|Address||Loeb Drama Center|
64 Brattle Street
2 Arrow Street
|Capacity||Loeb Drama Center: 556|
|Years active||1980 to present|
The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) is a professional not-for-profit theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1979 by Robert Brustein, the A.R.T. is known for its commitment to new American plays and music–theater explorations; to neglected works of the past; and to established classical texts reinterpreted in refreshing new ways. Over the past thirty years it has garnered many of the nation's most distinguished awards, including a Pulitzer Prize (1982), a Tony Award (1986), and a Jujamcyn Award (1985). In 2002, the A.R.T. was the recipient of the National Theatre Conference's Outstanding Achievement Award, and it was named one of the top three theaters in the country by Time magazine in 2003. The A.R.T. is housed in the Loeb Drama Center at Harvard University, a building it shares with the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club. The A.R.T. operates the Institute for Advanced Theater Training.
In 2002 Robert Woodruff replaced founder Robert Brustein as the A.R.T.'s artistic director. After Woodruff's departure in 2007, Associate Artistic Director Gideon Lester filled the position for the 2008/2009 season, and, in May 2008, Diane Paulus was named the new artistic director. Paulus, a Harvard alum, is widely known as a director of theater and opera. Her work includes The Donkey Show, which ran off-Broadway for six years; productions at the Chicago Opera Theatre; and the Public Theater's 2008 production of Hair, which won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.
American Repertory Theater was established at Harvard in 1979 as a permanent professional arts organization on campus that offered undergraduate courses in acting, directing, and dramaturgy, taught by professional members of the company with teaching experience. Robert Brustein served as artistic director of the theater until 2002, when he was succeeded by Robert Woodruff, founder of the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. In 2008, Diane Paulus became the new artistic director.
During its 41-year history, it has welcomed many major American and international theater artists, presenting a diverse repertoire that includes premieres of American plays and musical productions. In the over 250 productions American Repertory Theater has staged, over half were premieres of new plays, translations, and adaptations. The A.R.T. has performed throughout the U.S. and worldwide in 21 cities in 16 countries on four continents. It continues to be a training ground for young artists, with the artistic staff teaching undergraduate classes in acting, directing, dramatic literature, dramaturgy, voice, and design. In 1987, the A.R.T. founded the Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard, which offers a five-semester M.F.A. graduate program that operates in conjunction with the Moscow Art Theatre School.
In her time as artistic director, Diane Paulus has focused on expanding the boundaries of traditional theater by transforming the ways in which work is developed, programmed, produced, and contextualized in order to allow the audience to participate, thereby making the experience more interactive. Productions such as Sleep No More, The Donkey Show, Gatz, The Blue Flower, Prometheus Bound, Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, Wild Swans, and Pippin have engaged audiences in unique theatrical experiences through physical interaction and unconventional staging. The theater's productions have garnered eighteen Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical for its productions of Pippin (2013) and Gershwins' Porgy and Bess (2012), Best Musical for Once (2012), and Best Play All The Way (2014). The A.R.T. also received the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater, the Pulitzer Prize, and multiple Elliot Norton and IRNE awards. Its premiere production of Death and the Powers: The Robots' Opera was a 2012 Pulitzer Prize finalist.
The A.R.T.'s 30th season, its first under Artistic Director Diane Paulus, eschewed the traditional model and instead offered a series of "festivals" which encouraged audiences to experience productions as parts of larger cultural events.
The American Repertory Theater has presented both American and World premiere productions. Over the years, these have included works by Robert Auletta, Robert Brustein, Anton Chekhov, Don DeLillo, Keith Dewhurst, Christopher Durang, Elizabeth Egloff, Peter Feibleman, Jules Feiffer, Dario Fo, Carlos Fuentes, Larry Gelbart, Leslie Glass, Philip Glass, Stuart Greenman, William Hauptman, Allan Havis, Milan Kundera, Mark Leib, Gideon Lester, David Lodge, Carol K. Mack, David Mamet, Charles L. Mee, Roger Miller, John Moran, Robert Moran, Heiner Müller, Marsha Norman, Han Ong, Amanda Palmer, David Rabe, Franca Rame, Adam Rapp, Keith Reddin, Ronald Ribman, Paula Vogel, Derek Walcott, Naomi Wallace, and Robert Wilson.
Reputable stage directors who have collaborated with A.R.T. include: JoAnne Akalaitis, Andrei Belgrader, Anne Bogart, Steven Bogart, Lee Breuer, Robert Brustein, Liviu Ciulei, Ron Daniels, Liz Diamond, Joe Dowling, Michael Engler, Alvin Epstein, Dario Fo, Richard Foreman, David Gordon, Adrian Hall, Richard Jones, Michael Kahn, Jerome Kilty, Krystian Lupa, John Madden, David Mamet, Des McAnuff, Jonathan Miller, Tom Moore, David Rabe, François Rochaix, Robert Scanlan, János Szász, Peter Sellars, Andrei Şerban, Sxip Shirey, Susan Sontag, Marcus Stern, Slobodan Unkovski, Les Waters, David Wheeler, Frederick Wiseman, Robert Wilson, Robert Woodruff, Steven Mitchell Wright, Yuri Yeremin, Francesca Zambello, and Scott Zigler.
Notable producers include: Henry Louis Gates Jr., Tom McGrath, Lawrence E. Golub, David Goel, Gerald Jordan, Andrew Ory, Bethany M. Allen, and Sharlyn Heslam.
In 1987, the A.R.T. founded the Institute for Advanced Theater Training, a five-semester professional training program which includes a three-month period working and training at the Moscow Art Theatre School in Russia. The program provides training for graduate-level actors, dramaturgs, and voice students. From 1999 until 2016, this joint program conferred an M.F.A. from the Moscow Art Theatre School, along with a certificate of completion from Harvard. Beginning with the graduating class of 2017, students have been granted a master of liberal arts degree through the Harvard Extension School.
In July 2017, the U.S. Department of Education voiced concern over the worrisomely high debt-load of students completing the program. In response, the A.R.T. Institute announced a three-year pause in admissions, while it sought to improve student financial aid. It continues to negotiate with Harvard University about establishing an M.F.A. degree.
OBERON, sometimes referred to as Club Oberon, is a club theater venue that was built by the Carr Foundation in 2004 and opened in August 2009 as A.R.T.'s second venue. The A.R.T. opened the space in 2006 as the Zero Arrow Street Theater. The Onion Cellar was staged there Dec 2006-Jan 2207. A.R.T. originally used OBERON for the open ended residency of their production of The Donkey Show; however, American Repertory soon decided to convert the theater into a fully functioning club theater venue, fitting the philosophy developed by The Donkey Show's creator Randy Weiner.
Oberon will be closing by the end of December, 2021.
Before OBERON, A.R.T. used the old Hasty Pudding theater as a second space in addition to the Loeb Mainstage. A.R.T.'s Institute for Advanced Theater Training formerly used the sub-basement of the First Parish in Cambridge at Zero Church Street, as a flexible venue. In May, 2015 the A.R.T. staged an opera premiere at the Schubert Theater in Boston, their first use of that venue.