Caroline Jackson Smith

  • Professor of Theater and Africana Studies
  • Chair of Theater

Areas of Study


  • BA, Yale University, 1974


Caroline Jackson-Smith is professor of theater and Africana studies. A recipient of the prestigious 1993 fellowship for early career directors from the Theater Communications Group/National Endowment for the Arts, Prof. Jackson-Smith made her New York debut at the New York Public Theater in 1995, when she directed Adrienne Kennedy's Funnyhouse of a Negro for the Signature Theater Company.

She has directed and or worked as a dramaturg for the Cleveland Play House, Great Lakes Theater Festival, Karamu House, and the Cleveland Public Theatre on such productions as The Women of Plums, The Talented Tenth, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and Our Town, Your Town.

A graduate of Yale University, Prof. Jackson-Smith served as the executive director of the Yale Afro-American Cultural Center for eight years. Since coming to Oberlin in 1989, she has directed The Gospel at Colonus, The Tapestry, The Resurrection of Lady Lester, Darker Face of the Earth, and The Colored Museum, among other productions.

African American Drama
Black Arts Workshop

Fall 2021

Black Women's Narratives, Page, Stage and Screen — FYSP 176
Individual or Group Projects — THEA 225
African American Drama — AAST 264
African American Drama — THEA 264
Rehearsal and Performance-Full — THEA 281F
Rehearsal and Performance-Half — THEA 281H
Directing III - Full — THEA 341F
Directing III - Half — THEA 341H
Senior Project-Full — THEA 425F
Senior Project-Half — THEA 425H

Spring 2022

Individual or Group Projects — THEA 225
'Framing Blackness': African Americans and Film In The United States, 1915 to the Present — AAST 261
Senior Project-Full — THEA 425F
Senior Project-Half — THEA 425H


Caroline Jackson Smith Serves as Panelist

February 24, 2020

Professor of Theater and Africana Studies Caroline Jackson Smith served as a panelist at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage for a discussion about black theater, with a focus on the history of African-American theater in Northeast Ohio. The talk was held in connection with the Maltz's special exhibit Leonard Music: The Power of Music .

Caroline Jackson Smith Directs Reading of Play

September 16, 2019

Professor of Theater and Africana Studies Caroline Jackson Smith directed a reading of a new play by local playwright Margaret Lynch at Playwrights Local in Cleveland.


This Week in Photos: Perspectives

July 28, 2021

A photographer’s perspective of a group of Oberlin residents and students walking through Tappan Square on a nice summer afternoon—a large tree trunk pictured in the foreground—serves as inspiration for this week’s photo series.

This Week in Photos: Elections to Mini Pumpkins

November 4, 2020

In this week’s photo series we swing by the voting polls, rub elbows with a professor, linger under a big tent of images, decompress at an outside night concert and faculty recital, pull up a seat at the Cat, head to Finney Chapel for taiko, and pick up a brush to do some mini pumpkin painting.