Niegel Smith

Niegel Smith is a performance artist and theater director who sculpts social spaces into unique communal environments where we make new rituals, excavate our pasts and imagine future narratives.

His theater work has been produced by Classical Theatre of Harlem, HERE Arts Center, Hip Hop Theatre Festival, Luna Stage, Magic Theatre, New York Fringe Festival, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, The Public Theater, and Summer Play Festival and his participatory walks have been produced by Elastic City, American Realness, Brooklyn Museum, New Museum, the Prelude Festival, Abrons Arts Center, Visual AIDS, the Van Alen Institute and PS 122. He often collaborates with artist Todd Shalom. Together, they conceive and stage interactive performances in public and private environments. He is also a ringleader of Willing Participant, an artistic activist organization that whips up urgent poetic responses to crazy shit that happens, and in 2014 he will direct the world-premiere production of J. Julian Christopher's Locusts Have No Kings at INTAR Theatre.

Smith was the associate director of the Tony Award winning musical FELA!- restaging that production in London, Lagos and on its world tour. He assistant directed the off-Broadway production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and both the Broadway and off-Broadway productions of Tony Kushner's Caroline, or Change. He has worked on the artistic staffs of The Public Theater, Trinity Repertory Company and Providence Black Rep, is a 35th Anniversary Artist-in-Residence at Second Stage Theatre, and has been a guest artist at Dartmouth College, Fordham University, The Julliard School, NYU Tisch School of the Arts and the University of Rochester.

Smith, a graduate of Dartmouth College, has received grants and fellowships from Theater Communications Group, the Van Lier Fund and the Tucker Foundation. Before surviving high school in Detroit, he grew up in the North Piedmont, fishing with his dad, shopping with his mom and inventing tall-tale fantasies with his two younger brothers.