American Repertory Theater will move to Boston with help of $100 million gift

A new “research and performance center” will be built in Allston.

The American Repertory Theater, one of the nation’s leading regional theaters, is planning to move from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Boston, Harvard University said Thursday.

The university, which houses the theater, said it had received $100 million from hedge fund manager David Goel, who is a Harvard alumnus, and his wife, Stacey Goel, to begin fundraising and planning for what it is calling a “research and performance center” in Allston, a section of Boston just across the Charles River from Harvard Square. The center will include a new home for the ART.

Allston is already home to Harvard’s business school, as well as a planned science and engineering complex and some arts facilities.

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The university did not detail a timeline or price tag for the theater project, but said it expected that the ART would continue to present its work in Cambridge “for several years.”

The ART, founded in 1980 and led since 2008 by artistic director Diane Paulus, has had its share of ups and downs over the years, and has recently become more active in developing Broadway-bound shows. Most recently, those include “Jagged Little Pill,” the Alanis Morissette jukebox musical scheduled to open on Broadway this fall, and “Waitress,” which opened on Broadway in 2016 and is still running. The company won a special Tony Award for regional theaters in 1986 and has shared in Tony Awards for its role in developing revivals of “Porgy and Bess” and “Pippin” as well as the new play “All the Way.”

The theater over the years has had a graduate school that recently has come under criticism for the high debt being incurred by its students; the program is now on hiatus, and it is expected that its future will be among the subjects debated as the new campus is planned.

The Goels previously gave money for a theater and dance center at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire.

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