A Message from the Dean

Since 1925, our diverse community has been privileged to teach, learn, question, and create on a campus at the heart of one of the world’s leading universities, supported by the extraordinary philanthropy of its alumni and friends. Evolving into the largest and most comprehensive graduate theater conservatory in the English-speaking world—the only one offering instruction in every discipline of the art form—David Geffen School of Drama at Yale University offers an abundant array of opportunities to interrogate and model artistic and managerial practice, on a path toward greater mastery.

The singular partnership of the School with Yale Repertory Theatre promotes the translation of aesthetic sensibilities into the language of the stage, with a particular emphasis on playwriting and the interpretation of new and extant texts. The application of theory to practice through collaboration in production is a central tenet of training here, and the integration of the School and Yale Rep—where students regularly serve in professional positions of significant responsibility—forges a relationship analogous to that of a medical school and a teaching hospital.

This is not inherently prescriptive; rather, ours is a multigenerational project in which robust creativity and respectful critique are valued both intrinsically in real time, and as habits of mind and body to be refined in a variety of lifelong pursuits. Graduates of the School apply their training to careers in professional theater, opera, dance, film, television, radio, and other media, as well as in teaching, scholarship, philanthropy, public policy, and less obvious fields too numerous to mention.

As is true of any school or theater, the most consequential decisions made in our community are these: who comes here to teach, who comes here to learn, and who comes here to work. In every case, we inclusively recruit those who are leading practitioners and those who show potential for leadership, and provide them with resources to energize their bravest and most responsible choices in the classroom, studio, rehearsal hall, onstage, in the field, and in the wider world.

This bulletin is the single best written introduction to our work that we can offer you. It is designed to reflect key premises of our training and practice, including the vast majority of the curriculum and the most significant policies of the School and Yale University: it reflects both our imperfections and our considered efforts to bring about much-needed change. Never before in the School’s history have we been so challenged to reflect on and rebuild our practices, in the context of a global pandemic, financial upheaval, and our keenly felt moral obligation both to acknowledge our history and to take steps to dismantle racism and anti-blackness in our pedagogy and theater making. As we return to production at the School and the Rep, we have an unprecedented opportunity to center anti-racist policy and practice in our work for years to come. We strive to build an increasingly inclusive art form joyfully recognizing our shared humanity, celebrating differences, and honoring the intersectionality of identities and cultures.

In an introductory document, we cannot presume to capture the breadth and possible influence on you of offerings here in Greater New Haven, including courses and programs at the other world-class graduate and professional schools and in Yale College; the cultural communities, institutions, restaurants, and shops; and the natural beauty of New England and its shoreline, in every season of the year.

So, we outline here what you might experience when you come to visit, and especially should you come to teach, learn, or work at David Geffen School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre. And whenever and however you do engage with our community, we look forward to welcoming you in the unique fellowship of live theater.

James Bundy

Elizabeth Parker Ware Dean and Professor of Drama, David Geffen School of Drama

Artistic Director, Yale Repertory Theatre