Robert Brustein

Remembering Robert Brustein

1927 – 2023

The American Repertory Theater’s Founding Artistic Director Robert Brustein passed away yesterday, October 29. My heart is with his wife Doreen Beinart, his son Daniel Brustein, stepson Peter Beinart, stepdaughter Jean Stern, and Bob’s grandchildren and extended family.

As artistic director, playwright, scholar, critic, and teacher, Bob was a luminary of the American theater and a transformative force in the regional theater movement. He founded Yale Repertory Theatre in 1966 and served as Dean of the Yale School of Drama from 1966 to 1979. Bob then came to Cambridge, where he became a Professor in Harvard’s English Department and founded the American Repertory Theater, opening our first season in 1980 with A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As the leader of these institutions, Bob supervised hundreds of productions. He also wrote original works and adaptations that premiered at the A.R.T., directed and acted in numerous productions, authored seminal books about the theater, and mentored countless undergraduate and graduate students, including actors, directors, voice students, and dramaturgs at the A.R.T.’s Institute for Advanced Theater Training. He was a true Renaissance man.

Bob championed his bold vision for the unique role of the theater in American life in his writing, directing, teaching, and his institutional leadership. He viewed the stage as a space for dialogue and debate. Under his leadership, the A.R.T. became a site for exchange between scholars, artists, and the public.

Bob’s impact on the American theater is immeasurable. He drew together and inspired artists from all over the world to make groundbreaking theatrical creations. As a college student at Harvard, I was in awe of Bob when I interviewed him for my senior thesis on The Living Theatre. I was forever marked by the daring productions that were produced at the A.R.T. under his leadership. Bob’s influence on me personally, and on the countless artists and staff members who worked with him, is enormous and profound. We look forward to celebrating Bob’s life and work and will apprise you of memorial events as they develop.

There would be no A.R.T. without Bob. Please join me, Executive Director Kelvin Dinkins, Jr., the  the A.R.T. staff in holding Bob and his family in our hearts today.


Diane Paulus
Terrie and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director