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Anna Deavere Smith

About this Artist

As an actor, playwright, and teacher, ANNA DEAVERE SMITH has built a remarkably wide-ranging and respected career. Looking at controversial events from multiple points of view, Smith’s work combines the journalistic technique of interviewing her subjects with the art of interpreting their words through her performance.

As playwright and performer, Smith has, over the past 19 years, created a body of theatrical works which she calls On the Road: A Search For American Character. Her most recent play, House Arrest, explored the mythic role that the presidency has played throughout American history. The play was workshopped at the Mark Taper Forum in spring 1998 and at the Institute on the Arts & Civic Dialogue in the summer of 1998. It was performed at the Taper in April of this year.

Smith founded and directed the Institute on the Arts & Civic Dialogue, an experiment that was held for the past three summers at Harvard University. Smith is a tenured professor in the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, with an additional affiliation at the NYU School of Law. A native of Baltimore, she currently lives in New York City.