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The Mirror Theater was founded by Sabra Jones in 1983, who was also the Founding Artistic Director. The first program of the theater was the Mirror Repertory Company (MRC). Founding members of the company included Eva La Gallienne, John Strasberg, and Geraldine Page. Sabra Jones reached out to Ellis Rabb, Artistic Director of the APA Phoenix Repertory Company, John Houseman of the Mercury Theater, and Eva La Gallienne of the Civic Repertory Theatre Company. The company was intended to be "an alternating repertory company in the classic sense" of actor-manager leadership, which Rabb, Houseman, and La Gallienne pioneered. Alternating repertory refers to when one company performs a variety of plays in the same season with the same actors, which was formerly a mainstay of theater tradition. This system has been attributed with helping actors grow in their craft through a wide variety of roles. MRC was funded in its inception primarily by philanthropist Laurence Rockefeller, with additional donations from philanthropists and actors such as Paul Newman, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, and others.

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