and community organizer from Phoenix who aims to support and uplift BIPOC+ Queer and Trans artists and stories to more visible platforms and to reach communities that have been pushed to the margins. 

Michelle N. Gibson

Michelle N. Gibson is a consummate storyteller, employing body and mind to build a bridge between the arts and academia. Gibson’s dance evokes the social, political, economic and spiritual understandings central to building bonds within and across cultures.

Josephine Kearns 

Josephine Kearns (she/her) is a dramaturg, theatre creative and gender consultant. She tells stories of queer and trans affirmation and joy.

Zavé Martohardjono

Zavé Martohardjono is a 2022 Bessie-nominated performer and multidisciplinary artist working primarily in performance. A queer, trans, Indonesian-American artist who dwells in their ancestors’ mythologies, zavé contends with the political histories our bodies carry and dreams up more just futures.

Marcus E. McQuirter

Marcus E. McQuirter M.A., Ph.D., Professor of Drama, received his BFA in Theatre Arts from Howard University in Washington, DC, an M.A. in Theatre from the University of North Texas and Ph.D. in Performance Studies from UT Austin. 

Chris Moses

Chris Moses (Dan Reardon Director of Education and Associate Artistic Director) has been working in professional theatre for 20 years and was awarded the Governor's Award for Arts in Humanities. Chris works through the Alliance Theatre Education department to advance the civic agenda of Atlanta.

KJ Sanchez 

KJ is an Associate Professor at UT Austin and head of the M.F.A. in Theatre (Playwriting/Directing) area. She is also the founder and CEO of American Records, dedicated to making theatre that chronicles our time, theatre that serves as a bridge between people. 

Izzy Sazak

Izzy Sazak is a turkish-colombian-american transdisciplinary artist, theater-maker, educator and emergent facilitator in Philadelphia as well as a queer, genderful, eco-feminist-abolitionist, whose art is an investigation of joy, magic and belonging as radical forms of resistance.

Rose Yager

Rose is trained in all styles of dance and performed for 15 years in many events, conventions and competitions. Now in her 13th year as a company member at Justin Giles’ contemporary company, she continues to grow as a performer, storyteller and educator.