Our Team

Mino Lora

MINO LORA

Founding Executive Director
Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Mino has been living and working as an artist, educator, activist and arts administrator in NYC since 2000. People’s Theatre Project is a true passion project for Mino and she takes a very hands-on approach to the work. Each of the programs the organization has developed began with her in the role of teaching artist. NBC Latino recognized Mino as one of 10 Latinos with Heart and she has been profiled by FoxNews Latino, NBC Latino, El Diario, Manhattan Times, Listin Diario, El Nacional and other newspaper and magazine publications in the US and abroad. Mino has participated as a panelist and guest speaker throughout New York City and was the international orator for the Women of Success 2014 conference in Santo Domingo, DR. Mino received her BA in English Literature and Theatre from Manhattanville College and her MA in Peace Studies and Conflict Transformation from the Graduate Institute.
Sindy Castro (15)

BOB BRASWELL

Founding Managing Director
Bob co-founded People’s Theatre Project and is responsible for its finances, development and marketing. Beginning his career as an actor working off-Broadway and at regional theatres across the country, Bob approaches administration as a creative and collaborative process. He has found great joy in growing with People's Theatre Project from its dreamy inception to what is now a thriving community-based cultural organization. Bob studied Nonprofit Management at CUNY, theatre at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, and received a BFA from Boston University’s School of Theatre. He currently serves on the finance and steering committees of ArtsPool, a financial services organization for New York arts nonprofits.
Sindy Castro (13)

ZAFI DIMITROPOULOU DEL ANGEL

Artistic Director
Zafiria (Zafi) Dimitropoulou Del Angel is a Mexican Greek Director, Performer and Educator. She has served as the Artistic Director of People’s Theatre Project since 2018. The PTP Company grew out of her artistic vision and commitment to immigrant representation on NYC’s stages.

Born in Mexico and raised in Greece, Zafi studied dance and performing arts from her early years. As an educator she has facilitated theatre making workshops and classes in public schools across the world. As a performer, she has been a member of many ensembles in Europe and the United States, including the Troubleyn theatre company and the Athens Epidaurus festival. As a director, Zafi specializes in creating methodologies that center underrepresented artists and develop original work through an anti-oppressive lens.

Her latest works, Las Mariposas, Somos Más, and Doña Mañana have been performed in venues and theatre stages across NYC including The Riverside Theatre, The Whitney, and New York Theatre Workshop. In 2020 she was selected for the New York Foundation of the Arts’ (NYFA) Emerging Leaders Program Cohort. BA Acting, Greek Art Theatre Karolos Koun; MFA, Physical Theatre, Dell’Arte International.
Sindy Castro (12)

ABE JOHNSON

Education Director
Abe Johnson is a performer, director, and educator. Growing up in Mississippi, Abe sought out all of the performing opportunities provided him, eventually becoming involved with New Stage Regional Theatre. From there, he moved to Cleveland, Tennessee for college where he traveled for four years with the Lee University Singers. Upon completing his B.S. in Music Business/Vocal Emphasis from Lee University, Abe found his way into the educational world as a choir director. Before arriving in New York, he was music department chair for a performing arts school in Florida, where he oversaw piano, orchestra, guitar, band, and taught chorus. Although his course of study was framed in music, it’s application continuously drove him back to theatre. While living in Florida, he became heavily involved in the Manatee Performing Arts Center, first as a performer, followed by three years as a professional stage manager. It was during this time that he decided to return to school to enhance his ability as a theatre educator.
Abe holds an M.A. from NYU Steinhardt in Educational Theatre in Colleges and Communities. Abe graduated with his culminating project, a curriculum entitled Let’s Talk About Identity: Self-Assessment to Self- Determination. He is passionate about the merging of social justice, theatre, and education as a means of self-awareness and self-determination. Outside of grad school, Abe was a supporting Artist for CO/LAB (Creative Opportunities without Limits and Boundaries) Theatre Group, which provides creative and social outlets for actors with developmental disabilities. Abe was also the Assistant Director and Music Director for National Queer Theater’s production Speechless, a devised documentary theatre play based on the collection of stories from people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS. Prior to that he was the Music Director for DREAMers, a play that explores freedom, oppression, and identity as undocumented youth respond to the announcement of President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. It was developed with The Civilians Education Department in partnership with Make The Road New York, and was written and directed by Adam Odsess-Rubin. He has served as part of the Program Committee for the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable, is part of the Education Collaborative for The New York Immigrant Coalition, and is a proud member of the NYC Gay Men’s Chorus.
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AYA ESTHER HAYASHI, Ph.D

Development Director
Aya Esther Hayashi joined the PTP team in February 2019. She previously served as Development Associate at Pan Asian Repertory Theatre and Assistant Director/Choreographer for the Children and Teen Theatre Programs at the Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance on Roosevelt Island. Raised in Richmond, VA, she moved to NYC in 2009 after completing her degree in Flute Performance at the University of North Carolina (Go Heels!). She holds a PhD in Musicology from The Graduate Center, CUNY, and produces, directs, and performs musical theatre with her company, Okaeri Productions, and AfterWork Theater.
Reyna Bonaparte

REYNA ERIKA BONAPARTE

Education Manager
Reyna Erika Bonaparte is a teaching artist, educator, community organizer, facilitator and poet from Harlem, NYC. She earned her Bachelor’s of Art from Bard College and received her master’s in Applied Theatre from CUNY’s School of Professional Studies. Reyna has been involved in the arts for over 20 years and spent most of that time working at the Harlem Children Zone, where she ran multiple writing, media and arts programing for students across the agency’s many middle school and high school sites. Reyna is passionate about theatre for social change and activism and sees her work at PTP as crucial in her quest to help others find their voice and fight oppression everywhere.
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EMMANUEL ABREU

Photographer & Videographer
This One

Rachel Beecher

Teaching Artist
Rachel Beecher (she/her) is a theater educator living in Washington Heights, NYC. Rachel strives for each member of the community to bring all of themselves to everything they do. To play a role in a student creating a piece of art, acquiring a new skill, or igniting a spark of creation is inspiring and keeps her coming back to the classroom every day. In a fostering, supportive, driven environment, Rachel can grow alongside her students to be the best educator she can be.
Sindy Castro

SINDY ISABEL CASTRO

Teaching Artist
Sindy Isabel Castro is an actress, educator, and theatre artist. She is currently an MA in Applied Theatre candidate at CUNY's Schools of Professional Studies and an actor teacher apprentice with the Creative Arts Team in NYC. She was previously a teaching artist/education administrator in Chicago for seven years and worked with Steppenwolf Theatre, Writers Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Adventure Stage Chicago, and Project AIM.  www.sindyicastro.com
Sindy Castro (5)

JEESUN CHOI

Teaching Artist
Keisha Gilles

Keisha Gilles

Teaching Artist
I am a theater artist who guides humans as they grow in their artistry through light, laughter and love. Light, for times when we allow the shadows of doubt and fear to dim the glow. Laughter, for times when perfectionism and ambition make mistakes serious instead of opportunities to learn. Love, for the sensitive soul who honors me and the world by sharing their art. Currently, I'm working toward a degree in social work and applying that knowledge to my teaching artistry. Recently, I was on the national tour of Disney's Aladdin. I made my Broadway debut with The Book of Mormon. I've also been on tour with The Book of Mormon, played The Ghost of Christmas Present in A Christmas Carol at Hanover Theatre, BJ in Smokey Joe's Cafeat Stages St. Louis and Marta in Company at Playhouse on Park.
Sindy Castro (6)

JIAWEN HU

Teaching Artist & PTP Company Member
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Eunji Lim

Teaching Artist
Eunji Lim(임은지) is a Korean, New York City-based versatile Teaching Artist who’s an actor, singer, dancer, and writer. She was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, where she worked as an artist. Eunji holds her Master of Fine Arts(MFA) from the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace university, New York. She studied her BA in Theater and Film from Kookmin University in Seoul, Korea. Eunji also worked as an educator in acting academies in Seoul as well as an assistant director for ‘Bathtub Play:Love story’ presented by ETS Theater Company at the National Theater of Korea. Eunji is eager to be an ambassador of art for broadening cultural and artistic circles of global stage.
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Lorena Marin Ortiz

Teaching Artist

I’m an actress, dancer, musician and teaching artist originally from Bogotá, Colombia. Graduated from Circle In The Square Theater School and have been part of several productions in NYC. I’m on the board of directors of Something From Abroad Theater Company created by Latinx immigrant women.

My main goal as a teaching artist is to open the path of creativity to students by allowing them to have a space where they can truly be themselves and find communion within the arts, heritage and healing. My work is deeply influenced by my Colombian upbringing that allows me to be creative and connected to my roots.

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Olivia Murphy

Teaching Artist
Born and raised in Manhattan, New York, Olivia Murphy is an actor, singer, writer and creative. She studied at the City College of New York, earning her B.A in Theatre and Sociology. Always fascinated by people and the human condition, she was drawn to the live arts in childhood when she witnessed the vibrant and diverse community and limitless freedom of expression that it could offer. Since then, she continues to progress as a performer, while gaining new interests in dramaturgy, playwriting, directing and music composition.
Sindy Castro (10)

ESDRAS SANTANA

Teaching Artist

Esdras Santana is a proud resident of Washington Heights for 39 years now. She is the mother of two teenagers and served as PTA president for six years during their elementary/middle school attendance in the neighborhood. Esdras graduated from the Ward Acting Studio in 2007, is trained as a joker with Theatre of the Oppressed, and has studied Williamson Physical Technique at the Actors Movement Conservatory. She is currently participating in her 5th Uptown Action production and is a founding member of the Uptown Action Leadership Team. Esdras has been a labor/postpartum doula and childbirth educator since 2001. She enjoys working closely with new and expectant parents and is committed to supporting them through the birth and parenting process.

Sindy Castro (7)

CHUK OBASI

Teaching Artist & PTP Company Member
Chuk Obasi (Performer) is a Nigerian-American actor, writer, director and choreographer. In addition to his work with the Sol Ensemble, Obasi is a company member with The Private Theatre, Movement Director at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, Adjunct Professor of Musical Theatre at Drew University, artist with TEA Creative, and Choreographer for STAR Theatre (Serving Teens through Arts and Research) at the Director’s Company. He has recently worked with Intersections International (Artist in Residence), the National Dance Institute (Teaching Artist), and Village Playback Theatre (Performer). Obasi was a recent recipient of the 2019 Zelda Fichandler Award, a full scholarship to study with the Michael Chekhov Association at their annual international intensive training in New London, CT. He is thrilled and honored to now join the Ensemble! BA in Communication and double minor in Musical Theatre and Dance, SUNY Geneseo. Twitter: @ChukObasi
Sindy Castro (2)

VIDA TAYEBATI

Teaching Artist & PTP Company Member
Vida Tayebati (Performer) Born and raised in Tehran, Iran, Vida Tayebati is an actor, director, and teacher. She aims to mobilize discussion and action through live theatre that transcends national borders and exposes social wrongs. She co-founded international female troupe Til Lalezar Theatre in 2016. Vida received the Hope Fellowship and Kennedy Center Honors Scholarship in 2013and Carlo Mazzone Scholarship in 2014–2015 for studying theatre. Her most recent projects include Tosca Tehran at Atlantic Theatre, NYTW residency at Adelphi University, title:point festival at the Brick Theatre, Bee at HB Studio, and Red Wednesday at Mabou Mines.She is humbled to be part of the Sol Ensemble and share Somos Más” with you all. MFA in Ensemble Physical Theatre, Dell’Arte International; BS in Data Science (in progress), Columbia University.
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CHANNIE WAITES

Teaching Artist

Channie Waites is an applied theatre practitioner, performing and voice-over artist, educator, director and facilitator. She has worked and collaborated with youth, senior citizens and social justice leadership programs in the United States, Rwanda and South Africa, as well as facilitated workshops within supportive housing communities and corrections facilities. Channie has toured and performed professionally in the United States and abroad. She is the actor for Literature to Life’s one-person adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel If Beale Street Could Talk. Channie recently inhabited the role of Prospero in The Tempest with Connecticut Free Shakespeare and Dandelion Productions. She also co-created and facilitated workshops related to the themes in the production of The Tempest. Channie has received several honors and acknowledgements for her audiobook narrations including most recently Say Her Name by Zetta Elliott, nominated for a 2020 Audie. She provided the video description for the James Baldwin documentary I Am Not Your Negro. In 2021 she facilitated and directed a remote devised piece for People’s Theatre Project’s Luna Ensemble titled The In Between of Fullness.

Channie was a co-founder of Capacity Arts, a theatre collective that created highly interactive historical dramas and developed tailored leadership workshops to lift-up untold stories, build empathy across dividing lines, and deepen participants’ analysis of historical and present-day conditions. Channie has been program director for The International Theater Project (ITP) –Rwanda since 2013 where she has co-directed five original plays devised by youth and led professional developments at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village and the Rwinkwavu Community Learning Center and Library in Rwanda. Channie has a M.A. in Applied Theatre from the School of Professional
Studies-CUNY and has a B.A. in Theatre with a minor in Anthropology and Dance from Penn State University.

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Kerry Warren

Teaching Artist
Kerry Warren (she/her) is a biracial New York based actor and teaching artist. She strives to create a classroom of joy and deep practice. She is a member of the Arts In Education Roundtable, Teaching Artist Project alumni, Actors Equity Union, and SAG AFTRA. She received the President Polisi Prize for Artist as Citizen for her educational outreach at The Juilliard School where she received her BFA in Acting. She has taught theater in Botswana, Guatemala, and all five boroughs of NYC with Harlem Children's Zone, Hunts Point Alliance, Project Art, Lincoln Center Education, 52nd Street Project, and Arts Connection. She has also performed as an actor on Broadway, Off Broadway, and regionally. Catch her performance as Nurse Varene in New Amsterdam on NBC. kerrywarren.com
ARTPOOL

ARTS POOL

People’s Theatre Project is a member of ArtsPool, a cooperative which provides workforce administration, financial management, and compliance services to a growing roster of nonprofit arts organizations in New York City.

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