Anna Deavere Smith
New York University Tisch School of the Arts
Humanities and Arts
Anna Deavere Smith is an actress, playwright, teacher, and cultural commentator who has created a new form of documentary theatre to stage contemporary cultural debates. She looks at current events from multiple perspectives, then combines interviews with subjects with the art of interpreting their words through performance. Smith uses her own singular presence to stage dissent and debate. Through her writing she has used performance to enrich public discourse, especially about race, class, and social inequality. She has been a tireless advocate for performed dialogue as a means to address and ameliorate social strife.