American Repertory Theater

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.[1] 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).[2] 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. [3] The A.R.T. is housed in the Loeb Drama Center at Harvard University. The A.R.T. houses the Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University and the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club.

American Repertory Theater
American Repertory Theater, Cambridge MA.jpg
Loeb Drama Center
AddressLoeb Drama Center
64 Brattle Street

2 Arrow Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts
United States
Coordinates42°22′29.84″N 71°7′21.54″W / 42.3749556°N 71.1226500°W / 42.3749556; -71.1226500Coordinates: 42°22′29.84″N 71°7′21.54″W / 42.3749556°N 71.1226500°W / 42.3749556; -71.1226500
TypeRegional theater
CapacityLoeb Drama Center: 556
Years active1980 to present

In 2002 Robert Woodruff replaced founder Robert Brustein as the A.R.T.'s Artistic Director.[4] 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. [4] 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. [5] [6] [7]


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.[1] 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.[4] In 2008, Diane Paulus became the new artistic director.[4]

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 Theatre has staged, over half were premieres of new plays, translations, and adaptations. [8] The A.R.T. has performed throughout the U.S. and worldwide in 21 cities in 16 countries on four continents.[8] 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.[9]

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. [10][11] 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). [12] The A.R.T. also received the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater, the Pulitzer Prize, and multiple Elliot Norton and IRNE awards. [8] Its premiere production of Death and The Powers: The Robots’ Opera was a 2012 Pulitzer Prize finalist. [13]


2019-2020 seasonEdit

  • SIX. Written by Toby Marlow & Lucy Moss, choreography by Carrie-Anne Ingrouille, musically supervised by Joe Beighton, musically directed by Roberta Duchak, orchestrations by Tim Curran, directed by Lucy Moss & Jamie Armitage
  • Black Light”. Created by Daniel Alexander Jones, original songs by Jomama Jones. Featuring Bobby Halvorson, Laura Jean Anderson, Dylan Meek, and Josh Quat
  • Moby-Dick. Music, lyrics, book, and orchestrations by Dave Malloy, musically directed by Or Matias, choreography by Chanel DaSilva, directed by Rachel Chavkin
  • Thumbelina: A Little Musical. Book, music, and lyrics by Julia Riew, musically directed by Julia Riew & Ian Chan, choreography by Ryan Kapur, directed by Emma Watt
  • Gloria: A Life. Written by Emily Mann, directed by Diane Paulus
  • MacBeth In Stride. Created & performed by Whitney White, directed by Tyler Dobrowsky & Taibi Magar
  • 1776. Music & lyrics by Sherman Edwards, book by Peter Stone, directed by Diane Paulus & Jeffrey L. Page, choreography by Jeffrey L. Page

2018–2019 seasonEdit

  • The Black Clown. Adapted by Davóne Tines & Michael Schachter, music by Michael Schacter, musically directed by Jaret Landon, choreography by Chanel DaSilva, directed by Zack Winokur.
  • ExtraOrdinary. Written by Dick Scanlan, choreography by Abbey O’Brien, musically directed by Lance Horne, directed by Diane Paulus. Featuring Patina Miller, Norm Lewis, Rachel Bay Jones, Lea DeLaria, Gavin Creel, Carolee Carmello, and Elizabeth Stanley
  • Barber Shop Chronicles. Written by Inua Ellams, directed by Bijan Sheibani, design by Rae Smith
  • The Emperor’s New Clothes. Book by Eliya Smith, music by Sasha Yakub, lyrics by Sarah Rossman, choreography by Ryan Kapur, directed by Mitchell Pononsky
  • Othello. Written by William Shakespeare, directed by Bill Rauch
  • Endlings. Written by Celine Song, directed by Sammi Cannold. Featuring Wai Ching Ho, Emily Kuroda, Jiehae Park, and Jo Yang
  • We Live in Cairo. Book, music, & lyrics by Daniel Lazour & Patrick Lazour, musical arrangements by Daniel Lazour & Michael Starobin, musically directed Madeline Smith, choreography by Samar Haddad King, and directed by Taibi Magar

2017–2018 seasonEdit

2016–2017 seasonEdit

2015–2016 seasonEdit

2014–2015 seasonEdit

  • Finding Neverland
  • O.P.C.
  • The Light Princess
  • Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3)
  • The Last Two People on Earth: An Apocalyptic Vaudeville"
  • Crossing, a new American opera

2013–2014 seasonEdit

2012–2013 seasonEdit

2011–2012 seasonEdit

2010–2011 seasonEdit

2009–2010 seasonEdit

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.

FESTIVAL No. 01: Shakespeare ExplodedEdit

FESTIVAL No. 02: America: Boom, Bust, and BaseballEdit

2008–2009 seasonEdit

2007–2008 seasonEdit

  • Don Juan Giovanni and Figaro directed by Dominique Serrand in association with Theatre de la Jeune Lune. In repertory August 31 - October 6, 2007 at the Loeb Drama Center.
  • Donnie Darko adapted and directed by Marcus Stern, based on the film by Richard Kelly. October 27 - November 18 at the Zero Arrow Theater.
  • No Child... written and performed by Nilaja Sun. November 23 - December 23 at the Loeb Drama Center.
  • Copenhagen (play) written by Michael Frayn and directed by Scott Zigler. January 5 - February 3 at the Loeb Drama Center.
  • Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. Directed by Arthur Nauzyciel. February 9 - March 22 at the Loeb Drama Center.
  • Elections & Erections: A Chronicle of Fear & Fun by Pieter-Dirk Uys. April 2 - May 4 at the Zero Arrow Theater.
  • Cardenio by Charles Mee and Stephen Greenblatt. Directed by Les Waters. May 10 - June 1 at the Loeb Drama Center.

Notable CollaboratorsEdit

The American Repertory Theatre 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.

Educational institutionEdit

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.[9] 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,[16] 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.[16]

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.[16]

Performance venuesEdit


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.[17] Once known as the Zero Arrow Street Theater, 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.

Other venuesEdit

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 ART staged an opera premiere at the Schubert Theater in Boston, their first use of that venue.[18]


  1. ^ a b Brustein, Robert Sanford (2001). "The Arts at Harvard", in: The Siege of the Arts: Collected Writings 1994-2001 (snippet preview only). Chicago : Ivan R. Dee. ISBN 9781566633802. p. 21-30; here: p. 27.
  2. ^ Mitgang, Herbert."Jujamcyn Award To American Repertory Theater" New York Times (abstract), November 26, 1985. p. C19
  3. ^ Gans, Andrew (27 May 2003). "Time Magazine Picks Top Regional Theatres". Playbill.
  4. ^ a b c d Harvard, University (22 May 2008). "Diane Paulus appointed artistic director of the american repertory theatre". Harvard Gazette.
  5. ^ Rizzo, Frank (17 September 2009). "The Donkey Show". Variety.
  6. ^ Franklin, Marc (31 March 2019). "Look Back at Diane Paulus' Revival of Hair on Broadway". Playbill.
  7. ^ Children’s, Theatre Company (2020). "Diane Paulus". Children’s Theatre Company.
  8. ^ a b c BBW, News Desk (8 January 2011). "American Repertory Theatre Closes THE BLUE FLOWER 1/8". BroadwayWorld.
  9. ^ a b Bennetts, Leslie (9 September 1986). "Theater Training Institute is Established at Harvard". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Aucoin, Don (16 October 2009). "Make your own 'Macbeth'".
  11. ^ Fanger, Iris (29 November 2012). "Cambridge's A.R.T.'s got 'Magic To Do' with high-flying 'Pippin'". MetroWestDailyNews.
  12. ^ American, Repertory (2020). "Awards at A.R.T." American Repertory Archives.
  13. ^ The Pulitzer, Prizes (2020). "Finalist: Death and the Powers, by Tod Machover". Pulitzer.
  14. ^ Porgy and Bess "Listing, 'Porgy and Bess', 2011", accessed June 30, 2011
  15. ^ "About the Prometheus Project". American Repertory Theater. 15 February 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  16. ^ a b c Haigney, Sophie (August 7, 2017). "$78,000 of Debt for a Harvard Theater Degree. New York Times. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  17. ^ Performance Spaces: Oberson" Cambridge History website
  18. ^ American, Repertory (29 May 2015). "Crossing". American Rep.

External linksEdit