Our Team

Mino Lora


Founding Executive Director

Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Mino has been living and working as a theatre artist, advocate, educator and non-profit arts administrator uptown since 2004.

In 2009 Mino co-founded People’s Theatre Project (PTP), and currently serves as its Executive Artistic Director. Mino launched all of PTP's public arts education programs for children and youth, partnerships with over 30 NYC schools and its professional producing work with immigrant artists in NYC. During her tenure with PTP, the organization has served over 11,000 people and has received numerous awards. Mino is currently leading PTP's capital project as the owner and operator for Inwood's first theater, set to open in 2026.

Over the years Mino has received various recognitions from elected officials and news publications. She was also identified by NBC Latino as one of “10 Latinos with Heart of 2012”. She was invited to lead a Tedx Talk at SUNY Potsdam and has served as a guest lecturer and presenter at Yale University, New School, Yeshiva University, Fordham University and others.

Sindy Castro (15)


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 (12)


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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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.
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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.

Leticia Cortes

Youth and Family Advocate
Leticia Cortes is both an art-fanatic as well as an ethicist born and raised in Caguas, Puerto Rico. Her passion for finding the good and doing the good is reflected in her personal, academic and professional life. On a personal level – she frequently enjoys reading philosophy and debating the meaning of truth, morality, power and other metaphysical concepts. She also enjoys dancing, discovering new latin indie artists, appreciating art, and discovering cultures through food. Academically, she has been published by the John Hopkins Richard Macksey Journal and is currently developing more articles. Professionally, she brings concepts of the good and the ethical from the metaphysical to the tangible through works of advocacy with youth populations. She currently holds an MA in Ethics and Society from Fordham University.
Sindy Castro (6)


Interim Artistic Manager


Photographer & Videographer
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Petrina Ampiere

Teaching Artist
Petrina Ampeire is an African artist, performer, writer, and activist born in Uganda. She started her career in show business as a television host for an entertainment show in Uganda before going to law school and doing her master’s degree in International Human Rights Law in the UK. She started training in improv in Brussels under the American Theatre Company before later fully transitioning to theatre at the Identity School of Acting and the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. She went on attend a two-year conservatory at the New York American Academy of Dramatic Arts specializing in Meisner. Her recent works include playing lead Masika in Revolution: Two Stories with the Same Ending at the Tank Theatre, for which she won Best Performance in a play in the 2021 Off Broadway World Awards. Rebel Joyce in The Dark, and Kakye in Appointment with gOD, as part of recorded plays for the Columbia School of Arts’ International Play Reading Festival produced by award winning playwright David Henry Huang and featured as podcasts on Apple and Spotify. Her other work constitutes Perspectives of War: Ancient Greek Texts in Dialogue with the Modern World with Eclipses Group Theatre NY Angel in Marisol and Agave in the Greek play Bacchae by Euripides as well as playing the role of Zara in Mirrors with the New York Summerfest this June. When she is not performing, she is part of the People’s Theatre Project Company and serves as a Teaching Artist for the People’s Theatre Project in the Bronx.
Sindy 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
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Candaceia Charles

Teaching Artist
Candaceia Charles is thrilled to be joining the PTP family. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, she grew up with the city as her playground. Some of her favorite credits have been Melody in Addy & Uno and Celie in The Color Purple. Believing in the power of giving back to the community and servicing our future leaders, she’s been a teaching artist for several years. She can’t wait to create incredible art with her students and encourage them to bloom into their beautiful authentic selves.
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Tamelan Chauvet

Teaching Artist
I am interdisciplinary performance artist who uses art to tell the story of queer people, people of color, and the peoples I’ve descended from. My art is a testament to their resilience and passion for liberation.
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Jing Dong

Teaching Artist
Jing Dong is a theatre maker and teaching artist focusing on creating research-based and community-based interdisciplinary performances. She started making theatre as a key member of two experimental and political theatre groups in Beijing. In NYC, she has initiated projects that investigate into personal memories and social historical context, amplify voices of underrepresented communities, and promote social justice and the well-being of community members. She was a Create Change Fellow with The Laundromat Project in 2022, a LMCC Creative Engagement Grantee in 2020 and 2021, and a SU-CASA Artist-in-Residence in 2020 and 2021, and an Artist-in-Residence at Performance Project in 2020. She has trained with Anna Deavere Smith, Sojourn Theatre, Ping Chong + Company, She She Pop, and other social practice artists.
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.
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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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Sandiana Mervil

Teaching Artist
Sandiana Mervil is a professional actor and voice artist based in New York, New York. She is in her final semester of her graduate degree in Theatre at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Hailing from Tampa, FL, she has worked in the Tampa Bay area and made her professional debut as Titania in Free to the People Theatre’s outdoor production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream. She can be found exploring the parks in the boroughs or reading at her local library.
Sindy Castro (7)


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
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Asha Devi

Teaching Artist
Asha is a working actress, writer, and instructor of Standardized Test Preparation for low-income youth at various New York academic institutions including Columbia University and Queens College. As a first generation Guyanese and American artist, Asha Interrogates the modern mythology around Ambition, Responsibility, Happiness, and Meritocracy in her work as an actress, and playwright. Above all else, Asha is dedicated to prioritizing purpose over ego so we may move from a culture of self-consciousness to one of self-awareness. She graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts in 2019, and delivered the commencement address in front of 6,000 people at Radio City Music Hall. Following graduation, she was recruited by Success Academy Charter Schools to work as an elementary school teacher for SPED and Gen-Ed scholars in an Integrated Co-Teaching Classroom in a New York City Public Charter School. In September of 2021, she left Success Academy on amicable (and celebratory) terms due to exciting developments in her acting career, but remains a mentor in the lives of many of her former students. Since then, it has been her primary mission to instill a sense of self-efficacy in the culture of today’s youth, through both her artistic and educational practices. She has been seen most recently as Nalina in the award-winning film Rising Lotus, and on stage as Princess Aouda (and many other characters) in Around the World in 80 Days at the Gretna Theatre in Mt. Gretna, PA.
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Jacob Rodriguez

Teaching Artist
I was born in Buffalo NY. Raised in a Puerto Rican household, at a young age I fell in love with films and tv shows. I would always try to recreate them and perform in front of family, that is where I began my love for acting and the arts. From age 8 I began studying the craft and along the way fell in love with sports as well. I always felt like the two fields blended similar ideals and gave me a sense of purpose. I graduated highschool with a Theatre Arts diploma and began studying Acting at the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at SUNY Purchase. There I dove into who I was as a person/artist and how I can contribute my talents to the world. Along the way I fell in love with playwriting/screenwriting, found purpose in nature walks, and found a few other new hobbies like listening to podcasts, music genres etc. Though graduating during the pandemic left all types of questions to be answered for myself, I never gave up on my purpose. I am very grateful for the life moments that have made me who I am today.
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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)


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 (2)


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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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


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