In Memoriam: Robert Blacker

Robert Blacker passed away on August 30, 2019, at the age of 71.

Dramaturgs across America owe a great deal to Robert Blacker. He was the first theatre artist that Joseph Papp acknowledged with the title for his work on Shakespeare in the Park. This important gesture on Joe’s part was one of the things that led to the proliferation of dramaturgs and literary managers and departments in theatres across the country. Robert Blacker was like Johnny Appleseed – spreading wisdom and inspiration to actors, playwrights, directors, and drama students from New York to California and on up into Canada.


In his biography, Bob Dylan points out that theatre artists practice their craft in the eternal present. If a 60-year-old teacher has a 20-year-old student and that student at 60 takes on a 20-year-old student, we’re only ten steps from Shakespeare himself. The theatre just lost a critical link in the chain, one who’s been vital to our generation and the generations to come.

-- Des McAnuff

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