Ed Smith

From a profile in the Challenger Community News (Buffalo)

Edward G. “Ed” Smith, is a celebrated, award winning director who helped establish Black theatre in Buffalo.

Ed’s first gig in Buffalo was in 1967 where he traveled from New York and became a member of the Children’s Theatre at Studio Arena. In 1969 he permanently moved to Buffalo and started the Buffalo Black Drama Workshop in 1972. In the ’70s, he also helped to start Black Canada in Toronto. He was a lecturer at the University of Buffalo and worked his way to full professorship before he retired. Ed, who left Buffalo in 1992 has directed at many of the regional theatres around the country, and taught at Mt. Holyoke College, University of California, Florida State University and the Graduate program at Wayne State University.

He became associate Artistic Director at the Alabama Shakespeare festival theatre and Artistic Director at the Jubilee theatre in Fort Worth, Texas.

Ed has directed over 150 plays. He was honored to have directed, Mr. Ossie Davis’ last play, A Last Dance For Sybil which featured, Mrs. Ruby Dee and Mr. Earl Hyman.

He has won many awards for directing, The Whipping Man, Dancing at Lughnasa, The Bluest Eye, Our Town, The Piano Lesson and his favorite August Wilson’s play Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. He also directed the premiere of Endesha Ida Mae Holland’s From the Mississippi Delta.

He is also the author of “Black Theatre: Ethnic Theatre in the United States,” and was a longtime jazz radio DJ. In 2009 the prestigious National Black Theatre Festival ® Ed was honored with the festival’s first annual Lloyd Richards’ Director’s Award. Smith received this coveted award because of his significant contributions to Black theatre and American theatre in general.

Ed has directed seven of the ten August Wilson’s American Century Cycle plays. Currently retired, he resides in Dallas, Texas and freelances around the country. “I will go anywhere in the world to direct any of Mr. Wilson’s plays,” he said. ”It’s an honor to be back home in Buffalo!”

NFT Credits

Credit Type Production Season
Director From the Mississippi Delta 1987-88 Season
Director A Last Dance for Sybil 2002-03 Season
Director Cool Blues 2010-11 Season
Director From the Mississippi Delta (2020) 2020-21 Season