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Evelyn Diaz Cruz , MFA

Associate Professor, Theatre Arts and Performance Studies

Evelyn Diaz Cruz is an Associate Professor of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies with experience in writing, directing, and acting. Originally from the Bronx, New York, Professor Cruz's study and practice of theatre is focused on empowering communities by addressing issues of social justice through art. Her non-traditional approach to theatre garnered her the KPBS 2008 Hispanic Heritage Month Local Hero Award for her contributions to the San Diego community. She is the recipient of USD's 2009 Innovations in Experiential Education Award. She is a member of the Los Angeles Association of Playwrights and the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture.




Professor Cruz earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in Playwriting from the University of California at Los Angeles and her Bachelor of Arts with Distinction in Theatre from San Diego State University. She has worked with such theatre notables as Luis Valdez (ZOOT SUIT, LA BAMBA), Agusto Boal (THEATRE OF THE OPPRESSED), and Jose-Luis Valenzuela (AUGUST 29th: CHICANO MORATORIUM).

Scholarly and Creative Work

Recent projects include a workshop production of her play Besito Pa' Ti, which documents the tumultuous life of legendary Salsa Diva La Lupe and the writing and directing of a bi-lingual and bi-national play Muertos, that explored issues of death and dying on the U.S. Mexico border. Other works include an adaptation and directing of Garci a Lorca's Yerma (a bilingual translation reset in the Latino Caribbean world) and the directing of Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. Her full-length play "Glass Cord" received third place in a nation-wide competition, Nuestras Voces 2004, at New York City's Repertorio Espanol and was given a full production at the University of San Diego in the Spring of 2007.

Professor Cruz contributed a chapter in the book, TEATRO CHICANA, which just received the Susan Koppelman Award for the Best Edited Volume in Woman's Studies in Popular and American Culture for 2008.

Teaching Interests

Professor Cruz teaches courses on Playwriting, Acting, Theatre of Diversity, Theatre and Society, and a Theatre and Community course offered as a service-learning experience that creates partnerships with local community organizations and gathers stories to present back to the community in a final theatrical evening of one-acts. Her teaching reflects upon the University's mission of compassionate service and inclusivity.