Robert Brustein first came to the College of Arts and Sciences as part of the Distinguished Visiting Scholars program in the spring of 2006. A year later, he became a Distinguished Scholar in Residence. Brustein has lectured in various classes on Shakespearian tragedies, directing and theatre crtiticism; met one-on-one with the Theatre Department's graduating seniors; and participated in the Academic Conferences and Discussions on campus. Since 2007, the Theatre Department has produced all three of his plays about the life and work of Shakespeare, The English Channel, as part of the Centennial Celebration and the official dedication of the C. Walsh Theatre; Mortal Terror, co-produced with Boston Playwrights' Theatre at the Modern Theatre; and The Last Will, co-produced with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company at the Modern Theatre.
During his career, Brustein, the founding director of the Yale Repertory and American Repertory Theatres, has overseen more than 200 productions, acting in eight and directing at least 12 of his own adaptations, including The Father; Ghosts; and the trilogy of Pirandello works; Six Characters in Search of an Author, Right You Are (If You Think You Are), and Tonight We Improvise. He is the author of 13 books about theatre and society, including Reimagining American Theatre, The Theatre of Revolt, Making Scenes - his memoir chronicling the days when he was dean of the Drama School at Yale, Who Needs Theatre, Dumbocracy in America, and Cultural Calisthenics, The Siege of the Arts, and his most recent book, Millennial Stages:Essays and Reveiws 2001-2005. Brustein's book, Who Needs Theatre?, won him his second George Jean Nathan Award for dramatic criticism. He has also won numerous awards for journalism, professional excellence in theare, outstanding creative achievement, and distinguished service to the arts. He was awarded the 2010 Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.