Rhiana Yazzie is a Navajo playwright, director, and filmmaker based in the Twin Cities and is the artistic director of New Native Theatre, which she founded in 2009. Rhiana is a 2018/20 Bush Foundation Leadership Fellow and a 2017/18 Sally Award winner for Vision. She’s been a Playwrights’ Center fellow multiple times (McKnight 2016/17 and Jerome 2006 & 2010), and has just completed QUEEN CLEOPATRE AND PRINCESS POCAHONTAS a play commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Public Theater for American Revolutions: the United States History Cycle. Last winter, her children’s play about climate change, THE THREE SNOW BEARS, was produced by Stages Theatre Company and New Native Theatre. Rhiana is in post production with her first feature film, A WINTER LOVE of which she is the writer/director and is starring in. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s Masters of Professional Writing where she produced events featuring Stephen Hawking, Madeleine Albright, Paula Vogel, Herbie Hancock, and Spalding Gray. She has been a production coordinator on films directed by Musa Syeed (A STRAY) and Dolly Wells (GOOD POSTURE).
Director of Operations
Currently serving as the Interim of General Manager of New Native Theatre. Suyapa has an extensive history of 20 years serving the community in many capacities. Her leadership experience includes four years as Executive Director for Saint Anthony Park Community Council (SAPCC). Her legacy was developing an equity committee that implemented a framework for policies, projects and issues to ensure they are rooted in equitable solutions. Through this model, direct food access to fresh and healthy food options emerged as a priority for those living in Section 8 housing, and community gardens were leveraged to accomplish this. ADA compliancy around transit for these residents was also transformed due to this equity initiative. In addition to her role as Executive Director of SAPCC, Suyapa has represented local and regional communities on countless boards and committees. Notably, she was appointed by Governor Dayton to serve on the Chicano Latino Affairs Council where she worked to shift their foundational structure to better influence legislation. Focusing on inclusion on this board meant broadening the scope of diversity within Latino communities. The name itself was changed – from Chicano Latino Affairs Council to the MN Council on Latino Affairs – to better reflect our immigrant communities. During this time, Suyapa was also selected to serve on the Metropolitan Council’s Transportation Advisory Board. Suyapa is currently appointed to the MNsure Board of Directors where she works to influence equitable outcomes for underinsured populations. Critical to this work is reducing elementary barriers to make MNsure more accessible for immigrant communities and communities of color, such as translating social media kits and leading a health literacy initiative so that medical jargon does not prevent consumers from making the best choice for their families. Diversifying MNsure’s committees is also an area of focus. In addition to serving as Vice President of the Alliance board, she currently serves as a board member of Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, and MNsure. Suyapa earned a B.A. in modern and classical languages from University of St. Thomas and a master’s in advocacy and political leadership from Metropolitan State University.
Delinda “Oogie” Pushetonequa
Noreen Quadir is an actress, writer, and media specialist. She is the Communications Advisor for New Native Theatre. Noreen grew up in Connecticut, where she studied at Southern Connecticut State University and received her BA degree in Theatre. She also studied at the Circle in the Square Theatre School and Magnet Theater in New York City. Noreen has worked with a variety of theatre and arts organizations, where she developed communications plans and marketing strategies, created content, and managed online platforms. She has also performed in several theatrical productions, including The Vagina Monologues, A Muslim in the Midst, Sharum, and Pretty White Girl, as well as various children productions such as Magic, Moonlight, and Mardi Gras. Aside from her theatre and media work, she is also an advocate for various social causes including increasing diversity, representation, and equity in the arts, equality, animal welfare, and environmental sustainability. Noreen has also taught and tutored kids in drama and literature. Her favorite food is chocolate. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @NoreenZizzyQ.
Literary Artistic Associate
Blossom Johnson is a Diné playwright, screenwriter and dramaturg from Dził Yijin, Arizona. She is from the Yé’ii Dine’é Táchii’nii (Giant People) clan, and her maternal grandfather is from the Deeshchíí’nii (Start of the Red Streak People) clan. Her play RED RUNNING INTO WATER had its World Premiere with New Native Theatre in multiple community venues in the Twin Cities. In 2017, she received an honorable mention for her play AMA SANI (now titled RED RUNNING INTO WATER) as part of the Yale Young Storytellers Contest. Blossom holds an MFA in Dramaturgy from Columbia University and a BA in Theatre from Arizona State University. She has held seasonal positions as a Columbia University Fellow in the Archives at Roundabout Theatre Company, and a Communications & Marketing Intern with The Tank NYC.
Peter moved to the Twin Cities from Dublin, Ireland in August 2012. His first theatre job in Minnesota was with New Native Theatre as Music Director for 2012 The Musical! and he has been working with them in different capacities ever since. He has also worked with companies, theatres and artists including Exposed Brick, Pilsbury House, Stages Theatre, Daleko Arts, Red Eye Theatre, Tru Ruts, Yellow Tree, Interact, Mixed Blood, zAmya, Pangea World Theatre, Macalaster College, Augsburg University, Swandive Theatre, Threads Dance Company, Hiponymous, Ifrah Mansour, Akiko Ostlund, Artistry, Theatre Latte Da, Park Square and The Guthrie. He performs with the band Bella Yaga and as a solo artist. In Dublin he worked primarily with the award winning company Brokentalkers, devising new works as composer and sound designer. Peter has a Masters in Music and Media Technology from Trinity College Dublin.
Artistic Associate, Focus on Directing and Coordinating
Sara Pillatzki-Warzeha (Dakota, enrolled Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate) is originally from South Dakota and currently lives and works in the Twin Cities as a director and theatre educator. She is pursuing a PhD in Theatre Historiography from the University of Minnesota with an emphasis in Indigenous performance. Her research is currently centered on issues of Indigenous/settler intercultural collaborations and Indigenous feminisms as a dramaturgical lens. She has worked with New Native Theatre on two prior occasions; during the NNT 10 Minute Play Festival in 2018 and as part of the directing team for Snow Bears, a joint NNT and Stages Theatre production in 2019. In her free time, Sara is happily learning the ways of new parenthood to son Bear alongside her husband Brian. She is thrilled to be joining the team at NNT!