Katy Rubin is founder and former Executive Director of Theatre of the Oppressed NYC, a nonprofit organization that partners with communities facing discrimination to spark transformative action. Since 2011, TONYC has created theater troupes with various communities including homeless and housing-insecure New Yorkers; LGBTQ youth; recent immigrants; and justice-involved youth and adults. These troupes present free, interactive public performances each year for thousands of New Yorkers. Check out their upcoming shows and workshops here!

Under Katy’s leadership, TONYC developed and popularized the practice of Legislative Theater in the United States, bringing together elected officials, advocates, service providers and communities experiencing structural racism and economic injustice.

Katy trained with creator of Theater of the Oppressed, Augusto Boal, in Brazil, and has facilitated Theatre of the Oppressed projects with activists and artists internationally and across the US over the past decade. She holds a BFA in Acting from the Boston University School of Theater and is an alum of Coro Leadership New York. She’s also a retired circus artist!


Theatre of the Oppressed NYC — Founder and Executive Director, 2011-2018

  • Grew a start-up organization into an $800,000 nonprofit, representing an average annual budget increase of 66% from 2011 to 2018.
  • Negotiated purchase of permanent office and community space for TONYC in Times Square, involving an intersector air rights deal, and managed renovation and capital campaign.
  • Developed a unique community-led organizational structure, prioritizing leadership pipelines and hiring within directly-impacted communities.
  • Led Theatre of the Oppressed trainings for nonprofits, educators and city employees in NYC, New Orleans, Atlanta, Colorado Springs, St. Louis, Seattle, DC and New Haven, as well as overseas.
  • Co-founded Sustainable Sisterhood, a resource-sharing network of women executive directors of social justice nonprofits.

Yale School of Drama — Faculty, 2019

  • Theatre of the Oppressed course for third-year MFA Acting students


Montreal and Toronto, Canada; Manchester, UK 2017-2018

Delegate to international arts and homelessness exchanges with TONYC actors

Sydney, Australia 2016

Devised original Forum Theatre play in residency with 30 homeless artists

Leon, Nicaragua 2011-2012

Trained 40 community members in TO and created original plays addressing environmental issues and domestic abuse

Bradford & London, England 2011

International exchange with learning-disabled and homeless theatre companies


Coro Leadership New York, NYC 2016

New York Foundation for the Arts, Artists as Entrepreneurs, NYC 2010

Jana Sanskriti, Indian Fed. of Theatre of the Oppressed, Kolkata, India 2010

Center for Theatre of the Oppressed (CTO-RIO), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2008

Boston University School of Theatre BFA Acting, Summa Cum Laude 2007

London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, England 2006


Boston University Distinguished Alumni Award, 2018

City Council Citation, 2015

Youth for Human Rights Award, 2012

Theatre Communications Group: Global Connections, 2011

Shapiro Family Fellowship, 2011