Theater Past Faculty

Crystal Dickinson

Crystal Dickinson headshot


Crystal Dickinson is an actor and educator. A New Jersey native, Crystal began her professional career in Atlanta, Georgia, where she was named by the Atlanta Sunday Paper as One of the Ten Best Female Actors in Atlanta. She has also received the Jenny Award for Best Actress multiple times.

Her New York career began alongside her husband, Brandon Dirden, and brother-in-law, Jason Dirden, in Leslie Lee's First Breeze of Summer, which starred Leslie Uggums and was directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. From there, she went on to perform on Broadway in the Tony Award Winning Play, Clybourne Park (for which she received a Theater World Award, and the Tony-nominated play, You Can't Take It With You, alongside James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne. She has also performed in many prestigious Off-Broadway venues, including Lincoln Center, The Public Theater, Signature Theater, Playwrights Horizons and The Atlantic. She has worked with Thomas Kail (Hamilton), Micheal Greif (Dear Evan Hansen, Rent) Bryan Cranston, Wendell Pierce, Pam Mackinnon, Lila Neugebauer, Leigh Silverman and Kenny Leon. She is also a Four-Time AUDELCO Award Nominee. Her film & television credits include Collateral Beauty, I Origins, This Is Where I Leave You, The Good Wife and Feed the Beast.

Crystal has also had an illustrious career teaching acting at Stella Adler Studio, Spelman College, NYU, Pace University and both of her alma maters, University of Illinois and Seton Hall. She has helped countless students get into the best graduate training programs across the country. Among her students are Brian Henry (Atlanta and This Is Us) and Adrienne Moore (Orange is the New Black).

Giving back and helping others is a big part of her life, so she volunteers often at the 52nd Street Project and currently serves as an Alumni Board Member for Miss Porter's School. She has also served as an ambassador to Playwrights Horizon's Gen PH Program, a Resource Council member for 7 Stages, panelist for DeKalb County, Office of Arts Culture & Entertainment and volunteer for the Governor’s Honor’s Program, The National August Wilson Monologue Competition, New Dramatist, and A Better Chance (from which she is also an Alum).

A proud MFA graduate of The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, she also studied at the London Academy for Music and Dramatic Art and is an elite member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab.

Campus Address

Wallace Dance Building W323
Lewis Arts complex
122 Alexander Street