Notes from the Fiel

Anna Deavere Smith and Marcus Shelby in “Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education.” Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva

Princeton University presents Anna Deavere Smith with excerpts from Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education.

Award-winning actress, playwright and teacher, Anna Deavere Smith, presents a selection of interviews and stories from her latest play, Notes from the Field. Using her signature form of theater, based on interviews with hundreds of individuals, Smith shines a light on the lack of opportunity and resources for young people living in poverty and how these circumstances often lead them into the criminal justice system.

Wednesday, March 15
8:00 p.m.
Berlind Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center

The event is free, however tickets are required. A limited number of standby tickets will be available the evening of the event starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Berlind Box Office in the Berlind Theatre Lobby. No tickets will be available before 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, so please do not visit or call the McCarter Theatre Box Office.

This event is being cosponsored by Campus Conversations, Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding, Equity and Diversity, the Lewis Center for the Arts, LGBT Center, Princeton Public Lectures, The Office of the Dean of the College, The Office of the Vice President for Campus Life, and Women’s Center.


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, usually on a topic of civic and political interest, she creates theater works in which she plays many characters – as many as 52 in one production – representing multiple points of view. When granted the prestigious MacArthur Award, her work was described as “a blend of theatrical art, social commentary, journalism, and intimate reverie.” Her work has been celebrated simultaneously for its journalistic detail, as well as its empathic treatment of the people she portrays. David Richard wrote in The New York Times that Anna Deavere Smith “is the ultimate impressionist. She does people’s souls.”

Ms. Smith is University Professor at New York University where she teaches at the 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.

Ms. 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. Honorary degrees include those from Yale University, Juilliard, Barnard, the University of Pennsylvania, Radcliffe, Wesleyan, Williams College, Northwestern University as well as many others.


Created, written and performed by Anna Deavere Smith, Notes from the Field depicts the personal accounts of students, parents, teachers and administrators caught in America’s school-to-prison pipeline. Investigating a justice system that pushes minors from poor communities out of the classroom and into incarceration, shines a light on a lost generation of American youth. Drawn from interviews with more than 200 people living and working within a challenged system, Anna Deavere Smith continues her mastery of the documentary solo performance by stimulating awareness and ultimately, change for the better. She will not be performing Notes from the Field at this event but a selection of interviews and stories.

Presented By

  • LGBT Center
  • Lewis Center for the Arts
  • Carl A. Fields Center
  • Office of the Dean of the College
  • Campus Conversations on Identities
  • Office of the Vice President for Campus Life
  • Women*s Center

Additional Info