I create performances that engage, provoke, and expand the limits of self-expression. I hold myself to a rigorous aesthetic process that equally values emotional intuition, intellectual discourse, and the intersection of national and cultural identities, and I strive to incite dialogue by acknowledging and implicating the audience.


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 The Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem, Magic Theatre, HERE Arts Center, Hip Hop Theatre Festival, Summer Play Festival, New York Fringe Festival and the Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, and his walks have been produced by Elastic City, American Realness, 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 its world tour, 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 and is a 35th Anniversary Artist-in-Residence at Second Stage Theatre.

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 Carolina piedmont, fishing with his dad, shopping with his mom and inventing tall-tale fantasies with his two younger brothers.