Since 1976 the American Renaissance Theater Company has been dedicated to the development and production of new works by a multi-generational company of professional playwrights, actors and directors.

In 1974, when actors Robert Elston and Elizabeth Perry were touring in Shot in the Dark, they determined that upon their return to New York they would pool their resources and form a workshop where theater artists could expand their abilities, reach into all areas of creativity in the theater, and regain the breadth of expression that was afforded “a simple player” before the age of specialization. 

The American Renaissance Theater was formed in 1975. Ms. Perry brought to the nascent theater company members from her own group, Projects 70’s, and the New York Tea Party, which included members from the APA-Phoenix Repertory Company and another ARTC founding member, Etain O’Malley. Mr. Elston invited colleagues who included Larry Kramer, Richard Morse, and Janet Hayes Walker, who subsequently formed the York Theatre Company. Other founding members were Martha Schlamme, John Astin, Kent Broadhurst, Anthony Call, Patty Duke, Anita Keal, Scotty Bloch, Anita Khanzadian, and Susan Reed. At its incorporation in January of 1976, the new theater group was given the name “Renaissance” by its members, a group of renaissance men and women.  

Since its inception, ARTC has been a home to nearly five hundred professional actors, writers, directors, composers and musicians—theatre artists from a diversity of backgrounds who have found a congenial, stimulating environment in which to expand their resources and creativity. Plays developed through ARTC’s workshop process have moved on to subsequent productions on Broadway, Off Broadway, and in America’s leading regional theaters.

The original impulse of the founders of the American Renaissance Theater Company was to bring together professionals who wished to expand their skills. They were professionals who had entrepreneurial ambitions and needed a broader overall ability to create works and contribute to their own destiny. ARTC is devoted to the development of new American plays and performance pieces and to the further growth of American actors, directors, playwrights and composers.

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