• Portrait of Anita Dashiell-Sparks
  • Anita Dashiell-Sparks teaching
  • Anita Dashiell Sparks at the 2021 Fall USC Convocation

Anita Dashiell-Sparks

Burns Distinguished Professor
Professor of Theatre Practice in Acting
Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Vice Chair of Performance


Anita Dashiell-Sparks is a professor of theatre practice, serves as associate dean of equity, diversity, and inclusion for the USC School of Dramatic Arts, and has taught acting, movement, and critical studies at USC for over 18 years. As an actor based in New York and Los Angeles, she has performed on Broadway in Night Must Fall, starring Matthew Broderick; and The Sunshine Boys, starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman. She has also appeared in numerous off-Broadway and regional theatre productions, including The House of Bernada Alba with Chita Rivera and Dominique Serrand’s Massoud: The Lion of Panjshir, both at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. She has directed numerous productions at USC, as well as directed Letters from Zora at the Tony Award-winning Crossroads Theatre and two critically acclaimed engagements at The Pasadena Playhouse, among others. She most recently directed the world premiere of Tira Palmquist’s Safe Harbor at the Lower Depth Theater Ensemble’s new play series dealing with breaking cycles of violence. Dashiell-Sparks serves as the Artistic Director of EDI at the Stella Adler Center of the Arts and at USC is the founder and director of Building Bridges: Communication, Expression, Empowerment Theatre Arts Program, which teaches self-presentation and self-expression to at-risk youth.

Dashiell-Sparks has received numerous grants for her theatre work and has taught and developed arts and arts therapy curriculum for the Dream Yard Drama Projects in N.Y. and L.A., The Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival, Vineyard Theatre, TADA! Theatre and Dance and for the National Foundation for the Emotionally Handicapped/Penny Lane in L.A. In academia, Dashiell-Sparks has taught acting and movement at Barnard College in N.Y., guest lectured in undergraduate drama at New York University, and performed and presented at conferences at St. Mary College of the Woods and DePauw University. Anita Dashiell-Sparks trained with master acting teacher Ron Van Lieu, among others, and received her MFA from the acclaimed NYU Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Acting Program. In addition to acting, teaching, and directing, she is a trained and certified Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) practitioner by SEED and NADOHE. She is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and SDC (Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers).