The Loeb Drama center opened in 1960 at Harvard, and while it is famous for housing the ART, the building is also home to the Harvard/Radcliffe Dramatic Club and the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training.

Hugh Stubbins designed the building in the mid-century modern style, which features glass walls and industrial materials, as well as the rectangular shapes seen in the Loeb. The building contains a 560-seat main theatre, a black box experimental theatre, a small scene shop, costume shop, three rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms, and storage. The Loeb puts on 400 shows per year—300 on the main stage and 100 in the black box.  

 As said above, 3 organizations operate out of the Loeb. The first is the Harvard/Radcliffe Dramatic Club, for whom the Loeb was built. Harvard does not have an academic theatre program and nearly all theatre is done as an extracurricular. The Harvard/Radcliffe Dramatic Club serves as the umbrella group for the theatre groups on campus, including the Gilbert and Sullivan Players and Black C.A.S.T. The dramatic club helps fund each of the above groups and chooses two shows to be produced on the main stage and 5-7 shows to be produced in the black box.

The Institute for Advanced Theatre Training also operates out of the Loeb. The institute was created by the ART in 1987 and is a non-degree granting professional training program for actors, directors, and dramaturges. The institute offers two-year programs in conjunction with the Moscow Art Theater School. Students spend one year at each institution. The institute is selective, only allowing 23 students to matriculate each year.

The American Repertory Theatre is probably the best-known user of the Loeb. The ART was not originally located at the Loeb, however. Artistic director Robert Brustein founded the ART in 1966 at Yale. Due to a public rift, Brustein transplanted the company to Harvard, where it has remained since. The ART is a non-profit organization, well known for its experimental theatre, experimental to the point where people walk out of the show. In fact after season 2, over half the organization’s subscribers left. Despite this loss of viewers, the ART continued, not only to push the boundaries, but also to win back audiences and critics alike. Brustein left his post as artistic director in 2002 and was replaced by Robert Woodruff, who left in 2008. The current artistic director is Diane Paulus, whose recent production of Porgy and Bess won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. Porgy and Bess is not the only ART show to have won coveted theatre awards. In 1983, the ART’s production of ‘Night Mother won the Pulitzer Prize for drama.

The ART’s stage has also been graced by famous actors. Anna Deveare Smith, F. Murray Abraham, Christopher Walken, and Cherry Jones have all taken part in ART productions. The ART stages four shows a year at the Loeb and two at its second stage on Arrow St, Oberon. To learn more about Oberon, click here.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.com