Niegel Smith

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Niegel Smith BIO

Niegel Smith is a director, writer, and performance artist known for his innovative and socially conscious work. He was born in the Bronx and raised in Maryland, and he holds a B.A. in directing from Howard University and an M.F.A. in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama.
Smith has directed a wide range of productions, from classic plays to experimental works. He is perhaps best known for his work with the theater company The Flea, where he served as artistic director from 2012-2017. During his tenure, he oversaw the development of numerous new plays and helped to establish The Flea as a leading venue for cutting-edge theater in New York City.
Smith's directing credits at The Flea include the world premiere of Thomas Bradshaw's "Burning," which was named a New York Times Critics' Pick, and the critically acclaimed production of "These Seven Sicknesses," a seven-hour adaptation of all of Sophocles' surviving plays. He also directed the world premiere of "Hatef**k" by Rehana Lew Mirza, which was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
In addition to his work at The Flea, Smith has directed productions at a number of other theaters in New York and beyond. He has worked with companies such as the Public Theater, the New York Theatre Workshop, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and he has directed plays by playwrights such as Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Tarell Alvin McCraney.
In addition to his directing work, Smith is also a writer and performance artist. He has created a number of solo shows and performance pieces, including "Neighborhood Watch," which explores issues of race and gentrification in Brooklyn, and "F**king Up Everything," a rock musical that he co-wrote and directed.
Outside of the theater world, Smith has also worked in film and television. He served as a writer and director on the HBO series "Room 104," and he has directed music videos for artists such as Janelle Monáe and Hercules and Love Affair.
Most recently, Smith directed the world premiere of "Anatomy of a Suicide" by Alice Birch at Atlantic Theater Company. The play, which explores three generations of women struggling with mental illness, was praised by critics for its innovative structure and emotional depth.

Niegel Smith Photos

Niegel Smith Productions

[Off-Off-Broadway, 2020]
[Off-Broadway, 2015]
[West End, 2010]
Associate Director
[Broadway, 2009]
Associate Director
[Off-Broadway, 2008]
Assistant Director
[Off-Broadway, 2008]
Assistant Director
[Broadway, 2004]
Assistant to the Director

Niegel Smith Awards and Nominations

Niegel Smith News

The Flea Theater Appoints Dr. Lauren Britt-Elmore as New Executive Director

The Flea has appointed Dr. Lauren Britt-Elmore as Executive Director to co-lead the Tribeca theater dedicated to the works of Black, brown, and queer artists.

The Flea to Present Staged Reading of BATHHOUSE.PPTX by Jesús Valles

Don't miss the staged reading and presentation of the Yale Drama Series Prize-winning play, 'Bathhouse.pptx,' at The Flea Theatre on Monday, October 30. Find out more about this exciting event and be a part of the theater community's buzzing conversation.

The Flea to Hold Third Annual Juneteenth Public Performances & Symposium This Summer

The Flea has commissioned Jack Fuller, Shelley, Nicole, and Trebien Pollard to stage public performances, along with Flea Artistic Director, Niegel Smith, as part of the theater company’s third annual Juneteenth Public Performances & Symposium.

Video: Watch Suzan-Lori Parks Talk PLAYS FOR THE PLAGUE YEAR on PBS NEWSHOUR

Watch Suzan-Lori Parks discuss Plays for the Plague Year at the Public Theater on PBS Newshour.

Review Roundup: PLAYS FOR THE PLAGUE YEAR Return Engagement at The Public Theater

Read the reviews for Plays for the Plague Year's return engagement at The Public Theater.

Photos: Go Inside PLAYS FOR THE PLAGUE YEAR's Return Engagement at The Public Theater

See photos from the return engagement of Suzan-Lori Parks' PLAYS FOR THE PLAGUE YEAR at The Public Theater.

SHADOW/LAND World Premiere to Begin Performances at The Public Theater Next Week

The Public Theater will begin performances for the staged world premiere play shadow/land written by Erika Dickerson-Despenza and directed by Lilly Award winner Candis C. Jones. See how to purchase tickets!

Photos: First Look at The Public's PLAYS FOR THE PLAGUE YEAR Remounted Production

Get a first look at photos of The Public Theater's remounted production of Suzan-Lori Parks’ PLAYS FOR THE PLAGUE YEAR.

Immersive MURDER IN THE FIRST to Premiere Off-Broadway at SoHo Playhouse This Month

Broadway Murder Mysteries, an immersive live entertainment murder mystery company, is set to premiere their first public performance of MURDER IN THE FIRST, an interactive madcap murder mystery, at SoHo Playhouse.

Suzan-Lori Parks' PLAYS FOR THE PLAGUE YEAR to Return to The Public Theater in April

The Public Theater has announced complete casting for the remount of the theatrical concert PLAYS FOR THE PLAGUE YEAR. See performance dates and learn how to purchase tickets!

Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Lizan Mitchell & More to Star in SHADOW/LAND World Premiere at The Public Theater

The Public Theater has announced the complete cast for the staged world premiere play shadow/land, written by Erika Dickerson-Despenza and directed by Candis C. Jones.

Tickets On Sale Now For HANG TIME World Premiere at The Flea; Complete Cast Announced

The Flea has announced the complete cast and design team for the world-premiere production of HANG TIME, the new play written and directed by Pulitzer Prize finalist Zora Howard.

50th Anniversary Exhibition of Jamaican Artists Inspired By THE HARDER THEY COME to be Featured at The Public Theater

Beginning on Thursday, February 16, theatergoers will be able to visit Wheel and Come Again: The 50th Anniversary Art Exhibition of The Harder They Come on The Public Theater’s Levin Mezzanine, an exhibition of art inspired by the original film.

The Flea to Launch New Leadership Model & Community Building Projects With $1.2M Grant From The Mellon Foundation

The Mellon Foundation has gifted The Flea a $1.2M grant to be dispersed over 36 months to support the launch of a new shared leadership structure with resident theater makers and the establishment of a new community building project.

Suzan-Lori Parks' PLAYS FOR THE PLAGUE YEAR to Return to The Public in April 2023

After a truncated run as a result of several COVID-19 cases in the company, Suzan-Lori Parks’ theatrical concert PLAYS FOR THE PLAGUE YEAR will be returning for an engagement in The Public Theater's Joe’s Pub in April 2023.

The Flea Announces 2023 Season Featuring World Premiere of HANG TIME & More

The Flea has announced its 2023 season featuring the world-premiere new play HANG TIME, by Zora Howard in her directorial debut, its annual Juneteenth Performance Commissions featuring new works and a symposium by five Black artists, and more.

The Public Theater Announces Performance Hiatus for PLAYS FOR THE PLAGUE YEAR

The Public Theater has announced that Suzan- Lori Parks' PLAYS FOR THE PLAGUE YEAR will take a hiatus from performances due to Covid-19 cases within the company. Performances through Tuesday, November 22 have been canceled.

Photos: First Look at Suzan-Lori Parks' PLAYS FOR THE PLAGUE YEAR at The Public Theater

Suzan-Lori Parks’ PLAYS FOR THE PLAGUE YEAR began previews last Friday at The Public Theater. The new, theatrical concert officially opens in Joe’s Pub on Wednesday, November 16. Get a first look at photos here!

Photos: First Look at Suzan-Lori Parks & More in Rehearsals for PLAYS FOR THE PLAGUE YEAR

The Public Theater will begin previews for the world premiere of PLAYS FOR THE PLAGUE YEAR on Friday, November 4. The theatrical concert, written by and featuring Suzan-Lori Parks, will be performed in Joe’s Pub for a limited three-week engagement through Sunday, November 27. See rehearsal photos here!

Photos: Yale Drama Series Prize Winner JAR OF FAT Receives Staged Reading at the Drama Book Shop

Last night, Seayoung Yim’s Jar of Fat, the 2022 Yale Drama Series Prize Winner, received a staged reading at New York City’s Drama Book Shop.  The event was presided over by the playwright David Hare, and Artistic Director of the Flea Theatre Niegel Smith. See photos here!


Niegel Smith has been nominated for the Outstanding Direction of a Musical award at the Drama League Awards for his work on the show "The Hang."

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