Organized in 1994 as a “readers circle” centering on the Black theatrical canon and formally incorporated in 1996 as a nonprofit developmental theatre organization, The Robey Theatre Company is an award-winning, African American theatre arts organization. The organization’s founders, veteran actors Ben Guillory and Danny Glover, were long-time friends who loved theatre and believed in the transformational power of plays. And for a quarter-century, the organization has remained dedicated to the art of telling the critical and complex stories of the global black experience. As an organization, The Robey Theatre Company is committed to safeguarding the Black theatrical canon and dedicated to developing actors and playwrights who will sustain Black theatre for generations to come.
The Robey Theatre Company envisions a world where artistry encourages critical thinking and challenges each of us to see the humanity in ourselves and others. Its mission is “to foster a community of artists whose purpose is to develop and produce plays written about the global Black experience. At its core, the organization is committed to effecting social change and to the preservation, production, and reinterpretation of celebrated “Black Classics.”
Most known for its award-winning productions, the organization has also been committed to expanding its arts study programs that focus on actor and playwright development and internships in theatre and stage management. Along the way, The Robey Theatre Company has served as the training ground for some of the nation’s most recognized actors and credited with launching numerous extraordinary careers.
The Robey Theatre Company is a black box theatre that produces two full productions annually. In addition, the organization offers three ten-week sessions in Spring, Summer, and Fall. Producing Artistic Director Ben Guillory facilitates the Advanced Scene Study Workshop, and the Playwrights Lab is facilitated by resident dramaturg, Dylan Southard.
The organization, named after renowned humanitarian, artist, and activist Paul “Robey” Robeson, serves as curators of socially conscious theatrical performances that reflect its vision, mission, and values. In 2014, the organization established a biannual theatre festival in his honor. The Paul Robeson Theatre Festival is a three-day, short-play event that serves as an homage to Robey’s work and spirit by showcasing emerging playwrights and local actors.