Co-Artistic Director, Pacific Stages
Robert Bailey brings to Pacific Stages a passion for storytelling which has inspired his life’s work as a director, actor, teacher and collaborator with emerging playwrights. Raised in Virginia, he attended Brown University in Providence, R.I., majoring in Theatre Arts and Dramatic Literature, and was awarded upon graduation with a Samuel Arnold Fellowship for independent study abroad. Bailey used the fellowship to travel first to Wroclaw, Poland for an encounter with renowned theatrical innovator Jerzy Grotowski at the Polish Laboratory Theatre, and subsequently to journey throughout Europe and Africa on a voyage that took him to such diverse cultural destinations as the Berliner Ensemble in Germany, Eugenio Barba’s Odin Teatret in Denmark and sculptress Susanne Wenger’s massive restoration of the sacred Yoruba shrines in Oshogbo, West Nigeria.
Upon his return to the United States, Bailey became a founding member of the Washington Theatre Laboratory, an experimental troupe in the nation’s capital which presented adaptations of works by Brecht, Williams, Hans Christian Andersen and novelist John Hawkes. In addition to acting and directing for the Lab, he co-produced each season with fellow artists Anthony Abeson and Caroline Aaron, taught acting classes, and coordinated special programs with Gallaudet College for the Deaf and a drug rehabilitation center in the rural town of Westminster, Maryland.
After moving to New York City, Bailey became associated with several of the leading off-Broadway theatres, including Circle Repertory Company, Ensemble Studio Theatre, American Place Theatre and the Actors Studio. His productions of Borderlines by John Bishop (Circle Repertory Company) and Lilith by Allan Havis (Home for Contemporary Theatre and Art) won praise in the New York Times, New York Magazine and the Village Voice. He focused increasingly on new work, forging relationships with playwrights and helping them through the painstaking process of readings, workshops and performances that contribute to the final form of the play. With his own company, Theatre Limits, he produced and directed plays by Joel Gross and Allan Havis, and mounted his own adaptation of Michel de Ghelderode’s
A Night of Pity after several months of experimentation with his cast. At the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts, he directed Don Rifkin’s A Brief Period of Time and Dallas Murphy, Jr.’ The Terrorists in the Extension Theatre and coordinated the New Play Reading Series.
Along with directors Frank Corsaro and Otto Preminger, Robert was a staff instructor for several years at the Corner Loft Studio in New York, and also conducted workshops and master classes for Brown University, Sarah Lawrence College, Foundation for the Creative Community, Billy Siegenfeld and Dancers, and others. He also served as a private acting coach. These teaching experiences laid the foundation for subsequent work on the graduate and undergraduate levels at UC San Diego, UCLA, University of Southern California and Brown University, where Bailey has conducted classes in acting and directing, and has also directed in several MFA Playwriting programs, staging first productions of new plays by graduate playwrights.
In Los Angeles, Robert earned critical kudos for his direction of Bishop’s Borderline and Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, but he also discovered a renewed passion for acting as a member of Pacific Resident Theatre, appearing in lead roles in productions of Wedekind’s Lulu, David Rabe’s A Question of Mercy, Charles L. Mee’s Big Love, Jon Lee’s Blood and Milk, and Sean O’Casey’s Shadow of a Gunman. He also ventured into filmmaking as director-producer. His 29-minute short dramatic film Last Call won three awards at the Breckenridge Festival of Film in Colorado (Best Short, Best Actor, Best Actress) and also was an official selection at film festivals in Avignon, Sedona, Long Island, Queens, Los Angeles and New York City. Last Call is featured on the DVD Second Sight: Cinequest Favorite Short Films, Volume One.
Robert Bailey’s ability to motivate collaborators in the telling of vivid, character-driven stories has energized his diverse experience as producer, director, actor, teacher and filmmaker. and guides his inspiration as Associate Artistic Director of Pacific Stages..