Anna Deavere Smith is a playwright and actress. She’s credited with having created a new form of theater. Her plays, which focus on contemporary issues from multiple points of view, are composed of excerpts of hundreds of interviews. Plays and films based on them include Fires in the Mirror and Twilight: Los Angeles, Let Me Down Easy, and Notes from the Field about the school-to-prison pipeline. Her work as an actress on television includes: Inventing Anna, The West Wing, Nurse Jackie and Black-ish. Mainstream movies include Philadelphia, The American President, Rachel Getting Married and Billy Crystal’s new movie Here Today. President Obama awarded Smith the National Endowment for the Humanities Medal. She’s the recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, several Obie awards, a Drama Desk award, and the George Polk Career Award in Journalism and the Dean’s Medal from Stanford University School of Medicine. She was a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize and nominated for two Tony Awards. She’s a professor at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She has several honorary doctorate degrees including those from Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Spelman College and Juilliard and Oxford.
Catharine Stimpson is a University Professor at New York University and Dean Emeritus of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She was the founding editor of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. Her many other publications include a novel, Class Notes; a reprinted selection of essays, Where the Meanings Are: Feminism and Cultural Spaces; and extensive work on Gertrude Stein. In addition, more than 150 of her monographs, essays, stories, and reviews have appeared in Transatlantic Review, The Nation, The New York Times Book Review, Critical Inquiry, boundary 2, and other publications. Her extensive public service includes serving as the Chair of the National Advisory Committee of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and past president of the Association of Graduate Schools. She is former chair of the New York State Humanities Council, the Ms. Magazine Board of Scholars, and the National Council for Research on Women, as well as past president of the Modern Language Association. She serves on the boards of other educational and cultural organizations, and is on the board of Scholars at Risk and New York Live Arts. She has been awarded both Fulbright and Rockefeller Humanities Fellowships, as well as grants from the Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
NYU Skirball’s presenting programs are made possible with support from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature; and by Howard Gilman Foundation; FACE Contemporary Theater and FUSED (French U.S. Exchange in Dance), programs of FACE Foundation in partnership with Villa Albertine with support from the Florence Gould Foundation, The Ford Foundation, Institut français (Paris), the French Ministry of Culture, and private donors; General Delegation of the Government of Flanders to the USA; Collins Building Services; Marta Heflin Foundation; Mertz Gilmore Foundation; as well as our valued donors through memberships, commissioning, and Stage Pass Fund support.