An Evening with Anna Deavere Smith
February 4, 2021 | 8:00 pm
In An Evening with Anna Deavere Smith, the award-winning playwright, actor and professor brings various perspectives to the virtual stage for her storytelling presentation
Reclaiming Grace in the Face of Adversity.
The event will be moderated by Dr. Paulette Marty, Professor of Theatre Arts at Appalachian State University
About “Reclaiming Grace in the Face of Adversity”
We live in a winner-take-all society. And yet, part of our potential as humans is our potential for compassion and our resilience in the face of adversity. While doing research for her play Let Me Down Easy, Anna Deavere Smith interviewed people in the US and abroad who demonstrated grace in the face of dramatic challenges. The speech celebrates the resilience of the human spirit, the power of empathy, the strength of imagination, and hope.
About Anna Deavere Smith
Playwright, Actor and Professor
Playwright, actor, and educator Anna Deavere Smith uses her singular brand of theatre to explore issues of community, character, and diversity in America. The MacArthur Foundation honored Smith with the “Genius” Fellowship for creating “a new form of theatre — a blend of theatrical art, social commentary, journalism, and intimate reverie.”
Best known for crafting more than 15 one-woman shows drawn from hundreds of interviews, Smith turns these conversations into scripts and transforms herself onstage into an astonishing number of characters. In her speaking events, Smith discusses the many “complex identities of America,” and interweaves her discussions with portrayals of people she has interviewed to illustrate the diversity of emotions and points of view on controversial issues.
Her most recent play, Notes from the Field, looks at the School-to-Prison Pipeline, injustice and inequality in low-income communities. Winner of an Obie Award and the 2017 Nortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show, Notes from the Field was named one of the Top 10 Plays of the year by Time magazine. The film adaptation of Notes from the Field is available through HBO, while the paperback adaptation, Notes from the Field, is a collection of students and teachers, counselors and congressmen, preachers and prisoners discussing their direct and indirect experiences with the School-to-Prison Pipeline.
In 2012, Smith was awarded the National Humanities Medal, presented by President Obama and in 2015, she was named the Jefferson Lecturer, the nation’s highest honor in the humanities. She also is the recipient of the prestigious Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and most recently, the 2017 Ridenhour Courage Prize and the George Polk Career Award for authentic journalism.
Smith’s breakthrough plays, Fires in the Mirror, a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize, and the Tony-nominated Twilight: Los Angeles, tackle issues of race and social inequality that have become touchstones of her work. Her portrayals of patients and medical professionals in Let Me Down Easy delivered a vivid look at healthcare in the United States. The show aired on PBS’ Great Performances.
Currently, Smith appears on ABC’s hit series Black-ish and the ABC legal drama For the People. She is probably most recognizable as the hospital administrator on Showtime’s Nurse Jackie and the National Security Advisor on NBC’s The West Wing. Her films include The American President, Rachel Getting Married, and Philadelphia.
Smith is the founding director of the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue, which was launched at Harvard University and is now housed at New York University, where she is a Professor at Tisch School of the Arts. Her books include Letters to a Young Artist and Talk to Me: Listening Between the Lines.
She has been an Artist-in-Residence at MTV Networks, the Ford Foundation, and Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Smith was appointed to Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2017 U.S. Mayors Challenge Committee, a nationwide competition urging innovative solutions for the toughest issues confronting U.S. cities. She holds honorary degrees from Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and Juilliard, among others.
For more information about Anna Deavere Smith, please visit http://www.annadeaveresmith.org/
.LOCATION: Online event; a private link to access the event will be emailed to all registrants both the day before and one hour prior to event
DATE/TIME: Feb. 4 at 8pm
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact the Box Office at
800-841-2787 or 828-262-4046
Event is FREE, but registration is required. Online registration will close 3 hours prior to event. Late registrants must call the Box Office directly at 800-841-2787 or 828-262-4046.
Or register by calling the Box Office directly at 800-841-2787 or 828-262-4046.
A private link to access the event will be emailed to registrants both the day before and one hour prior to the event. ***Please check your spam folders if you do not receive the emails.***
Thanks to the generous support of sponsors, The Schaefer Center Presents is able to offer the fall series free of charge. To help us continue our mission of meeting the needs of our university students, faculty/staff, and the community at large during this time when high-quality arts programming is more critical and essential than ever, please consider making a gift of any amount.
Complimentary screening of Twilight: Los Angeles
In response to the national crisis in the aftermath of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery (Brunswick, GA), Breonna Taylor (Louisville, KY), and George Floyd (Minneapolis, MN) Great Performances is offering free streaming of Marc Levin’s film adaptation of Anna Deavere Smith’s play Twilight: Los Angeles.
We are delighted to be able to share this film as a companion viewing piece to Anna Deavere Smith’s virtual appearance with the performing arts series. This riveting theatrical account of the 1992 riots from multiple points of view continues to reverberate powerfully within the context of today’s current events.
“In over 40 years of college teaching, Anna Deavere Smith is one of the most engaging presenters I have ever seen or heard. She is a magnificent demonstration of creativity, intellect and artistry. Her discussion with students challenged them to think deeply, reexamine and reflect, to consider the power of art — what is good and what needs to be changed. Anna Deavere Smith is truly an artist who has made a difference and continues to do so. Wow.” —St. Olaf College
“The responses have been overwhelming. Students have commented that it was the highlight of their college experience.” —Rollins College
“Ms. Smith rocked the place. Two nights — two standing ovations.” —University of Washington
“There are moments in a theater when one knows — this is different, this is special, this is singular. Such was the feeling Monday night at the Guthrie. Your unique and splendid performance as well as the skill and artistry of your words made this Global Voice night more than successful… was thrilled and privileged to hear you.” —Guthrie Theater
“She touched us all with fire and light and we are oh so grateful.” —Emerson College