Stage and Screen Vet Anna Deavere Smith to Host Master Class with Orange County Students


As part of the school's Master Artist Series in celebration of its 30th anniversary, more than 200 student artists in grades seven through 12 will have the opportunity to participate in a workshop with one of the most important voices of theatre today.

Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA), a nationally recognized arts school, will host a 75-minute workshop and a Q&A session with Anna Deavere Smith. Deavere Smith will speak upon the topic, "Engaging the World: The Role of the Artist in Society" to more than 200 students in grades seven through 12 in OCSA's Acting, Creative Writing, Film & Television, Integrated Arts and Musical Theatre Conservatories. Considered to be one of the most important voices of theatre today, Deavere Smith will weave characters she has created and selected for the event within her presentation to illuminate its theme.

The event takes place on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017 from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM at Orange County School of the Arts, Center for the Arts | Margaret A. Webb Theatre, 801 N. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92701.

Anna Deavere Smith is perhaps best known to television audiences as Nancy McNally on The West Wing and Gloria Akalitus on Nurse Jackie. In addition to her work in television and film, Smith is said to have created a new form of theatre. Following her interviews with scores of individuals, she creates theater works in which she plays many characters - as many as 52 in one production - representing multiple points of view. Her work has been celebrated simultaneously for its journalistic detail as well as its empathic treatment of the people she portrays. The New York Times writes that Anna Deavere Smith "is the ultimate impressionist. She does people's souls." Ms. Smith is also University Professor at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She is the founding director of the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue, dedicated to supporting artists whose works address social issues and engender civic engagement. Smith is the recipient of numerous awards, among them the National Humanities Medal, presented to her by President Obama in 2013. She has been the recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Award, The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, two Tony nominations, and two Obies. She was runner up for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for her play Fires In the Mirror.

The workshop is part of the school's Master Artist Series, which was formally launched in celebration of OCSA's 30th anniversary. Through the school's Master Artist Series, students have the unique opportunity to study under esteemed guest artists and master teachers who create meaningful and life-changing experiences. Artists who have or will be participating in the Master Artist Series include Tony, Emmy, and Golden Globe Award-nominated actor, Matthew Morrison, renowned jazz trumpeter, Wynton Marsalis, acclaimed soprano Deborah Voigt, Broadway star and humanitarian, Ali Stroker, and television and theatre writer, and producer, Kris Lythgoe. As a premier arts school, OCSA provides a creative, challenging and nurturing environment that offers bright and talented students unparalleled preparation for higher education and a profession in the arts. It is the only specialized arts program of its kind in the region to offer tuition-free academic and arts instruction to students from Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties. For additional information, visit


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