Toby Cole, an influential agent promoting theatre of social significance, credited with fostering native talents like Sam Shepard as well as contemporary European masters, and an important scholar through her widely used textbooks on acting, died on May 22 of complications after a hip fracture in Berkeley, Calif. She was 92.

From 1957 to 1973, she ran the Actors and Authors Agency in the Sardi Building and made this a one-woman crusade against the increasing commercialism of Broadway.

Starting out by helping resurrect the careers of actors caught in the McCarthy-era blacklist, she helped comic talent Zero Mostel gain recognition in Joyce’s Ulysses in Nighttown, Ionesco’s Rhinoceros and the successful musical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

She also represented Sam Jaffe, Richard Dysart, Dolph Sweet, Roberts Blossom and other important character actors, but turned increasingly to playwrights like Barbara Garson, whose anti-war MacBird was a cause celebre in the 1960s, and William Alfred, author of the Irish-American drama, Hogan’s Goat. An early champion of the emerging Sam Shepard, she was his first agent, guiding him from East Village one-act plays to major productions like Operation Sidewinder and The Tooth of Crime.

In obtaining recognition for the translations of theatre scholar Eric Bentley and others, she helped in the introduction and revival of the works of Bertolt Brecht in the United States. She also championed avant-garde writers like Peter Handke and Slawomir Mrozek, and helped arrange U.S. exposure for important and controversial voices in the British New Wave like Edward Bond (Saved), John Arden (Serjeant Musgrave’s Dance) and Ann Jellicoe (The Knack.) Later, she would also oversee New York premieres for David Hare, Simon Gray (Butley) and other major English playwrights. After he wrote comic one-act plays and the ill-fated The Last Analysis, novelist Saul Bellow also turned to Ms. Cole for her high standards and principled counsel. Along with Bellow, she promoted Nobel laureates in translation, including Pablo Neruda and Luigi Pirandello.

Toby Cole was born Marion Cholodenko, the daughter of Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine. Even as a student growing up in Newark, N.J., where she attended South Side High School, Ms. Cole joined groups that even went into burlesque houses to support labor organizing during the Depression. Blocked from attending college due to her activism, she soon moved to New York and participated in productions of the New Theater League and became a sometime booking agent for the organization, arranging tours for folk singers like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Leadbelly.

During the war years, she served as a librarian for Manhattan’s Russian-American Institute. She edited the first of her many anthologies, Acting: A Handbook of the Stanislavsky Method, in 1947 and followed her passion for the theatre by becoming a play reader, an assistant to the producer of the popular musical, Finian’s Rainbow, and an associate of the Lucy Kroll agency where she worked with James Earl Jones and other emerging actors.

In 1949, she began a collaboration with her sister-in-law, Helen Krich Chinoy, a Smith College professor of theatre, with Actors on Acting (originally Crown Publishers), a seminal textbook still being used on American college campuses. Directors on Directing (Bobbs-Merill) followed in 1953, and in 1960, Ms. Cole edited Playwrights on Playwriting, an important resource also still in print.

She first came to the Vineyard in 1954, and with her husband Aron Krich and in-laws Ely and Helen Chinoy, shared a house on Flanders Lane, Menemsha.

Increasingly frustrated by the direction of the American theatre and the politics of the Nixon years, Ms. Cole, who summered on the Vineyard, left the United States in 1973 along with her husband, the marriage counselor, book editor and poet Aron Krich.

She settled in Venice, Italy, and threw herself into preservation efforts there, become a guide to the Jewish ghetto and editing a popular portable reader, Venice, in 1979. A second anthology on Florence followed.

Moving to the San Francisco Bay area during her later years, she became a prolific programmer in the drama and literature department of listener-sponsored KPFA-FM. Between 1985 and 1999, she hosted and produced more than 100 original broadcasts that furthered theatre awareness and progressive causes on subjects from Steve Biko to Samuel Beckett, proletarian literature to labor history. The Toby Cole Archives are part of Special Collections at the University of California, Davis.

Survivors include her son, the novelist and journalist John Krich of Bangkok, Thailand, and a granddaughter, Amita.