Springfield College will host playwright, actor, and educator Anna Deavere Smith on Thursday, Sept. 29, at 7:30 p.m., in the Wellness and Recreation Complex Field House located on the main campus. This year marks the ninth year of the endowed Arts and Humanities Speaker Series, made possible through the generosity of Carlton ’63 and Lucille Sedgeley. This event is free and open to the public.
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.
Aligning with the Springfield College Humanics philosophy of educating the whole person, in spirit, mind, and body for leadership in service to others, Smith was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2012, an honor that recognizes individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities and broadened our citizens’ engagement with history, literature, languages, philosophy, and other humanities subjects.
In her most recent play, Notes from the Field, she looks at the school-to-prison pipeline and injustice and inequality in low-income communities. The performance 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. The paperback adaptation is a collection of students and teachers, counselors and congressmen, preachers and prisoners, discussing their direct and indirect experiences.
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.
Currently, Smith appears on the ABC hit series Black-ish and the ABC legal drama For the People. She has been an Artist-in-Residence at MTV Networks, the Ford Foundation, and Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.
If you have a disability and require a reasonable accommodation to fully participate in this event, please contact (413) 748-3124 to discuss your accessibility needs. Springfield College is a smoke-and-tobacco-free campus.