David Rivera

Hostos student David Rivera's work as a student-critic recently earned him an honorable mention from the Institute for Theater Journalism and Advocacy (ITJA) Critics' workshop at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF).


Rivera, an English major, became involved with the KCACTF in 2020 when Hostos professor Natasha Lorca Yannacañedo nominated him to attend the week-long event and participate in the ITJA workshop as a student-critic. As part of the program, Rivera worked with writing coaches and attended up to three shows in a single day, working under tight deadlines and often times turning around first drafts of his reviews by or before the following day. Although challenging at times, he appreciated the program and how it helped strengthen his writing and afforded him the opportunity to share his perspective as the only person of color in the program last year. Overall, Rivera described it as one of the most rewarding experiences he's had as a writer thus far and "a dream come true."

"What I enjoy the most about my role as a theatre critic is the conversation that I have with the material," he said. "On the surface, it may seem that a critic's duty is to observe and report, but I believe it runs much deeper than that. It's my job to decipher meaning, measure intent, and comment on what works and what could be improved. Live drama, by nature, is inherently distinct. Each production and performance stands on its own, and "I enjoy providing commentary that is able to stand proudly alongside the plays and musicals I watch."

Rivera put on his theater critic cap once again when he attended this year's festival, which was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All in all, he believes he's reviewed approximately ten shows, of which he counts the Boundless Theatre Company's production of Migdalia Cruz's "Fur" among his favorite. "That show had a terrific cast, and the set pieces were immaculate. It was an excellent production from top to bottom," he shared. 

Rivera, who is pursuing an A.A. in Liberal Arts, is currently taking time off from his studies and plans on returning to Hostos for the Fall of 2021 semester. He is currently utilizing the skills he sharpened as a theater critic to work on a crime novel, for which he has been busy writing approximately 500 words a day. 

We wish him hearty congratulations on his well-deserved recognition from the ITJA and the best of luck in his continued professional and personal growth. Moreover, we look forward to having him back at Hostos in the fall.