Smith, his wife, Elise Stone, two other longtime Cocteau actors, and board members, including Brady Baxter, president, left the 30-year-old company last week because they did not like the direction the acting troupe was heading, the New York Times said Wednesday.
Smith, a mainstay of the Cocteau, acting in more than 200 productions at the 140-seat Bouwerie Lane Theater in the East Village, said he was resigning because he believed the theater was going "in a direction no longer meaningful to us" and "the passion was gone for doing the kind of plays" for which the Cocteau had been known.
Smith and Stone are forming the Phoenix Theater Ensemble, a group devoted to "actor-ensemble-driven work," Smith said.
The Phoenix plans to stage a benefit performance of Eric Bentley's "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?" at Symphony Space in October.