Jan Cohen-Cruz (1950–) is an author, teacher, and practitioner of community-based performance art. She is the Founding Editor of Public: A Journal and served as Director of Imagining America from 2007-2012.
Cohen-Cruz writes on the work of performance artists who address social issues. Her trilogy on the topic includes Local Acts: Community Based Performance in the U.S. (Rutgers, 2005), Engaging Performance: Theater as Call and Response (Routledge, 2010), and Remapping Performance: Common Ground, Uncommon Partners (MacMillan, 2015). Her most recent work is co-written with activist Rad Pereira—Meeting the Moment: Socially Engaged Performance, 1965-2020, by Those Who Lived It (New Village Press, 2022).
Grounded in the resistant theater of the late 60s and early 70s, she was a member of the NYC Street Theater/Jonah Project, and has been a freelance practitioner of the techniques of Augusto Boal since bringing him to the U.S. in 1989. After receiving her PhD at NYU in Performance Studies, she taught in the Drama Department for 28 years, and now continues to teach at and collaborate with several New York institutions.