Biography

Charles Smith’s plays have been produced Off-Broadway and from coast to coast by theaters such as Indiana Repertory Theatre, Goodman Theatre, New Federal Theatre, The Acting Company, People’s Light & Theatre Company, Penumbra, Ensemble Theatre in Cleveland, Crossroads Theatre Company, Penguin Repertory Theatre, Ujima Theatre Company, The Colony Theatre, St. Louis Black Rep, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Jubilee Theatre, Ensemble Theatre in Houston, and Berkeley Repertory Theater.

Nine of his plays received their world premiere productions at Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago. Three of his plays, The Gospel According to James, Sister Carrie, and Les Trois Dumas, were all commissioned and produced by Indiana Repertory Theatre. Les Trois Dumas has also been produced by People’s Light & Theatre and by Independent Theatre in Adelaide, South Australia, and his play The Gospel According to James was also produced by Victory Gardens Theater. His play, Denmark, was the inaugural production of the reopening of Victory Gardens Theater at the Biograph, and his play Pudd’nhead Wilson, commissioned and produced by The Acting Company, enjoyed a twenty-two city national tour before being produced Off-Broadway. His plays Takunda and City of Gold enjoyed tours of the west coast and his play Knock Me a Kiss was recently produced in New York, directed by Chuck Smith and featuring André De Shields. His work has also been produced for the HBO New Writers Project, the International Children’s Theater Festival in Seattle, and The National Black Theatre Festival.

His other plays include, Freefall, The Sutherland, Black Star Line, Jelly Belly, Young Richard, Cane, and Free Man of Color, which was also produced in Australia, New York, Los Angeles, and around the United States. Free Man of Color was also awarded the Joseph Jefferson Award and a John W. Schmid Award, both for Outstanding New Work. He has also received the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, Illinois Arts Council Governors Award, Princess Grace Fellowship, the Cornerstone National Playwriting Award, the Joyce Award, The National Black Theatre Festival’s August Wilson Playwriting Award, the Theodore Ward National Playwriting Award, two Black Theatre Alliance Awards for New Work, the NBC New Voices Award, and numerous other AUDELCO, Jeff, NAACP, and Black Theatre Alliance award nominations. He is also author of two Emmy Award-winning teleplays, Fast Break to Glory and Pequito.

As alumnus playwright of New Dramatists, graduate of the University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and one of the founding members of the Playwrights Ensemble at the Tony Award-winning Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago, he has taught playwriting at Northwestern University, for the Prague Summer Program in Creative Writing in the Czech Republic, and for the Center for Dramatic Art in Groznjan, Croatia. He currently head of the Professional Playwriting Program at Ohio University, Distinguished Professor of Playwriting, and Ohio University Presidential Research Scholar in the Arts and Humanities.