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Department of

Theatre Arts and Performance Studies

Evelyn Diaz Cruz , MFA

Associate Professor, Theatre Arts and Performance Studies

Evelyn Díaz Cruz is an Associate Professor of Theatre Arts with experience in writing, directing, and acting. Originally from the Bronx, New York, Professor Cruz’s study and practice of theatre is focused on community engagement by addressing issues of social justice through art. Her non-traditional approach to theatre garnered her the prestigious KPBS Hispanic Heritage Month Local Hero Award in The Arts for her contributions to the San Diego community. She is also a past recipient of the University of San Diego’s Innovations in Experiential Education Award in recognition of her pedagogical approach in combining theatre and community service learning. Professor Cruz was one of five professors recognized by USD Magazine as one of “The Best and the Brightest Professors,” for 2015.




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 or studied with theatre notables such as Luis Valdez (ZOOT SUIT, LA BAMBA), Augusto Boal (THEATRE OF THE OPPRESSED), and Jose-Luis Valenzuela (AUGUST 29th: CHICANO MORATORIUM). She is a member of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and the Los Angeles Association of Playwrights.

Scholarly and Creative Work

Recent projects include a full production of her award-winning play, “Glass Cord,” Off-Off-Broadway at Teatro Latea in New York City’s Lower East Side (May of 2012) where she was their invited Artist-In-Residence for 2011-2012. Set on a rooftop in the Bronx during the searing 1970’s “Glass Cord” explores myths of the maternal instinct. Other staged writing projects include “Besito Pa’ Ti,” “Muertos: A Day of the Dead Play,” “Yerma” (an adaptation/translation). Recent directing projects include 12 Angry Women, a staged reading of Katrina: The K Word, and The Grapes of Wrath.

Summer of 2015 Professor Cruz was an invited guest artist to facilitate workshops and write a play towards full production for underserved youth in Newark, New Jersey. The one-act play entitled, “The Sixth Borough,” was funded by the Victoria Foundation and Drew University.

Evelyn Cruz is also a contributing author of the book TEATRO CHICANA, U.T. Press, which received the Susan Koppelman Book Award in 2009 for Best Edited Popular and Women’s Culture.

Teaching Interests

Professor Cruz teaches courses on Playwriting, Acting, Theatre of Diversity, Theatre and Society, and a Theatre and Community course that partners with local community organizations and culminates in a final theatrical performance of one-acts. A 2013 USD study-abroad experience took the class to Jamaica, West Indies. Her combination of teaching, theatre making, and service learning reflect the University's mission of compassionate service, inclusivity and commitment to social justice.