Yale University.Calendar.Directories.

Departmental Requirements and Courses of Instruction

Acting (M.F.A. and Certificate)

Ron Van Lieu, Chair

The Acting department admits talented and committed individuals who possess an active intelligence, a strong imagination, and a physical and vocal instrument capable of development and transformation, and prepares them for work as professional actors. The program of study combines in-depth classroom training with extensive production work. At the conclusion of their training, individuals will be prepared to work on a wide range of material and in a variety of venues.

The first year is a highly disciplined period of training. The first production opportunity comes at the end of the first term with the presentation of collaboratively created projects adapted from source material assigned by the faculty (Drama 50a, The Collaborative Process). Following the Drama 50 projects, the first-year actors begin work on the New Play Lab. At the conclusion of the New Play Lab, students in good standing enter the casting pool for Yale School of Drama productions. The year begins with a concentration on realism, and at the beginning of the second term, actors are introduced to text work. Students who have demonstrated and developed their talent during the year will be invited by the faculty to return for a second year of training.

Second-year work expands the focus into verse drama, with emphasis on understanding and performing the works of Shakespeare. Students strengthen their skills and attain a higher level of ensemble work through their classes and through increasing production assignments. In the second term of the second year, the work shifts to other writers such as Molière, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, etc. The third year is spent exploring the varied material of contemporary theater.

Yale School of Drama production opportunities include work in a diverse season of directors’ thesis productions, Shakespeare Repertory Projects, and new plays by student playwrights. All casting is assigned by the chair of the Acting department (pending approval by the dean) based on the developmental needs of each student and on the needs of the project as articulated by its director. Actors should take note of the casting policy, described under Departmental Assignments. During the school year, acting in projects outside the School of Drama is discouraged, and permission to do so is rarely given.

Yale Repertory Theatre serves as an advanced training center for the department. All acting students work at Yale Rep as understudies, observing and working alongside professional actors and directors. Many have the opportunity to appear in roles during the season, depending upon their appropriateness to the parts available. Through work at Yale Repertory Theatre, those students who are not members of Actors’ Equity will attain membership upon graduation.

Yale Cabaret provides an additional, although strictly extracurricular, outlet for the exploration of a wide range of material: serious, absurdist, improvisational, and musical. The department’s associate chair works directly with the Yale Cabaret artistic directors regarding approval of Cabaret participation by actors. Actors who are double cast may not participate in Yale Cabaret productions.

Plan of Study: Acting

Students are required to attend all classes in their curriculum.

Required Sequence

  • Year
  • Course
  • Subject
  • I
  • DRAM 6a/b
  • Survey of Theater and Drama
  • DRAM 50a
  • The Collaborative Process
  • DRAM 51b
  • New Play Lab
  • DRAM 103a/b
  • Acting I
  • DRAM 113a/b
  • Voice I
  • DRAM 123a/b
  • Speech I
  • DRAM 133a/b
  • Body as Source
  • DRAM 143a/b
  • Alexander Technique I
  • DRAM 153a
  • New Games
  • DRAM 163b
  • Text Analysis I
  • DRAM 320b
  • Actor-Director Lab
  • DRAM 333a
  • Yoga I
  • DRAM 340b
  • Directing Lab on Greek Tragedy
  • DRAM 403a/b
  • Stage Combat I
  • II
  • DRAM 163a
  • Text Analysis II
  • DRAM 203a/b
  • Acting II
  • DRAM 213a/b
  • Voice II
  • DRAM 223a/b
  • Speech II
  • DRAM 243a/b
  • Alexander Technique II
  • DRAM 263a
  • Clown
  • DRAM 273a
  • Dance for Actors
  • DRAM 405a
  • Stage Combat II
  • DRAM 413a/b
  • Singing II
  • III
  • DRAM 253a
  • Commedia
  • DRAM 303a/b
  • Acting III
  • DRAM 313a/b
  • Voice III
  • DRAM 323a/b
  • Speech III: Interview Project/Voice-Over Workshop
  • DRAM 343a/b
  • Alexander Technique III
  • DRAM 363a
  • Creating Actor-Generated Work
  • DRAM 373a/b
  • Yoga III
  • DRAM 423a/b
  • Singing III
  • DRAM 433a
  • Acting for Camera
  • DRAM 433b
  • Audition and Professional Preparation
  • DRAM 533b
  • Audition Workshop

Courses of Instruction

DRAM 6a/b, Survey of Theater and Drama See description under Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism.

DRAM 50a, The Collaborative Process See description under Directing.

DRAM 51b, New Play Lab See description under Playwriting.

DRAM 103a/b, Acting I Scene study in the first year begins with a concentration on the works of American writers such as Tennessee Williams, Eugene O’Neill, August Wilson, Suzan Lori-Parks, Tony Kushner, and others. In the second term the concentration shifts to the realistic works of Chekhov and Ibsen. Through rigorous attention to the text, students learn to identify and personalize a character’s driving need (objective) and to engage themselves (voice, body, mind, and spirit) in its active pursuit, informed by character-specific listening. Ron Van Lieu

DRAM 113a/b, Voice I The first year of voice training is structured as a progression of exercises/experiences designed to liberate the individual’s natural voice from habitual psychophysical tensions; to connect image, intention, and emotion to breath and sound; to develop the voice’s potential for expression and awaken the actor’s appetite for language; and to promote vocal ease, clarity, power, stamina, range, and sensitivity to impulse. Walton Wilson

DRAM 123a/b, Speech I Speech training seeks to broaden the actor’s range of vocal and imaginative expression and to deepen the actor’s sensory relationship to language. The exploration of phonetics encourages flexibility, specificity, and variety. The approach is actively rooted in the whole body; for example, the International Phonetic Alphabet is acquired in conjunction with physical work so that the sounds become kinesthetically linked to the body, rather than only to the articulating surfaces of the mouth. Dialects are explored as a transformational acting tool in connection with dramatic texts. Jane Guyer Fujita

DRAM 133a/b, Body as Source This class focuses on the relationship between physical precision and spontaneity. Students are encouraged to temporarily shed the “social body” in order to access and embody the farther reaches of the imagination, to deepen the body/emotion connection, and to strengthen their abilities to commit more fully, directly, and immediately to physical impulses and acting choices. The class utilizes various training exercises and includes some application to character creation, the playing of actions, and use of text. Erica Fae

DRAM 143a/b, Alexander Technique I Offered in all three years through class work and private tutorials, this work develops the actor’s kinesthetic awareness, fosters balance and alignment, and, through breath work, promotes the connection between voice and body. Jessica Wolf

DRAM 153a, New Games This course explores the actor’s playful spirit and the notion of the theatrical event as “game.” Through a series of games and improvisation and composition exercises, students develop complicity with fellow actors/the audience and discover qualities of openness, spontaneity, generosity, and attack as they are encouraged to take risks, access their imagination, and play fully with their voice and body. Exercises explore status, focus, scale, presence, flow, and impulse while delving into the mysterious nature of “le jeu,” the actor’s pleasure in playing. Justine Williams

DRAM 163a, Text Analysis II This course seeks to provide students with tools to mine the printed text for given circumstances, character, objective, and action, noting the opportunities and limitations that the printed play script presents, and promoting the freedom and responsibility of the actor as an interpretive artist. James Bundy

DRAM 163b, Text Analysis I See description under DRAM 163a. James Bundy

DRAM 203a/b Acting II Second-year work expands the focus on verse drama, with continued emphasis on understanding and performing the works of Shakespeare. Projects are designed to allow each student to perform in a play by Shakespeare. In the second term the focus switches to an emphasis on heightened and extended language through contact with writers such as Molière, Shaw, Wilde, and so on. Text work continues. Peter Francis James, Evan Yionoulis

DRAM 213a/b, Voice II In the second year of voice training, students focus on meeting the demands of heightened text with rigorous clarity, emotional depth, and generosity of scale. Continued release work on the body, coupled with a larger array of vocal skills and increased imaginative capacity, give actors access to their most expansive selves in order to serve the characters in classical plays. Walton Wilson, Grace Zandarski

DRAM 223a/b, Speech II The second year of speech training continues to expand the actor’s range of vocal and imaginative expression and deepen sensory relationship to language as applied to dramatic texts. Intensive study of dialects and a detailed model of American English provide multiple opportunities for the experience of character transformation and creating idiolect. Beth McGuire

DRAM 243a/b, Alexander Technique II See description under DRAM 143a/b. Gwen Ellison

DRAM 253a, Commedia This course explores the classical archetypes of the commedia dell’arte. It makes use of mask, physical articulation, sound, and rhythm to develop the transformational power of the actors. When the mask is alive and impulses begin to travel with abandon through the physical psychology of the body, the student begins to understand the actor/audience relationship in all its ferocious beauty. The work is primarily improvisational with the actor/creator at the center of the theatrical conversation. Christopher Bayes

DRAM 263a, Clown This course focuses on the discovery of the playful self through exercises in rhythm, balance, generosity, and abandon. The blocks and filters that prevent the actor from following impulses fully are removed. It allows the actor to listen with the body and begin to give more value to the pleasure of performance. Once the actor learns to play without worry, he or she begins to discover the personal clown that lives in the center of the comic world. Christopher Bayes

DRAM 273a, Dance for Actors This class explores some anatomical fundamentals of movement through a rigorous daily warm-up. Movement phrases are embodied investigating weight, intention, direction, and freedom. Original movement creations, musical theater styles, contact improvisation, and some vernacular dance forms are also done in class, culminating in combinations of text and movement where creative freedom in the physical realm is emphasized. Warm-up clothes are worn. Lori Leshner

DRAM 303a/b, Acting III Scene study begins with the study of Brecht and different approaches to action. Students tackle modern and contemporary material to discover how technique is adapted to the requirements of varying texts. Audition material for the Actor Showcase in New York and Los Angeles is selected and developed. Ron Van Lieu, Evan Yionoulis

DRAM 313a/b, Voice III See description under DRAM 113a/b and DRAM 213a/b. Walton Wilson, Grace Zandarski

DRAM 320b, Actor-Director Lab See description under Directing.

DRAM 323a/b, Speech III: Interview Project/Voice-Over Workshop The third year of speech training is structured as a series of tutorials focused on character development and vocal transformation in connection with the Interview Project, a collaboration with acting teacher Evan Yionoulis that results in a full performance event. The Voice-Over Workshop introduces actors to commercial voice-over techniques. The acting students collaborate with sound design students to create individual digital voice-over samples. Beth McGuire, Billy Serow

DRAM 333a, Yoga I Yoga and Qigong are the entry points into a vigorous, physical practice designed to deepen your connection to your breath and encourage release into the shifting energies in your body and mind. Annie Piper

DRAM 340b, Directing Lab on Greek Tragedy See description under Directing.

DRAM 343a/b, Alexander Technique III See description under DRAM 143a/b. Jessica Wolf

DRAM 363a, Creating Actor-Generated Works The goal of this course is to create actor-generated works for the theater. A student answers these questions: What is he or she passionate about? What is he or she longing to express? What are his or her concerns and desires? Using many techniques of discovery and exploration, the actors create theater works that spring from the answers to these questions. The resulting works celebrate the actor’s individuality and diversity, encouraging access to ethnic roots and traditions. Joan MacIntosh

DRAM 373a/b, Yoga III This course is a detailed introduction to the practice of vinyasa hatha yoga, primarily informed by the Kripalu and ashtanga lineages. Class meetings are spent reviewing fundamental postures (“asanas”), plus their variations, and examining primary breathing techniques (“pranayama”) in conjunction with these postures. Supplemental reading and brief writing assignments investigate the mental and ethical underpinnings of this ancient discipline, and their relationship to the work on (and off) the mat. Students of all levels are welcome. Annie Piper

DRAM 403a/b, Stage Combat I Unarmed combat in the first year prepares the actor to execute stage violence effectively and safely. Skills of concentration, partner-awareness, and impulse-response are also fostered in this work. Michael Rossmy, Rick Sordelet

DRAM 405a, Stage Combat II Armed combat in the second year prepares the actor to execute stage violence effectively and safely. Skills of concentration, partner-awareness, and impulse-response are also fostered in this work. Michael Rossmy, Rick Sordelet

DRAM 413a/b, Singing II Through classes and tutorials in years two and three, this work explores the interplay among imagination, intention, breath, and the coordinated physical processes that result in a free and expressive singing voice. The actors gain experience in acting sung material through the active investigation of the emotional, linguistic, and musical demands in songs and musical scene work. Vicki Shaghoian

DRAM 423a/b, Singing III See description under DRAM 413a/b. Vicki Shaghoian

DRAM 433a, Acting for Camera In this workshop, third-year students become comfortable in front of the camera, learning how to transfer the work they do to the medium of film. On-camera audition techniques are taught. Ellen Novack

DRAM 433b, Audition and Professional Preparation Through practice auditions of varied material and visits from industry professionals (working actors, agents, casting agents, and directors), third-year actors acquire the information and skills they need to make the transition into the professional world. In their final term, students choose and rehearse scenes which are presented to agents, casting agents, and producers in New York and Los Angeles. Ellen Novack, Ron Van Lieu

DRAM 533b, Audition Workshop This is a practical course in audition preparation and presentation. Each week students prepare audition scenes or monologues. Assignments are constructed with the goal of having students become comfortable and confident auditioning in a variety of material and settings, so that they can feel free to reveal themselves in each role. Other topics in career preparation are also covered, including agent interviews and communication. Evan Yionoulis

Return to Top

Design (M.F.A. and Certificate)

Stephen Strawbridge, Michael Yeargan, Cochairs

The purpose of the Design department is to develop theater artists who are masterful designers in set, costume, lighting, projection, and sound for the theater. The department encourages students to discover their own process of formulating design ideas, to develop a discriminating standard for their own endeavors, and above all to prepare for a creative and meaningful professional life in the broad range of theater activities.

In the belief that theater is a collaborative art, it is hoped that through their Yale School of Drama experience design students discover a true sense of joy in working with other people, especially directors, and realize the excitement of evolving a production through the process of collaboration.

Finally, the department endeavors to create an atmosphere conducive to creative experimentation, tempered by honest, open criticism and disciplined study.

Theater is an act of transformation, and for designers it is the transformation of words into visual and musical imagery. Set, costume, and, to a certain extent, lighting and projection designers must have the capacity for visual expression, with its foundation set firmly in the ability to draw and sketch clearly and expressively. Drawing is not merely a technique for presentation; it is the language that reveals one’s thoughts, and thus creates a dialogue among the director, the designers, and their colleagues. Through drawing, one observes and records one’s world. Drawing informs and clarifies one’s vision and is an integral part of the formulation of a design. Drawing should be as natural to the visual designer as speaking; therefore, to keep their drawing skills honed, all design students are required to take a weekly life drawing class offered by the department.

Students are admitted to the department on the basis of their artistic abilities as shown in their portfolios, as well as their commitment to the theater and their ability to articulate their ideas.

Each entering class is unique, with the ratio of set to costume to lighting to projection designers varying according to the qualifications of the applicants. Approximately twelve students are admitted each year. The Design department faculty make a strong, personal commitment to each student that is accepted. There is no second-tier status. All students participate at the same level and are expected to complete the program of study.

The student’s training is accomplished through approximately equal parts classroom work and production experience. It is understood that students of visual design will study set, costume, lighting, and projection design in all three years. There are certain exceptions. For example, projection designers can substitute sound design for one of the other visual design disciplines. The culmination of this training is the Master Class in Design, taken by all visual design students in the third year, in which a number of unified projects and a thesis project are presented to the combined faculty in the course of two terms.

It is recognized that some students are stronger in some areas than they are in others, and allowance is made for this fact in production assignments. For the first year, and to a limited extent in the second year, students may be assigned to assist a designer without regard to such strengths. When assignments are made as principal designer of one aspect of a production, chiefly in the second and third years, such an assignment usually reflects the student’s strengths and career expectations.

Sound design students who are admitted into the Design department are also required to take introductory visual design classes in an attempt to develop a common body of knowledge within the entire design team, and to provide opportunities for all designers to develop collaborative communication and presentation skills.

Designing for Yale Cabaret

The permission of the Design department cochairs is necessary in order to participate in any capacity in a Yale Cabaret production.

Plan of Study: Set, Costume, and Lighting Design

Required Sequence

Year

Course

Subject

  • I
  • DRAM 112a/b
  • Scene Design: Background and Practice
  • DRAM 115a/b
  • Costume Design: Background and Practice
  • DRAM 122a/b
  • Stagecraft for Designers
  • DRAM 124a/b
  • Introduction to Lighting Design (non-lighting designers)
  • DRAM 134a/b
  • Advanced Problems in Stage Lighting (lighting designers only)
  • DRAM 158a
  • Introduction to Sound Design (lighting and projection designers only)
  • DRAM 162a/b
  • Life Drawing Studio
  • DRAM 172a/b
  • Digital Imaging for Designers
  • DRAM 189a
  • Costume Production (set and costume designers only)
  • DRAM 189b
  • Fabric and Fabric Manipulation (set and costume designers only)
  • DRAM 222a/b
  • Drafting for Designers (set and lighting designers only)
  • DRAM 224a/b
  • Introduction to Projection Design
  • DRAM 234a/b
  • Visual Storytelling

Assignments as assistant designer

  • II
  • DRAM 6a/b
  • Survey of Theater and Drama
  • DRAM 89b
  • Costume Construction (costume designers only)
  • DRAM 132a/b
  • Advanced Problems in Scene Design
  • DRAM 134a/b
  • Advanced Problems in Stage Lighting (non-lighting designers)
  • DRAM 135a/b
  • Advanced Problems in Costume Design
  • DRAM 152a/b
  • Scene Painting (set designers only)
  • DRAM 158a
  • Introduction to Sound Design (set and costume designers only)
  • DRAM 162a/b
  • Life Drawing Studio
  • DRAM 164a/b
  • Professional Stage Lighting Design (lighting designers only)
  • DRAM 289a
  • Patternmaking (costume designers only)
  • Design assignments for School of Drama productions
  • III
  • DRAM 142a/b
  • Master Class in Design for the Stage
  • DRAM 162a/b
  • Life Drawing Studio
  • DRAM 174a/b
  • Advanced Professional Stage Lighting Design (lighting designers only)
  • Two one-term electives
  • Design assignments for School of Drama productions and possible design assignments for Yale Repertory Theatre
  • Thesis Project: a comprehensive design project incorporating scenery, costumes, and lighting for a production

Courses of Instruction

DRAM 6a/b, Survey of Theater and Drama See description under Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism.

DRAM 89b, Costume Construction See description under Technical Design and Production. Required for costume designers. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Robin Hirsch

DRAM 102a/b, Scene Design An introduction for all non-design students to the aesthetics and the process of scenic design through critique and discussion of weekly projects. Emphasis is given to the examination of the text and the action of the play, the formulation of design ideas, the visual expression of the ideas, and especially the collaboration with directors and all other designers. Three hours a week. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Ming Cho Lee, Michael Yeargan

DRAM 112a/b, Scene Design: Background and Practice An introductory course for all designers in conjunction with DRAM 102a/b. Ming Cho Lee, Michael Yeargan

DRAM 114b, Lighting Design for Stage Managers This course explores the aesthetics and techniques of professional stage lighting with particular emphasis given to the working relationship between the lighting designer and stage manager. Additionally, this course prepares stage managers for their role in maintaining and recreating lighting designs on touring and long-running productions. Classroom discussion and practical application are equal components. Matthew Frey, Stephen Strawbridge

DRAM 115a/b, Costume Design: Background and Practice A review of the history of civil costume and a study of the technique and practice of theatrical costume design leading to the preparation of designs for productions and the carrying out of the designs in actual costumes for the stage. Criticism of weekly sketch problems. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Two hours a week. Jane Greenwood, Ilona Somogyi

DRAM 122a/b, Stagecraft for Designers An introductory course for all first-year designers in drafting, stagecraft, and production techniques. Michael Yeargan

DRAM 124a/b, Introduction to Lighting Design An introduction for all non-lighting design students to the aesthetics and the process of lighting design through weekly critique and discussion of theoretical and practical assignments. Emphasis is given to the examination of the action of the play in relation to lighting, the formulation of design ideas, the place of lighting in the overall production, and collaboration with directors, set, costume, and sound designers. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Robert M. Wierzel

DRAM 132a/b, Advanced Problems in Scene Design Criticism of design problems for plays, musicals, ballet, and opera. This course continues the work started in DRAM 112a/b, carrying it a step further and focusing on design realization. Prerequisite: DRAM 112a/b. Two hours a week. Ming Cho Lee, Michael Yeargan

DRAM 134a/b, Advanced Problems in Stage Lighting A course intended to help the student develop a sense of, and a facility with, light as an element in a production. Projects are prepared consistent with best professional practice. Open to nondepartmental students who have taken DRAM 124a/b with permission of the instructor. Four hours a week. Stephen Strawbridge, Jennifer Tipton

DRAM 135a/b, Advanced Problems in Costume Design Detailed practical experience in the preparation of costumes for the stage, including sketches for projected designs and plans for their execution. Prerequisite: DRAM 115a/b. Two hours a week. Jess Goldstein, Ilona Somogyi

DRAM 142a/b, Master Class in Design for the Stage Required for all third-year visual design students for the presentation and critique of all elements that comprise a complete production. Each student presents three projects. For all three projects, work in the student’s primary area of concentration must be complete and comprehensive. For the first project, students must also show work in two of the other design disciplines. For the second project, students must show work in just one of the other design disciplines. For the third project, students may show work in their primary area of concentration only. (Lighting designers are an exception. They must always present a complete set design so that there is a basis for their lighting ideas and light plot.) The order in which the above requirements are met is flexible. Projection designers may include sound design as one of the other design disciplines. Though not required to represent work in all design areas for all projects, students are nonetheless expected to have fully thought-out ideas for the total production. Faculty

DRAM 152a/b, Scene Painting A studio class in painting techniques. Problems in textures, materials, styles, to prepare students to execute their own and other designs. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Three hours a week. Ru-Jun Wang

DRAM 158a, Introduction to Sound Design Required for first-year lighting and second-year costume and set designers. See description under Sound Design.

DRAM 162a/b, Life Drawing Studio A course in figure drawing for design students. The course is taken as training by students in every year. Three hours a week. Ru-Jun Wang

DRAM 164a/b, Professional Stage Lighting Design A course to prepare students for the demanding artistic and practical situations to be faced in the professional theater. Large-scale and somewhat complex production problems, such as multiset plays, musical comedies, operas, ballets, and repertory situations may be addressed by students for presentation and critique. Open to nondepartmental students who have taken DRAM 134a/b with permission of the instructor. Two hours a week. Stephen Strawbridge, Jennifer Tipton

DRAM 172a/b, Digital Imaging for Designers A comprehensive introduction to two-dimensional computer graphics as it applies to designing for the theater. Students develop a working understanding of a digital workflow that includes input (scanning and digital photography), computer-aided design (Adobe Photoshop), and output (printing). The course focuses on the possibilities the computer offers scenic, lighting, and costume designers in professional practice. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. David Biedny

DRAM 174a/b, Advanced Professional Stage Lighting Design An independent study course concurrent with DRAM 164a/b. Hours to be arranged with the instructor. Stephen Strawbridge, Jennifer Tipton

DRAM 189a, Costume Production See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 189b, Fabric and Fabric Manipulation See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 212a/b, Independent Study There may be special circumstances in which a student is allowed to pursue a particular area of inquiry independently, and on his or her own time. Faculty supervision and approval is required in formulating the goals and the methods to be employed and a timetable. Faculty

DRAM 222a/b, Drafting for Designers This course is taught in conjunction with DRAM 122a/b, Stagecraft for Designers, and focuses on drafting for the stage. Students learn how to create a complete set of drawings suitable for budgeting and/or soliciting bids from shops in the professional theater. Andrew Boyce, Lee Savage

DRAM 224a/b, Introduction to Projection Design See description under Projection Design.

DRAM 234a/b, Visual Storytelling See description under Projection Design.

DRAM 289a, Patternmaking See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 334a/b, Advanced Problems in Projection Design See description under Projection Design.

DRAM 489a/b, Advanced Patternmaking See description under Technical Design and Production.

Plan of Study: Projection Design

The Projection Design concentration, offered through the Design department, provides a unique opportunity to develop skills that work in concert with all the other design disciplines of the theater. Projection design for performance is both one of the newest and one of the most rapidly advancing areas of theatrical design. It is vital that future practitioners learn to deliver this new media within the larger context of theatrical storytelling. It is the goal of the program to teach the use of these powerful tools of media and animation to enhance the live experience. Study and projects in all the other design concentrations—sets, lights, costume, and sound—along with the practice of projection design, encourage the creation of total theater artists.

The question of “why projection” is a constant heartbeat of the program. Not all theatrical production can or should support projection. Rigorous exploration of the place and potential of projection media, including the study of its historical usage, assists all potential designers to create relevant work.

The program requires a great deal of hard work. Study and projects in all departments require excellent time management, and both digital and hand skills. The student is required to build set models and create lighting sketches along with projects in media design. Having good hand-drawing skills is very helpful. To help maintain and develop the capacity for drawing, a weekly figure-drawing class is required for all students in the Design department. Classes in digital skills and animation are offered as well.

The program includes script analysis, dramaturgy, and the essential collaborative skill, listening. There are opportunities to work directly with playwrights, directors, and other designers in both class projects and public performance. There is no substitute for the experience of creating actual production work, and the opportunities to create as well as to assist are abundant.

Projection design students share studio space with the other visual designers, as well as a digital production studio and the facilities of the Digital Media Center for the Arts. These shared spaces encourage collaboration, camaraderie, and the exchange of ideas essential to the working theater artist.

In addition to course work and production assignments, there is the opportunity to create an installation in collaboration with the sound and directing programs as well as an assignment with the playwriting program and the Yale College music program and dance division.

Required Sequence

  • Year
  • Course
  • Subject
  • I
  • DRAM 112a/b
  • Scene Design: Background and Practice
  • DRAM 115a/b
  • Costume Design: Background and Practice
  • DRAM 122a
  • Stagecraft for Designers
  • DRAM 124a/b
  • Introduction to Lighting Design
  • DRAM 158a
  • Introduction to Sound Design
  • DRAM 162a/b
  • Life Drawing Studio
  • DRAM 172a/b
  • Digital Imaging for Designers
  • DRAM 224a/b
  • Introduction to Projection Design
  • DRAM 234a/b
  • Visual Storytelling
  • DRAM 239a
  • Introduction to Projection Engineering
  • DRAM 248b
  • Sound Design for New Plays
  • Production assignments as assistants and projection engineers
  • II
  • DRAM 6a/b
  • Survey of Theater and Drama
  • DRAM 132a/b
  • Advanced Problems in Scenic Design
  • DRAM 134a/b
  • Advanced Problems in Stage Lighting
  • DRAM 244a/b
  • Motion Graphics and Film Production
  • DRAM 334a/b
  • Advanced Problems in Projection Design
  • DRAM 339a
  • Advanced Topics in Projection Engineering
  • Projection Seminar
  • One general elective
  • One music elective (a or b)
  • Participation in DRAM 162a/b, Life Drawing Studio, when no conflict with other class or production assignments
  • Up to two small- to medium-scale production assignments (if prepared)
  • III
  • DRAM 142a/b
  • Master Class in Design for the Stage
  • DRAM 344a/b
  • Advanced Professional Projection Design
  • Projection Seminar
  • Two one-term electives
  • Participation in DRAM 162a/b, Life Drawing Studio, when no conflict with other class or production assignments
  • One professional projection assignment (if prepared)

Courses of Instruction

DRAM 6a/b, Survey of Theater and Drama See description under Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism.

DRAM 112a/b, Scene Design: Background and Practice See description under Design.

DRAM 115a/b, Costume Design: Background and Practice See description under Design.

DRAM 122a, Stagecraft for Designers See description under Design.

DRAM 124a/b, Introduction to Lighting Design See description under Design.

DRAM 132a/b, Advanced Problems in Scenic Design See description under Design.

DRAM 134a/b, Advanced Problems in Stage Lighting See description under Design.

DRAM 142a/b, Master Class in Design for the Stage See description under Design.

DRAM 158a, Introduction to Sound Design See description under Sound Design.

DRAM 162a/b, Life Drawing Studio See description under Design.

DRAM 172a/b, Digital Imaging for Designers See description under Design.

DRAM 212a/b, Independent Study See description under Design.

DRAM 224a/b, Introduction to Projection Design In this yearlong course, students develop an understanding of how projection can be integrated into the theatrical space. Students consider media as a storytelling tool, as well as produce a short music video. Emphasis is on exploration, collaboration, and thinking in pictures. Students are expected to participate in a number of digital skills seminars that are offered concurrently with this class. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Wendall K. Harrington, Darrel Maloney

DRAM 234a/b, Visual Storytelling This is a lecture, film, and discussion course that explores the various ways in which idea and emotion have been expressed for the eye and mind. Lecturers and filmed documentaries cover topics in art history from cave painting to the graphic novel, color theory, cinema history, graphic design, typography, photography, and an exploration of the visual in avant-garde theater. Vision is our language; we see before we speak. The goal of this course is to create expressive polyglots. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Limited enrollment. Course is graded Pass/Fail. Wendall K. Harrington, with Ann McCoy, Richard Move, and guests

DRAM 239a, Introduction to Projection Engineering See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 244a/b, Motion Graphics and Film Production Digital video and motion graphics have become a central asset in the theater, and this course covers a diverse set of topics relating to video capture and delivery formats, compression fundamentals, utilization of graphics elements in motion graphics animation, nonlinear video editing techniques, special effects, and the digital video production pipeline. Students primarily utilize Adobe After Effects to create motion graphics and animation content, with an emphasis on the technical and creative challenges of projection in a theatrical environment. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. David Biedny

DRAM 248b, Sound Design for New Plays See description under Sound Design.

DRAM 334a/b, Advanced Problems in Projection Design A course to prepare students for production of projection for the stage. Emphasis is given to script analysis, research, media preparation, and elementary programming. Open to nondepartmental students who have taken DRAM 224a/b with permission of the instructor. Wendall K. Harrington, Darrel Maloney

DRAM 339a, Advanced Topics in Projection Engineering See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 344a/b, Advanced Professional Projection Design This class provides professional preparation for work on School of Drama productions and other venues, as well as supervision on projects undertaken in Master Class in Projection Design. Wendall K. Harrington, Darrel Maloney, Richard Move, and guests

DRAM 354b, Advanced Media Production This combined classroom/online class focuses on the production of a collaborative music video utilizing advanced imaging and motion graphics techniques—including visual synthesis, motion tracking and stabilization, compositing, audio synchronization, and motion design—combining four on-site class sessions with custom-scheduled online production meetings, virtual tutorials and instruction, progress reviews, and a real-world, virtual digital production pipeline. David Biedny

Return to Top

Sound Design (M.F.A. and Certificate)

David Budries, Chair

The Sound Design program attempts to exercise and develop the conceptual, compositional, and technical skills of a sound designer through substantial academic offerings and a set of practical design opportunities that together provide a solid professional training experience. This rigorous preparation readies students for a variety of design and engineering jobs related to music and sound in performance. It is also directly applicable to teaching the art and craft of sound design.

The Sound Design experience at Yale School of Drama is unique in that the five areas of design—set, costume, lighting, projection, and sound—are integrated. All designers are encouraged to take introductory course work in each of the design areas. This course work provides students with a core of basic knowledge and the ability to exercise good communication skills through the design process, while helping to build camaraderie and respect among the designers. This ensemble approach provides a foundation for networking as design professionals after graduation. Collaboration is an essential part of the experience at the School of Drama.

The program is rigorous. Students must be dedicated and willing to work hard. The course work covers the aesthetics of design, music composition, script interpretation, dramaturgy, critical listening, professional collaboration, sound and music technology, aural imaging in large spaces, acoustics, investigations into psychoacoustics, digital audio production, advanced sound delivery systems, advanced problem solving, advanced digital applications, production organization, and professional development combined with a wide variety of practical assignments.

The Sound Designers and Directors Workshop is a unique class in which directors and sound designers focus on communication and exploration of each other’s production process. In the second term, playwrights are invited into the process, allowing designers and directors to explore works.

All students attend Sound Design Master Classes and Sound Seminars. In these meetings, current production work, concepts for design, production problems, and current technological developments are discussed. Visiting artists, designers, and technicians are also invited to present and discuss their work.

Besides the classroom work, the core training revolves around practical production assignments that include working on medium- to large-scale student productions as well as professional design work at Yale Repertory Theatre. These hands-on assignments provide invaluable practical learning experiences. Additionally, Yale Cabaret provides students with up to eighteen extracurricular design opportunities annually. These hands-on assignments provide invaluable practical learning experiences.

In order to support this work, students have access to two production studio spaces: a design laboratory and a teaching studio. Additionally, students are required to develop their own digital audio workstations while they are in school so that upon graduation, students have their personal studios ready for professional work.

The Sound Design program sponsors critiques of current productions as part of Master Class. All Yale School of Drama students and invited guests are welcome. Attendees discuss all aspects of the work including the storytelling, dramaturgy, acting, directing, design, and music.

Another unique class, Auditory Culture, was added to encourage in-depth conversations about the impact of sound and music on our culture—past, present, and future. No related topic is off-limits, and the class is open to all graduate students from any discipline. This is our most popular cross-disciplinary offering.

The Sound Design program nurtures individual creativity and exploration. Its goal is to train professionals who will become leaders in the field of professional theatrical sound design.

Academic Expectation and Professional Practice

Yale School of Drama programs of study attempt to balance academics with practical production work. For this reason, it is necessary for students to learn how to manage their time in both activities. This is an essential skill set for design students to acquire or to further develop. Students are always expected to show up on time and be prepared for classes, meetings, and production assignments. Students are expected to be active participants in the production process, attending all required meetings, actor rehearsals, technical rehearsals, and previews. All sound design students are required to attend focus and system balance sessions as well as all scheduled production critiques unless there is a direct production conflict. Any variation from these expectations requires direct communication with and approval from the instructor, supervisor, stage manager, or other person in charge.

Designing for Yale Cabaret

First-year students are not allowed to design at the Yale Cabaret in their first term, and thereafter all students must obtain approval from the department chair. Any student with a course incomplete may not design for the Yale Cabaret regardless of an advance commitment. All sound designers must request permission to design at the Yale Cabaret at least four weeks prior to the performance.

Plan of Study: Sound Design

Required Sequence

  • Year
  • Course
  • Subject
  • I
  • DRAM 6a/b
  • Survey of Theater and Drama
  • DRAM 112a
  • Scene Design: Background and Practice*
  • DRAM 118a/b
  • Master Class in Sound Design
  • DRAM 124a
  • Introduction to Lighting Design*
  • DRAM 128a/b
  • Sound Seminar
  • DRAM 138a/b
  • Production Sound Design and Technology
  • DRAM 158a
  • Introduction to Sound Design
  • DRAM 158b
  • Recording Arts
  • DRAM 198a
  • Sound Design Production Organization
  • One term of music elective, recommended in the second term
  • Up to three production assignments (if prepared)
  • II
  • DRAM 128a/b
  • Sound Seminar
  • DRAM 218a/b
  • Master Class in Sound Design
  • DRAM 224a/b
  • Introduction to Projection Design
  • DRAM 248a
  • Sound Designers and Directors Workshop
  • DRAM 248b
  • Sound Design for New Plays
  • DRAM 258a/b
  • Composition for Sound Design
  • DRAM 278b
  • Advanced Problems in Sound Design
  • DRAM 288a/b
  • Individual Music/Composition Lessons
  • One term of music elective
  • One term of general elective
  • Up to three production assignments (if prepared)
  • III
  • DRAM 128a/b
  • Sound Seminar
  • DRAM 318a/b
  • Master Class in Sound Design
  • DRAM 358a/b
  • Professional Development
  • DRAM 388a/b
  • Individual Music/Composition Lessons
  • Thesis (full production or research paper)
  • One term of music elective (optional)
  • One term of general elective
  • Up to three production assignments (if prepared)

*DRAM 112a and 124a are required courses for Sound Design, while DRAM 112b and 124b are optional and do not count as general electives.
Elective Sequence

The elective sequence is determined in consultation with a departmental adviser. Students must complete two terms of music electives and two terms of general electives. Non-music electives may include DRAM 141b, Law and the Arts; DRAM 169a, Shop Technology; DRAM 169b, Stage Rigging Techniques; DRAM 229a, Theater Planning and Construction; DRAM 319a, Automation Control; DRAM 419b, Control Systems for Live Entertainment; DRAM 439a, Architectural Acoustics; and many more. The design adviser must approve any exemptions or adjustments to the elective sequence.

Courses of Instruction

DRAM 6a/b, Survey of Theater and Drama See description under Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism.

DRAM 66a/THST 414a, Lyric Writing for Musical Theater See description under Playwriting.

DRAM 112a/b, Scene Design: Background and Practice See description under Design.

DRAM 118a/b, 218a/b, 318a/b, Master Class in Sound Design This class provides opportunities for an in-depth presentation of current production work during the design, budgeting, and technical rehearsal phases. All participants must read each play and discuss its dramaturgy. Designers must formally present their design work as if to a director and design team. The presentation of a scale model of the scenic design, as well as costume renderings, is essential. Any questions regarding practical production problems may be presented in this forum. A calendar of presentation dates is distributed. Other design or production partners are welcome to attend these classes. Two hours a week. David Budries

DRAM 119b, Electricity See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 124a/b, Introduction to Lighting Design See description under Design.

DRAM 128a/b, Sound Seminar These regular meetings are required for all sound designers. The seminar sessions feature guest artists (designers, composers, directors, engineers, and consultants), visits to various productions or places of business, and practical modules on a variety of topics. Class typically meets two hours a week. Meeting times are scheduled via e-mail. David Budries

DRAM 138a/b, Production Sound Design and Technology This intensive yearlong course covers the fundamentals of sound and music technology used in professional sound delivery systems and studio production. The course consists of lectures, demonstrations, and practical assignments. Students learn the physical aspects of sound, audio control systems, digital signal processing, loudspeaker theory and application, digital audio workstations, equalization techniques, time delay theory and practice, the basics of stereophony, surround sound techniques, and aural imaging. The course proceeds to cover sound reinforcement theory and practice, power amplifiers, loads, circuiting, radio frequency microphone theory and practice, professional studio techniques, and playback automation. Required for all sound designers. The class meets for four hours a week plus practicals and additional modules of study. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of both the instructor and Sound Design Chair David Budries. Limited enrollment. Sten Severson

DRAM 141b, Law and the Arts See description under Theater Management.

DRAM 158a, Introduction to Sound Design In this class students develop an understanding about how sound and music can be used effectively as a tool to enhance meaning in a play. Students analyze scripts, develop critical listening skills, and learn the fundamentals of sound delivery systems as well as terms used to describe the perception and presentation of sound and music in a theatrical setting. This course is required for first-year lighting and sound designers and stage managers as well as second-year costume and set designers. Two hours a week. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Limited enrollment. David Budries

DRAM 158b, Recording Arts In this course students learn basic recording practice for remote and studio sessions. Topics include digital recording systems, auralization and imaging, elements of psychoacoustics, microphone theory and application, music recording, sound effects recording, cueing systems, studio monitoring, mixing practice, final mastering, a review of audio control systems, and setting expectations for professional practice in a studio environment. This class is limited to eight participants. There are five recording projects. Required for all sound designers. Permission of the instructor is required for non-majors. Two hours a week. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of both the instructor and Sound Design Chair David Budries. Limited enrollment. Nick Lloyd

DRAM 169a, Shop Technology See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 169b, Stage Rigging Techniques See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 188b, Individual Music Lessons This is an introductory project-oriented lesson in music that allows first-year students to develop a path toward their musical development. The student-driven projects are aimed at addressing the musical concerns and needs of the individual, including notation, performance skills, and the expansion of musical vocabulary. Limited enrollment. This class is only available to students of Design, with preference to sound and projection designers. One hour per week, meeting time arranged with faculty. Matthew Suttor

DRAM 198a, Sound Design Production Organization This course prepares students to execute all the necessary production paperwork including cue sheets, schematic block diagrams (line drawings or flow charts), system overlays on plan and section drawings, magic sheets budgets, hook-up schedules, rack drawings, shop orders, budgets, RF assignments, RF schedules, and production archives. Other topics include production responsibilities and preparation for technical rehearsals. Required software includes FileMaker Pro, Excel, and VectorWorks. Required for all first-year sound designers. Two hours a week. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Limited enrollment. David Budries

DRAM 224a/b, Introduction to Projection Design See description under Projection Design.

DRAM 229a, Theater Planning and Construction See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 248a, Sound Designers and Directors Workshop The aim of this class is to develop a strong and dynamic relationship among the director, sound designer, and/or composer. Through a series of projects based on short scripts, participants explore the vast potential of designed sound. Topics include the elements of sound design and composition, building an expressive aural vocabulary, developing critical listening skills, understanding each other’s respective production processes, producing in traditional and nontraditional venues, as well as sound design practice for film and television. Required for all second-year sound designers and directors. Ninety minutes a week. David Budries, Matthew Suttor

DRAM 248b, Sound Design for New Plays This course examines the creative and practical interchange among directors, sound designers, composers, and playwrights through an investigation of the function of sound and original music in new plays. Students use contemporary published plays and the works of first-year playwrights to explore the aural creative process. Through critical listening, students attempt to extrapolate ideas from musical sources. The class then turns to a discussion of aesthetics, content, style, and vocabulary with the larger aim of exploring the developmental process from preliminary sketches to a fully realized design. At times students may work individually as well as in assigned teams. Through the teamwork, directors and playwrights have an opportunity to be part of practical studio work. The class also examines the role of the sound designer in musical theater, cinema, and television. Ninety minutes a week. David Budries, Matthew Suttor

DRAM 258a, Composition for Sound Design This course explores composition as a fundamental component of sound design, focusing on developing an aural imagination through advanced digital tools. Students are assigned projects based on a variety of specialized techniques within a theatrical framework. Students present their projects on assigned dates followed by discussion and critique. During the fall term, students realize six compositional études that explore topics of investigation. The nature of the études is negotiated with each individual to accommodate production schedules. Due dates are agreed upon by week two (allowing for some flexibility in terms of content). Students must complete at least four études by the end of the fall term in order to progress to DRAM 258b. Required for all second-year sound designers. Two hours a week. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Limited enrollment. Matthew Suttor

DRAM 258b, Composition for Sound Design With reference to specific plays, this course builds on the techniques acquired in the fall term as students continue to augment their compositional palette through original and progressive studies in selected areas such as idiomatic acoustic instrumental writing, computer-generated realization, and song. Required for all second-year sound designers. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students who have completed DRAM 258a. Two hours a week. Matthew Suttor

DRAM 278b, Advanced Problems in Sound Design This course focuses on specific practical problems that face all sound designers. It includes designing advanced sound delivery systems, sound reinforcement systems, monitoring systems, and real-time effects processing. Some problems challenge participants to be very creative with limited resources. Students are assigned conceptual exercises. All class work is intended to promote creativity, innovation, and adaptation. Required for all second-year sound designers. Two hours a week. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students who have completed DRAM 158a and 158b. Limited enrollment. David Budries

DRAM 288a/b, Individual Music/Composition Lessons Individual project-oriented studies in music composition, either acoustic or technological, aimed at addressing the musical concerns and needs of the particular student, including notation and performance skills. Limited enrollment. This class is only open to students of Design, with preference to sound and projection designers. One hour per week; meeting time arranged with faculty. Matthew Suttor

DRAM 319a, Automation Control See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 358a/b, Professional Development This time is dedicated to development and execution of the third-year thesis project and a professional sound design portfolio that can include Web-based materials for professional promotion. This time is available to all third-year students and is individually scheduled as required. One hour per student each week is recommended. David Budries

DRAM 388a/b, Individual Music/Composition Lessons See description for DRAM 288a/b.

DRAM 419b, Control Systems for Live Entertainment See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 428a/b, Auditory Culture: Reading, Critical Listening, and Discussion This termlong course provides a vehicle for participants to examine our aural world, now and in the past. Each class member is expected to contribute by providing the discussion prompts via digital media, books, articles, or recordings. No relevant sound or music topic is off the table. However, the instructor approves and distributes each prompt. There is a lot of room for individual exploration and expression. A prompt is provided each week, and the discussion occurs at the next class meeting. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor; preference given to theater, music, and art majors. Enrollment limited. One hour a week. David Budries

DRAM 468a/b, Independent Study in Sound Design The student who desires to pursue a specialized course of study in the area of Sound Design may elect an independent study. A proposal might focus on a guided research project, artistic exploration, or advanced audio technology. Proposals must be submitted in writing, and department approval must be obtained prior to enrollment for credit. Subsequent to enrollment, the student must meet with the project adviser to plan an appropriate course of action and discuss assessment. Credit is awarded based on the project adviser’s recommendation in consultation with any other assigned advisers/tutors. Regular meetings are scheduled to track progress. David Budries

Return to Top

Directing (M.F.A. and Certificate)

Liz Diamond, Chair

The Directing department at Yale School of Drama admits a few talented individuals each year who have demonstrated the potential to become professional directors. They bring to the School of Drama a wide range of sensibilities, but they share some crucial qualities. They are generators of ideas and projects. They are not afraid to take risks, and they take responsibility for the philosophical and political implications of their work. They have a deep respect for the artists with whom they work. Above all, they have lively imaginations, an appetite for hard questions, and a robust curiosity about the world beyond their own cultural borders.

The Directing department’s entire aim is the education of the director as creative artist and leader. To that end, in course and production work, emphasis is placed on developing the director’s unique artistic imagination and mastery of collaborative leadership. We want our directors to leave Yale School of Drama able to make theater that reveals our world to us in surprising ways, that speaks to us now, whether the project is a new play, classical text, or devised work.

Our core courses are (a) the Directing Practicum, which engages the student over three years in a practical exploration of theatrical composition—the relationship of form to content—through studio exercises and projects; (b) the Directing seminars, which teach practical skills in text analysis, directorial interpretation, and production preparation, using a broad range of dramatic writing, theory, and production histories as course texts; and (c) the Labs, where directors, playwrights, and actors develop their ability to collaborate creatively through exercises, scene work, and critical feedback. In addition, throughout the academic year, the Directing department hosts master classes and workshops with visiting theater artists from around the world.

Because mastery in directing also requires a deep understanding of all the expressive modes that together embody theater, the Directing department’s curriculum integrates core courses of key collaborative disciplines into its programming. Directors are required to participate in the core acting courses in their first and second years. They take core courses in costume, set, lighting, projection, and sound design, and in dramaturgy and theater management. A variety of courses in these and other disciplines may also be taken as electives.

Hands-on production work involving intensive collaboration with fellow students in all departments of Yale School of Drama is central to our training. Throughout their three years at the School of Drama, directors practice their craft in diverse forums, ranging from scene work to full productions in various performance spaces. Through these varied production opportunities, directors develop their ability to respond to a great range of artistic and logistical challenges. First-year directors participate as directors in collaboratively created projects in DRAM 50a, The Collaborative Process, and direct workshop stagings of new plays by first-year playwrights in the New Play Lab. In the second year, directors direct one Shakespeare Repertory Project and one new play by a second-year playwright. Third-year directors direct a full production of their own thesis project and direct a new play by a third-year playwright in the Carlotta Festival. Directors, in the first or second year, serve as assistant directors on Yale Repertory Theatre or School of Drama productions. All directing and assistant directing assignments are made by the chair of the Directing department (pending approval by the dean). Directors are encouraged to direct productions for Yale Cabaret and to participate in the work of the Cabaret in other capacities. Participation in a Cabaret production by a director is subject to the prior approval of the department chair. Additional projects may be assigned to directors in all three years, including new works, assistantships, and, on occasion, casting in School of Drama and Yale Rep productions.

Plan of Study: Directing

Required Sequence

  • Year
  • Course
  • Subject
  • I
  • DRAM 6a/b
  • Survey of Theater and Drama
  • DRAM 50a
  • The Collaborative Process
  • DRAM 51b
  • New Play Lab
  • DRAM 103a/b
  • Acting I
  • DRAM 110a/b
  • First-Year Directing
  • DRAM 113a
  • Voice I
  • DRAM 153a
  • New Games
  • DRAM 191b
  • Managing the Production Process
  • DRAM 320b
  • Actor-Director Lab
  • DRAM 330a/b
  • Directing Practicum
  • DRAM 403a
  • Stage Combat I
  • Required electives
  • Assignments as director for School of Drama productions
  • Possible assignment as assistant director at Yale Repertory Theatre or Yale School of Drama
  • II
  • DRAM 102a/b
  • Scene Design
  • DRAM 115a
  • Costume Design: Background and Practice
  • DRAM 120a/b
  • Second-Year Directing
  • DRAM 124a
  • Introduction to Lighting Design
  • DRAM 203a
  • Acting II
  • DRAM 248a
  • Sound Designers and Directors Workshop
  • DRAM 248b
  • Sound Design for New Plays
  • DRAM 340b
  • Directing Lab on Greek Tragedy
  • DRAM 330a/b
  • Directing Practicum
  • Required electives
  • Assignments as director for School of Drama productions
  • Possible assignment as assistant director at Yale Repertory Theatre or Yale School of Drama
  • III
  • DRAM 130a/b
  • Third-Year Directing
  • DRAM 140a/b
  • The Director’s Thesis
  • DRAM 234a
  • Visual Storytelling
  • DRAM 330a/b
  • Directing Practicum
  • DRAM 360a/b
  • Bridge to the Profession
  • Required electives
  • Assignments as director for School of Drama productions

Elective Sequence

Directors are required to take two term-length elective courses over three years and are encouraged to take more as their schedules permit. Courses may be selected from Acting, Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism, Playwriting, Theater Management, and other departments within Yale School of Drama, subject to approval by the chair of Directing. Where course scheduling permits, students may propose to fulfill an elective requirement by enrolling in a course elsewhere within the University.

Courses of Instruction

DRAM 6a/b, Survey of Theater and Drama See description under Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism.

DRAM 50a, The Collaborative Process A laboratory introduction to theatrical collaboration and creation designed for first-term actors, directors, dramaturgs, and playwrights. How can theater artists bring the skills of their separate disciplines and the ideas of their individual imagination effectively to bear in a creative rehearsal process? What are effective strategies for proposing and responding, for testing and critiquing, for researching and selecting? Using sources from literature, painting, music, and other media as dramatic texts, students explore these and other questions as they make short compositions together in weekly lab sessions. The collaborative creation of a longer piece on a text chosen by the faculty is the culminating project of the course. Liz Diamond, Catherine Sheehy

DRAM 51b, New Play Lab See description under Playwriting.

DRAM 102a/b, Scene Design See description under Design.

DRAM 103a/b, Acting I See description under Acting.

DRAM 110a/b, First-Year Directing An investigation of directorial skills and techniques, focusing on rigorous close reading of the text, associative imagining, and detailed production scoring. Through a progressive series of analytical and creative encounters with a specific play text, role-playing exercises, and meetings with guest artists, the director develops methodologies for reading for action, thematic focus, production and performance style, and personalized theatricalism. The first term’s work concentrates on the plays of Anton Chekhov, and second term is devoted to working on the new play and an introduction to reading Shakespeare for production. David Chambers

DRAM 113a, Voice I See description under Acting.

DRAM 115a/b, Costume Design: Background and Practice See description under Design.

DRAM 120a/b, Second-Year Directing A seminar for the examination of the artistic and technical demands of verse drama. Emphasis is placed on the role of verse in determining action and shaping character. In the fall term, plays chosen by students as Shakespeare Repertory Projects, as well as other plays by Shakespeare, are used to investigate the relation of script requirements to production style and acting processes. In the spring term, directorial approaches to Greek tragedy are examined in a practical laboratory. Karin Coonrod, Robert Woodruff

DRAM 124a, Introduction to Lighting Design See description under Design.

DRAM 130a/b, Third-Year Directing A practical course on directorial approaches to modern and contemporary nonnaturalistic drama. Emphasis is placed on the further development of interpretive skill through close reading and research, and stylistic orchestration of one’s reading of a play in production. Plays and landmark productions from the twentieth-century and contemporary avant-garde are the course texts. Students’ production strategies for these works, and for their current School of Drama productions, are presented and discussed in weekly sessions. Liz Diamond

DRAM 140a/b, The Director’s Thesis The primary project of the third year in directing is the thesis, a full production of a major work of classical or contemporary dramatic literature, or a new or original work, proposed by the student director and approved by the dean in consultation with the department chair. The written component of the thesis is a production casebook documenting the student’s preparation, rehearsal, and postproduction evaluation of the thesis production. The class meets weekly as a group and in individual consultations with the instructor to be arranged throughout the year. Tim Vasen

DRAM 153a, New Games See description under Acting.

DRAM 191b, Managing the Production Process See description under Theater Management.

DRAM 203a/b, Acting II See description under Acting.

DRAM 234a, Visual Storytelling See description under Projection Design.

DRAM 248a, Sound Designers and Directors Workshop See description under Sound Design.

DRAM 248b, Sound Design for New Plays See description under Sound Design.

DRAM 320b, Actor-Director Lab This is a practical course for first-year actors and directors that focuses on the process of collaboratively “getting started” on specific scene work, from table work to investigative rehearsals, to beginning to “set” certain key elements of the scene. As this is an exploratory lab class, there is no final showing of a scene; a scene may be approached and altered several times as the actors and directors generate new discoveries and ideas. Scenes are rehearsed outside of class and then brought in for further on-site work, viewing, and response. The goals of the course are: (1) to develop groundwork toward a productive and creative working process between actors and directors as they approach text work; (2) to diagnose expectations and dialogues between actors and directors in search of maximum collaborative creation; and (3) to analyze rehearsal techniques that generate a physically, imaginatively, and creatively activated exploration of the text. The scenes are drawn from the major plays of Anton Chekhov—each director is responsible for a single play—and cast by the Acting department. David Chambers, Ron Van Lieu

DRAM 330a/b, Directing Practicum As the core course of the Directing department, the Directing Practicum is designed to develop the student director’s artistic and practical ability to assume the complex of responsibilities required of the professional director. Over three years, the Directing Practicum explores issues in staging dramatic action and conflict, manipulating the elements of composition, and leading artistic collaborations on plays, operas, and other forms of live performance. Work in the Directing Practicum includes scene study, exercises in composition, open rehearsals, practical study of major directors, and the creation of devised work. Practical work is supplemented by critiques of student and Yale Rep productions, and by workshops and master classes with visiting artists. David Chambers, Liz Diamond, Speranza Scappucci, and guests

DRAM 340b, Directing Lab on Greek Tragedy This is a practical course for directors and actors to explore how the contemporary theater artist approaches Greek tragedy. Issues of directorial interpretation, translation, design, and performance style of selected plays are addressed in a series of practical projects and scene work. Required for second-year directors and first-year actors. Open to students in Design, Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism, and Playwriting with permission of the instructor. Robert Woodruff

DRAM 360a/b, Bridge to the Profession Prepares third-year directors for entry into the professional arena. This course is designed to help students identify and develop short- and long-term professional goals in relation to personal and artistic values and aspirations. Workshops offer students training in résumé and portfolio management, project development and fundraising, interviewing and networking. Visits with artistic directors, agents, and union and foundation leaders introduce students to professional resources. Master classes with established directors expose students to diverse models of career paths. The building of a project to take into the field comprises the major portion of the course work, with readings and short exercises assigned throughout the course. The course meets at designated intervals. May Adrales

DRAM 403a, Stage Combat I See description under Acting.

Return to Top

Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism (M.F.A. and D.F.A.)

Catherine Sheehy, Chair

Students in the Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism department receive intensive training to prepare for careers in three areas: to work in theaters as dramaturgs, artistic producers, literary managers, and in related positions; to work in theater publishing as critics and editors as well as in other capacities; to teach theater as practitioners, critics, and scholars.

At the core of the training are seminars in literature, theory and criticism, and history offered by the department’s faculty. These may be supplemented by courses taught elsewhere in the University if approved by students’ advisers. The aim is to impart a comprehensive knowledge of theater and dramatic literature—a knowledge necessary to the dramaturg, the writer and editor, and the teacher. Regarding the latter, every effort is made to give qualified students teaching experience within the University.

Of particular importance in the program of study are the criticism workshops, which are taught by various members of the faculty and which students must take in each of their six terms. These courses are designed to improve skills in thinking and writing, and are an essential component in the faculty’s evaluation of students’ progress from term to term.

Historically, Yale School of Drama has been a pioneer in this country in introducing and establishing the dramaturg as an essential presence in the creation of theater and as a key member of a theater’s staff. Under the supervision of the resident dramaturg of Yale Repertory Theatre, students are assigned to work on many varied productions, including those of new scripts by School of Drama playwrights, workshops and full productions by School of Drama directors, and professional presentations of classical and contemporary works at Yale Repertory Theatre. Among the areas in which students participate are text preparation and oversight; translation and adaptation; preproduction and rehearsal work on issues of design, direction, and performance; contextual research; program notes and study guide preparation; the conducting of audience discussions; participation in programs in educational outreach; and related work in conjunction with the marketing and media departments. Students also assist in Yale Repertory Theatre’s literary office with script evaluation and communication with writers and agents. Thus students are trained in topics in institutional dramaturgy, including the formulation of artistic policy and its communication and implementation, and as production dramaturgs, operating within the rehearsal process.

In recognition of the fact that in recent years dramaturgs have not only assumed the leadership of theaters under such titles as artistic director and producer but have also founded theaters themselves, the Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism department has entered into a collaboration with the Theater Management department to create an optional course of study drawing from the strengths of both disciplines. By fostering this interchange, Yale School of Drama hopes to remain at the forefront in helping new organizational models to be discovered and explored, through which the art of theater will continue to flourish. More information on this partnership is available from the department.

In addition to their training in production dramaturgy and literary management, students have opportunities to develop as writers, editors, and translators through their work on the professional staff of Theater magazine, published three times annually by Yale School of Drama/Yale Repertory Theatre and Duke University Press.

Theater has been publishing new writing by and about contemporary theater artists since 1968. The magazine’s perspectives are different from those of any other American publication: at once practical, creative, and scholarly. Issues include new plays, translations, and adaptations; lively critical debates about policy, politics, and productions; interviews with writers, directors, and other artists; reports from around the world; and book and performance reviews. Theater appeals to practitioners, academics, scholars, and everyone interested in contemporary theater practice and thought.

Requirements for the M.F.A. and D.F.A. degrees are discussed more fully in the following pages.

Quality Standards

The minimum quality requirement for the M.F.A. degree in Dramaturgy is a grade average of High Pass in all required courses and electives counting toward the degree. Students who receive an Incomplete in any course are automatically placed on academic warning until the work is completed. Any student who receives more than one incomplete will be placed on academic probation. Students placed on academic probation may not participate in any capacity in the Yale Cabaret.

Plan of Study: Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism

Required Sequence

  • Year
  • Course
  • Subject
  • I
  • DRAM 6a/b
  • Survey of Theater and Drama*
  • DRAM 50a
  • The Collaborative Process
  • DRAM 51b
  • New Play Lab
  • DRAM 96a/b
  • Models of Dramaturgy
  • DRAM 106a
  • Editing and Publishing Workshop
  • DRAM 147a
  • Writing for the Ensemble
  • DRAM 166a/b
  • Criticism Workshop
  • DRAM 246b
  • Translation†
  • DRAM 306a
  • Models of Dramatic Structure‡
  • DRAM 306b
  • Issues in Twentieth-Century Performance‡
  • DRAM 346a/b
  • Literary Office Practicum
  • DRAM 396a/b
  • Dramaturgy Practicum
  • At least four elective courses after consultation with adviser‡
  • At least one production dramaturgy assignment
  • II
  • DRAM 166a/b
  • Criticism Workshop
  • DRAM 246a
  • Adaptation
  • DRAM 246b
  • Translation†
  • DRAM 306a
  • Models of Dramatic Structure‡
  • DRAM 306b
  • Issues in Twentieth-Century Performance‡
  • DRAM 346a/b
  • Literary Office Practicum
  • DRAM 396a/b
  • Dramaturgy Practicum
  • DRAM 466b
  • Research Methodologies
  • At least four elective courses after consultation with adviser‡
  • At least one production dramaturgy assignment
  • III
  • DRAM 166a/b
  • Criticism Workshop
  • DRAM 306a
  • Models of Dramatic Structure‡
  • DRAM 306b
  • Issues in Twentieth-Century Performance‡
  • DRAM 336a/b
  • Comprehensive Examinations
  • DRAM 346a/b
  • Literary Office Practicum
  • DRAM 396a/b
  • Dramaturgy Practicum
  • DRAM 466b
  • Research Methodologies
  • At least four elective courses after consultation with adviser‡
  • At least one production dramaturgy assignment

*All first-year students must take the Survey of Theater and Drama (DRAM 6a/b) exemption exam. Those who do not qualify for exemption must take this course in their second year. †In 2013–2014, DRAM 246b, Translation, will not be offered. In 2014–2015, all first- and second-year dramaturgs will be enrolled in the course. ‡Models of Dramatic Structure (DRAM 306a) and Issues in Twentieth-Century Performance (DRAM 306b) are offered once every three years and are required for all Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism students. In the academic years they are offered, students reduce the number of required electives by two.

Additional Requirements for the Degree

Reading List and Basic Knowledge of the Field

Upon acceptance to the department, students receive access to the online departmental reading list of dramatic literature, criticism, theory, and history, which is intended to be used throughout their course of study as a basis for preparation for their comprehensive examinations, and beyond as a guide and standard for their work in the field.

Dramaturgical Assignments

Each student serves as a dramaturg on one or more productions per year either at Yale Repertory Theatre or in Yale School of Drama and assists the resident dramaturg and Yale Rep’s literary manager in script evaluation and related tasks. During the fall term of their first year, students are assigned to a project in The Collaborative Process (DRAM 50a). In the second term, students may be assigned to a play by a School of Drama playwriting student and may also work on other plays under the supervision of the resident dramaturg. In the second and third years, students may undertake a project at Yale Repertory Theatre, a third-year director’s thesis production (see Directing department, The Director’s Thesis, DRAM 140a/b), a Shakespeare Repertory Project (see Directing department, Second-Year Directing, DRAM 120a/b), or a play by a School of Drama playwriting student.

Students work on Yale School of Drama productions and Yale Repertory Theatre productions subject to availability of projects and departmental requirements.

Yale Cabaret

Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism students are encouraged to work in all capacities at the Yale Cabaret, but this participation is understood to be in addition to and in no way a substitution for required departmental work. No student with an Incomplete grade in any course, and no second- or third-year student on probation, may participate in the Yale Cabaret in any capacity.

Yale Repertory Theatre Literary Office

Each student is required to read scripts for Yale Repertory Theatre during each year and to submit written evaluations of these scripts to the literary manager. This work is done under the supervision of the artistic coordinators and associate literary manager, who are advanced students in the department.

Theater Magazine Requirement

During their first year, Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism students may work as editorial assistants on Theater, the international journal of criticism and plays co-published by Yale School of Drama/Yale Repertory Theatre and Duke University Press. Students in their first year must also take the Editing and Publishing Workshop (DRAM 106a), taught by the editor, which introduces them to major aspects of publishing such a journal. In the second and third years, qualified students may have additional opportunities to work on the magazine’s staff in a variety of editing, publishing, and marketing positions. Selected D.F.A. candidates may be appointed to senior staff positions as part of their doctoral fellowships. Along with essays, reviews, and translations by leading authors and professional critics, Theater has published outstanding work by Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism students, who are encouraged to propose and submit writing and editorial projects for possible publication.

Language Requirement

The language requirement is satisfied during the first or second year by the translation of a play in the Translation seminar (DRAM 246b). Students who wish to pursue a special emphasis in translation may take this course once more with the approval of their advisers and the course instructor.

Library Orientation

Upon entering the department, each student is required to take orientation seminars introducing him or her to the Yale University Library system and its various facilities and resources.

Comprehensive Examination Requirement

The comprehensives are a set of final written and oral qualifying examinations in which third-year students demonstrate their ability to bring critical depth and dramaturgical perspective to broad areas of the field. Through this process the student takes responsibility for mastery of subjects of his or her own choosing. Often these subjects have not been covered in course work.

Each student may elect to write two independently researched exams or to write one such exam and submit a dramaturgical casebook based on production work at Yale Repertory Theatre or Yale School of Drama. All dramaturgs will submit case studies in theater history in the spring term. These written components are followed by an oral comprehensive exam. Topics for written examinations, theater history case studies, and dramaturgical casebooks must be chosen in consultation with the student’s adviser and reflect breadth of study across time periods, genres, movements, etc.

For each independently researched exam, the student writes essay-length answers to two questions in the chosen area of study. Areas of study should not overlap and may include major historical periods such as Greek, Jacobean, French seventeenth century, modern, contemporary; important dramatists or other figures such as Aristotle, Artaud, Euripides, Shakespeare; basic dramatic genres such as tragedy, comedy, melodrama; significant theoretically or critically defined movements such as romanticism or symbolism. Other broad areas also may be devised in consultation with faculty advisers.

A dramaturgical casebook is based on a production assignment completed during the student’s first five terms at Yale School of Drama and approved by the faculty. Eligible projects include Yale Repertory Theatre, a director’s thesis project, or Shakespeare Repertory Project productions. Casebooks must include the full and cut scripts, an essay of textual analysis, a comprehensive production history, a critical bibliography, preproduction and rehearsal journals, and other pertinent materials generated by work on the production (program pages, poster design, etc.). Guidelines for the casebook are available from the department.

Case studies in theater history are due in January. From three areas—Classical and Medieval Drama, Pre-Modern Drama (Renaissance through 1880), and Modern Drama (1880 to the present)—and choosing plays listed on the departmental reading list, students write case studies to demonstrate their mastery of theater history. Guidelines for these case studies are available from the department.

Oral examinations are designed not only as defenses of the written exams but may be a further exploration of areas students have worked up but not answered in their other comprehensives as well. These exams will be completed in early May.

Final grades for the comprehensive examinations are determined upon completion of the process. Following each written examination, students will be given a Pass/Fail evaluation by their faculty advisers. If the faculty concludes that the student has not done passing work, he or she will be informed of the areas of deficiency. In such a case the oral examination becomes an opportunity for the student to redress the deficiencies. A student who fails one or more comprehensives and/or the oral is allowed to reenroll in the comprehensive process once more during the following year. A student failing the second time is not awarded a degree.

Second-year students must adhere to the following schedule
  • February 10, 2014: Deadline for submission of comprehensive examination topics. At this time, each student must declare his or her intention to do either two independently researched exams or one such exam and a dramaturgical casebook. Exam topics must be submitted in memorandum form to all non-visiting members of the departmental faculty for approval.
  • March 17, 2014: Deadline for submission of a full comprehensive proposal, including a carefully researched and selected bibliography, for faculty approval. This bibliography should reflect an understanding of the most essential reading in the proposed subject, and reflect prior consultation with appropriate members of the department’s faculty.
  • April 14, 2014: Deadline for submission of final revised comprehensive proposal and bibliography.
Third-year students must adhere to the following schedule
  • September 14, 2013: Deadline for third-year students to meet with their advisers to review and update comprehensive study procedures and propose a fall examination schedule. Students must take at least one examination or submit their casebook during the fall term, according to the schedule below.
  • October 19, 2013: First fall deadline for taking a comprehensive examination.
  • November 23, 2013: Final fall deadline for taking a comprehensive examination.
  • January 13, 2014: Deadline for students to turn in their theater history case studies.
  • February 21, 2014: First spring deadline for taking a comprehensive examination.
  • April 6, 2014: Final deadline for having completed independently researched exams and casebooks.
  • May 11, 2014: Final deadline for having completed the oral examination.

Requirements for the Doctor of Fine Arts in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism

Upon completion of the Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism department requirements for an M.F.A. degree and graduation from Yale School of Drama, a student is eligible to register to remain in residence for the proposal year to apply to the Doctor of Fine Arts (D.F.A.) program. Acceptance into the D.F.A. program is not to be considered an entitlement and is based not only on the merits of the proposal, but also on the faculty’s assessment of the student’s performance and progress in the M.F.A. program. Candidates must submit their proposals by January 13, 2014, for review by the D.F.A. Committee. The proposal must conform to departmental guidelines and designate first and second readers. If either reader comes from outside the department, the proposal must include a letter from the reader acknowledging his or her willingness to advise the dissertation. It is understood that, except in extraordinary circumstances, if the student’s proposed dissertation can be read by a member of the full-time faculty, that faculty member will be considered the first reader. Upon review, the committee may approve, reject, or recommend changes to the proposal. If changes are recommended, the student has until April 15, 2014, to obtain the Committee’s approval. If the proposal has not been sufficiently revised at that time, it will be finally rejected.

A student holding an M.F.A. degree from Yale School of Drama has two years after graduation to apply to and be accepted into the D.F.A. program. Upon acceptance of the proposal by the D.F.A. Committee, the student is expected to complete the dissertation within two years, working in close consultation with the first reader. In exceptional circumstances an extension may be granted to candidates who submit a written request. Upon the Committee’s final approval of the dissertation, two bound copies must be delivered to the chair of the Department of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism six weeks prior to the date on which the student expects to graduate. The dissertation proposal guidelines contain complete details and stipulations for obtaining the degree and are available through the department.

The D.F.A. candidate may elect to register as a full-time student in residence to pursue work on the dissertation. The tuition fee for this status is $1,000 per year in residence and entitles the candidate to use libraries and related facilities, to audit courses related to his or her research, to Yale Health Basic Coverage, and to eligibility for tickets to Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre productions. In the first five years of residency, D.F.A. candidates receive a fellowship to cover tuition and Yale Health Hospitalization/Specialty Coverage. Students enrolled in the D.F.A. program are eligible to apply for one of three departmental fellowships, a Yale Rep artistic associate fellowship or a Theater magazine fellowship, and teaching assistantships.

Courses of Instruction

DRAM 6a/b, Survey of Theater and Drama An introduction to the varied histories of world drama and theater as an art form, as a profession, as a social event, and as an agent of cultural definition through the ages. DRAM 6a examines select theatrical cultures and performance practices to 1700. DRAM 6b examines select theatrical cultures and performance practices since 1700. Open to non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Paul Walsh

DRAM 50a, The Collaborative Process See description under Directing.

DRAM 51b, New Play Lab See description under Playwriting.

DRAM 96a/b, Models of Dramaturgy Through lecture, discussion, and practicum this course examines current practice in dramaturgy and literary management. Guests include longstanding collaborators—dramaturgs, directors, playwrights, producers—who discuss the evolution of their processes. Literary managers of regional theaters address the issues of new play production. This course is also a forum for discussion of students’ production work at Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre. Rebecca Rugg, Catherine Sheehy

DRAM 106a, Editing and Publishing Workshop This course combines an overview of critical and scholarly publishing with a workshop focused on editing Theater magazine, involving the planning of future issues and the completion of editorial assignments. Required for all first-year Dramaturgy students. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Thomas Sellar

[DRAM 116a, British Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Comedy After the social and political drudgery of Cromwell when the monarchy was restored with Charles II, the theater in England enjoyed a renaissance of license and vigor. After the Restoration, the government once again sought to constrain the ribaldry of the comic spirit and the lifestyle of the stage. In this period the English added the comedy of manners, the sentimental comedy, and—that sapling of the American musical—the ballad opera to the comic canon. The only thing more vigorous than the theater was the talk of theater; journals and coffeehouses were founded on such vital chat. This course surveys the formal innovations of the period through the work of the age’s major authors from the Duke of Buckingham through Gay and Fielding to Sheridan. Contextual readings bolster investigations of the Stage Licensing Act of 1737 and the coffeehouse phenomenon. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Not offered in 2013–2014]

[DRAM 126b, Tragicomedy Tragicomedy has been characterized as the quintessential form of modern drama, but its origins extend back to the beginnings of art. As a genre, it provides a necessary perspective from which to discuss many different kinds of work, including some of the most contemporary and innovative. Its study requires the investigation of other fundamental dramatic forms such as the romance, pastoral, satire, grotesque—and, of course, tragedy and comedy. Playwrights to be considered in this course come from many periods and include Euripides, Plautus, Shakespeare, Beaumont and Fletcher, Tirso, Calderón, Molière, Kleist, Musset, Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekhov, Lorca, Lady Gregory, O’Casey, and Shaw. Open to nondepartmental students with prior permission of the instructor. Open to non-School of Drama students with prior permission of both the instructor and Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism Chair Catherine Sheehy. Not offered in 2013–2014]

[DRAM 136a, Beckett A detailed study of Beckett’s plays and prose, including Beckett the critic on poets, painters, music, Proust, and performance. Open to nondepartmental students with prior permission of the instructor. Open to non-School of Drama students with prior permission of both the instructor and Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism Chair Catherine Sheehy. Not offered in 2013–2014]

DRAM 147a, Writing for the Ensemble See description under Playwriting.

[DRAM 156a, American Classic Comedy Between the Wars The classics of American comic canon are true reflections of the national character—a volatile compound of twice-shy wariness and wide-eyed credulity. The continual fine-tuning of that character is one of the chief dramaturgical strategies of comic writers in the period. And the mother tongue is the sharpest tool they have in their kit. The American vernacular was undergoing an unprecedented transformation: the jazzy argot of the journalist, the snappy pitch of the Madison Avenue ad man, the idiosyncratic patois of the assimilating immigrant, and the gaudy patter of the bootlegger infused the language. When the soaring national confidence after victory in the Great War and a booming Jazz Age economy buckled with the freefall of the Great Depression, another color was added. The best comedy written for the stage and (after 1927) for the screen during the period exploits this holiday time of the American tongue. The course focuses on the primacy of language in the work of these American men and women of letters who wrote so well out of the sides of their mouths. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Not offered in 2013–2014]

[DRAM 156b, Shakespeare’s Tragic Modes An intensive study of seven tragedies, their performance history and criticism, along with major critical theories. The plays are Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Troilus and Cressida, Antony and Cleopatra, and Coriolanus. Not offered in 2013–2014]

DRAM 166a/b, Criticism Workshop A workshop in critical writing in which the student’s work is analyzed and discussed by the class and the instructor. The class is divided into sections. In their first year, students take a workshop in reading and writing about dramatic texts. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Elinor Fuchs, Marc Robinson, Gordon Rogoff, Thomas Sellar

DRAM 176a, Satire: From Aristophanes to Archer and Beyond This course examines the genre so efficiently defined by George S. Kaufman. “Satire,” he said, “is what closes on Saturday night.” The satirist is part artist, part social critic, unable and unwilling to stem the tide of his or her outrage. Beginning with Aristophanes, the course wades hip-deep through the works of playwrights, animators, pamphleteers, filmmakers, and comics. We assess satire’s advantages and limitations as a tool for political speech. We laugh and ask why. Catherine Sheehy

[DRAM 186a, German Drama This course covers what has been called the “German Moment” in world theater, that is, the period approximately encompassed by the life of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832). It includes work by Lessing, Lenz, Goethe, Schiller, Tieck, Kleist, Grillparzer, Hebbel, and Büchner, and explores such concepts as classicism (including Weimar classicism), romanticism, and the Sturm und Drang. Theater production practice, acting, historical and philosophical context, and the other arts are also part of the discussion. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Not offered in 2013–2014]

[DRAM 186b, Theater About Theater: The Theatricalist Play from Shakespeare to Postmodernism “Theatricalist” is a term describing plays that self-consciously use the means of theater in their dramatic construction. This type of play, along with its near relative the Dream Play, follows the Theatrum Mundi tradition in Western thought, and poses an interesting alternative to the Aristotelian tradition of theater as mimesis. The first part of the course is devoted to classic plays by Kyd, Shakespeare, Calderon, and the German Romantics. Modern plays by Pirandello, Genet, Adrienne Kennedy, Heiner Müller, Suzan-Lori Parks, Peter Barnes, and others make up more than half the course and take up such themes as revolution, gender, race, and the Holocaust. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Not offered in 2013–2014]

DRAM 206a/b, Tutorial Study A second- or third-year dramaturg may elect to undertake tutorial independent study by submitting, in consultation with his or her proposed tutor, a request stipulating course title, course description, reading list or syllabus, schedule of meetings with the tutor, and method of grading the tutorial. Approval must be granted by the student’s adviser and by the department. Forms for application are available from the registrar of the School of Drama. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Faculty

[DRAM 216a, Hamlet: An Intensive Seminar The play with a thousand faces, “the strangest play ever written” (Jan Kott), the play that “is actually about change…about shifting values…shifting times…shifting sexuality” (Peter Hall). This course proposes to account for those shifts by reading the play line-by-line (time permitting), tracking actions that suit words and words that suit actions, trying to uncover those faces, coming to terms with what happens in Hamlet, and doing so with help from a wide range of critical materials, old and new. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Not offered in 2013–2014]

DRAM 226b, Contemporary Global Performance How might the contemporary theater and performance world be evolving in relation to the twenty-first century’s tectonic shifts in politics, aesthetics, and technology? This course examines the work of selected pioneering artists active around the world today, as well as examples of major transactional tendencies such as “devised” theater, virtuosity, documentary performance, and social practice. The seminar requires extensive viewing of videos in addition to the reading list. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Thomas Sellar

DRAM 246a, Adaptation How do myths/legends, novels, short stories, paintings, true stories, graphic novels, etc, work? And why do some prove more stage-worthy than others? To musicalize or not to musicalize? This seminar explores the process of adapting source material into a theatrical text/experience, augmented by practical assignments and culminating in an adaptation based on material of each student’s choosing. Required for second-year dramaturgs. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor and Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism Chair Catherine Sheehy. Jill Rachel Morris

[DRAM 246b, Translation This seminar explores the process of translation through practical assignments and culminates in the translation of a full-length play into English. Required for first- and second-year dramaturgs, and may be repeated as an elective in the third year with the permission of the student’s adviser and the course instructor. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor and Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism Chair Catherine Sheehy. Not offered in 2013–2014]

[DRAM 256a, What’s So Funny: Comic Theory and Practice The formal and moral dimensions of comedy have been the subject of constant contemplation and comment from its written beginnings in the West to the present day. A key to the successful production of a comedy or the authoritative criticism of such a production is understanding the rules of the form. This course examines the workings of various comic forms through readings in theory and dramatic literature and screenings of films. The syllabus includes works by Aristophanes, Aristotle, Bakhtin, Benjamin, Bergson, Chaplin, Dryden, Feydeau, Frye, Goldsmith, Juvenal, Lope de Vega, Meredith, Molière, and Shakespeare. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Not offered in 2013–2014]

DRAM 276b, Greek Drama This course focuses primarily on Greek tragedy, considering the most important plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, as well as two comedies by Aristophanes. In addition to studying the plays, we read some modern critical essays. The emphasis is on locating the dramas in terms of their cultural context including mythic and epic background, Athenian history, and dramatic conventions. The course work consists of participation in discussion, several short (two-page) papers, and one slightly longer paper (five to ten pages) and a class presentation at the end of the term. Andrew Szegedy-Maszak

DRAM 286a, The Second Avant-Garde, 1918–1939 This course is a sequel to DRAM 286b but one is not required to take the other. Writers whose works are explored include Brecht, Toller, Bulgakov, Horvath, Pirandello, Artaud, Ghelderode, and Witkiewicz. As with the previous course, contemporary direction, design, and theory are examined along with the larger background of the period. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. James Leverett

[DRAM 286b, The First Avant-Garde, 1880–1918 European theatrical modernism in such movements as naturalism, symbolism, expressionism, cubism, futurism, and dada. Among the writers whose texts are read are Hauptmann, Ibsen (the symbolist), Chekhov (the symbolist), Strindberg (the naturalist, symbolist, and expressionist), Wilde, Yeats, Maeterlinck, Jarry, Wedekind, Kaiser, Toller, Blok, Mayakovsky, and Kraus. Innovations in direction, design, and theory are also investigated, as well as the general social, political, and philosophical background of the period. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Not offered in 2013–2014]

DRAM 296b, The Third Avant-Garde, 1940–1969 This course is the third in the avant-garde sequence, but DRAM 286a and 286b are not prerequisites. In this course, there are three geographic areas of focus: Mediterranean (Sartre, Camus, Ionesco, Genet, Arrabal, et al.); Germanic (Dürrenmatt, Frisch, Handke, Weiss, Müller, et al.); Eastern European (Mrozek, Gombrowicz, Rozewicz, Havel, et al.). Attention is paid to the political, social, and philosophical background of the period, developments in the other arts, and the work of significant theater directors. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. James Leverett

DRAM 306a, Models of Dramatic Structure Dramatic form, debated over the contentious 2,400-year history of Western dramatic criticism that began with Aristotle, is the principal subject of this course. Reading plays and dramatic theory written up to the beginning of the twentieth century, the course explores classic, medieval, enlightenment, romantic, and symbolist dramatic structures with special focus on the ways ideas illuminate and shape plays and teach us how to perform them. Elinor Fuchs

DRAM 306b, Issues in Twentieth-Century Performance In a stunning reversal of priorities, theories of the dramatic text give way to theories of theater and performance in twentieth-century modernism. By the end of the century, text-based theater comes to be seen as one branch of the larger field of performance. Marinetti, Artaud and Brecht, Gertrude Stein and Grotowski, Richard Schechner and Joseph Roach are among those who shape the discussion. The ongoing debate on the meaning and value of “modernism” is a central focus. Prerequisite (for dramaturgs only): 306a. Elinor Fuchs

DRAM 326a, British Postwar Drama An intensive seminar that explores the work of British playwrights, directors, and actors from the end of World War II to the present: from Osborne, Pinter, and Arden to Hare, Sarah Kane, and Ravenhill; from Olivier, Gielgud, and Ashcroft to Dench, Branagh, and Rylance; from Brook, Hall, and Littlewood to Nunn, Hytner, and Warner. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Gordon Rogoff

DRAM 336a/b, Comprehensive Examinations Students submit comprehensive proposals to their advisers and other designated faculty members who help them to focus their areas of concentration and prepare bibliographies. In this way, the faculty oversees the course of study for the comprehensives. This tutorial is an essential part of the procedure leading to an M.F.A. degree. Catherine Sheehy and faculty

DRAM 346a/b, Literary Office Practicum Among the most important responsibilities of an institutional dramaturg is the evaluation of new writing. The dramaturg’s ability to analyze and assess the potential of unproduced work is crucial to a theater’s vitality. In the Literary Office Practicum students in all three years read work submitted for Yale Repertory Theatre and write reader’s reports articulating the scripts’ strengths and weaknesses. These reader’s reports provide the basis for the Literary Office’s communication with playwrights. This course, led by the resident dramaturg, is Pass/Fail. Catherine Sheehy

[DRAM 356a, Melodrama “Melodrama is not a special and marginal kind of drama, let alone an eccentric or decadent one; it is drama in its elemental form; it is the quintessence of drama.” This statement by Eric Bentley provides the cornerstone for this course. The approach is threefold: melodrama as a ubiquitous dramatic impulse from the earliest times (Euripides, medieval theater, Shakespeare and his contemporaries); melodrama as an expression of society (the invention of the genre “melodrama” in the eighteenth century, its flowering in the nineteenth, and its role in the birth of cinema in the twentieth); melodrama as a form explored and exploited by modern theater innovators. Open to nondepartmental students with prior permission of the instructor. Open to non-School of Drama students with prior permission of both the instructor and Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism Chair Catherine Sheehy. Not offered in 2013–2014]

[DRAM 366b, Modern American Drama A seminar on American drama from World War I to 1960. Among the playwrights to be considered are O’Neill, Stein, Cummings, Odets, Wilder, Hurston, Williams, Bowles, and Miller. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Not offered in 2013–2014]

DRAM 376b, Ibsen, Strindberg, and the Invention of Modern Drama A close reading of selected plays by Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg within the wider context of theatrical and cultural practices in the West in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with special consideration given to how these plays have been reread over the course of the past century. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Paul Walsh

DRAM 396a/b, Dramaturgy Practicum This course consists of discussion among the departmental faculty and students about just-completed and current projects. The purpose is an exchange of practical and philosophical thoughts and information about issues, problems, and procedures encountered in the field. It meets monthly at a time and place designated before each session. The course is offered for Pass/Fail, and is required of all Dramaturgy students. Catherine Sheehy

[DRAM 426a, Late Works, Late Styles An interdisciplinary course (drama, music/opera, film, painting, fiction) centering on the works of five major figures in their twilight years: Ibsen, Verdi, Ingmar Bergman, Richard Strauss, and Matisse. In the search for an ending, the dramatist, painter, composer, or director may be trying to find formal ways to stop time—impossible in life, but not in art. Some, such as Beethoven, seem to have been born old; others—Verdi and Matisse—moved toward eternity younger than ever. Even if there can’t be a unifying theory about late styles, there can be a close study of works that keep defying expectations and categories. The course, then, makes side trips to odd alliances, such as Beckett and Schubert, Benjamin Britten with Thomas Mann, and Henry James’s fascination with late Ibsen. Critical approaches include Edward Said, Maynard Solomon, Gordon Rogoff, and Mann’s late essays. Most of these artists are more clearly than ever in touch with their own beginnings, borrowing from and transforming forms learned when young. Late works, yes, some of them less content than others with the fading light, others finding light in shade, yet all suffused with a startling energy that is its own defiance of the final blow. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Not offered in 2013–2014]

[DRAM 436b, Classicism From the sixteenth through the eighteenth century, Western theatrical culture and dramaturgical practice participated in a wider battle between “high” and “low” forms and functions. This seminar investigates the “high art” notion of Classicism as dramaturgical model and ideological construct in Western theater and drama from the Renaissance through the eighteenth century in Italy, France, England, and Germany. Plays and theoretical texts are examined in light of dramatic and theatrical practices in an exploration of what is meant by Classicism and classical dramaturgy and what the notion of Classicism has meant within the wider discourses of cultural practice. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Not offered in 2013–2014]

[DRAM 446b, Medieval and Tudor Performance Theatrical performance found new life across Europe in the thirteenth century, building upon popular performance traditions preserved by itinerant jongleurs and in local seasonal celebrations and energized by the gradual reemergence of towns and cities and by liturgical innovations and theological debates. Passion plays, Saints plays, Morality plays, and the epic Mystery Cycles of England brought new resiliency to the uses and functions of theatrical performance as people sought out ways to perform their changing sense of personal identity and social solidarity in public. This course focuses on early modern drama and performance in England from the late thirteenth century through the rise of the English Common Players in the sixteenth century. It looks at other varieties of civic and popular performance during this period, including courtly processions and pageants and the performance practices of the Italian commedia dell’arte. Not offered in 2013–2014]

[DRAM 456a/MUSI 847a/GMAN 680a, Wagner in and on Production An exploration of Wagner’s ideas of the Gesamtkunstwerk and their role in the theory and history of opera since the mid-nineteenth century. The seminar contextualizes Wagner’s theories of staging and his attempts at creating a lasting, “correct” production within contemporary theatrical practices and discusses consequences for both historical and modern stagings, with a special focus on Tannhäuser, the Ring cycle, and (possibly) Parsifal. We broach such methodological issues as theories and analyses of performance, multimedia, and the operatic work; approaches to and reconstructions of historical stagings; and the increasing mediatization of opera. Ultimately, the seminar seeks to understand opera more broadly in its liminal state between fixity and ephemerality. Open to nondepartmental students. Not offered in 2013–2014]

DRAM 466b, Research Methodologies This course surveys historical and critical methods of scholarly research. Students learn to utilize relevant library resources, physical archives, and online databases while developing analytical skills for composing annotated bibliographies, research papers, conference proposals, and presentations. Required for all second- and third-year students. Faculty

DRAM 476a/b, Hot Topics A lecture series inaugurated by the Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism department to make students aware of current discussions in theater and performance studies that necessarily lie outside the department’s core curriculum. Attendance at the series is required of all M.F.A. dramaturgs. The series is open to D.F.A. and nondepartmental students, and to non-School of Drama students. Each lecture is accompanied by a short bibliography chosen by the lecturer and circulated in advance of the meeting through Classes* v2. Its second season begins December 2013 and continues through the spring term. Guests

DRAM 486b/ENGL 963b, Contemporary American and British Theater Drama and Performance since 2000 American playwrights include Annie Baker, Will Eno, David Greenspan, Young Jean Lee, Richard Maxwell, Tarell McCraney, Wallace Shawn, and Naomi Wallace. British playwrights include Caryl Churchill, Martin Crimp, David Greig, David Harrower, Zinnie Harris, Nick Payne, Simon Stephens, and Roy Williams. Some consideration of experimental theater companies as well. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Marc Robinson

[DRAM 496b, The American Avant-Garde Topics include the Living Theater, Happenings, Cunningham/Cage, Open Theater, Judson Dance Theater, Grand Union, Bread and Puppet Theater, Performance Group, Ontological-Hysteric Theater, Meredith Monk, Robert Wilson, Mabou Mines, and the Wooster Group. Open to nondepartmental students with prior permission of the instructor. Open to non-School of Drama students with prior permission of both the instructor and Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism Chair Catherine Sheehy. Not offered in 2013–2014]

Additional Courses

The following courses have been offered in the past and are representative of courses that may be offered in subsequent years in response to student interest. Course descriptions are available from the Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism department.

  • DRAM 126a, Shakespeare and His Comic Brethren
  • DRAM 136b, Shakespeare’s Dramaturgy
  • DRAM 146b, Theaters of the Black Atlantic
  • DRAM 176b, Performance Criticism
  • DRAM 196a, American Musical Theater and National Culture
  • DRAM 196b, Bertolt Brecht and Augusto Boal
  • DRAM 216b, Falstaff, Shylock, Bottom, and Others
  • DRAM 226a, Shakespearean Drama
  • DRAM 236a, Opera as Drama
  • DRAM 236b, Corneille, Racine, and Molière: Glory, Honor, and Duty
  • DRAM 256b, The Political Shakespeare
  • DRAM 316a, Contemporary African-American Playwrights
  • DRAM 366a, Contemporary American Drama
  • DRAM 386b, American Drama to 1914

Students may elect to take appropriate graduate courses in other schools and departments at Yale, subject to permission of the instructor, scheduling limitations, and the approval of the faculty adviser.

Return to Top

Playwriting (M.F.A. and Certificate)

Jeanie O’Hare, Chair

Yale School of Drama’s Playwriting department is designed for playwrights who are ready to step forward as leaders of our culture and artists of our time. We work with playwrights who possess an irreducible voice and who can demonstrate their command of language, ideas, and form. We are interested in playwrights who are ready to test their own potential and who want to do so while forming lifelong bonds with a community of fellow artists.

Yale School of Drama creates an environment in which playwrights work, peer-to-peer, with other theater makers. The resulting atmosphere of like-minded endeavor enables writers to reach through inhibition toward a more resonant, more formally inventive and, crucially, more socially perceptive eloquence. We encourage playwrights to keep one eye on the horizon—to hold a global view of the world but write the particularities of their own stories. We expect playwrights to learn the rules and then shatter them, and to engage with their cultural responsibilities as disclosers of truth.

The Yale playwriting program offers three distinct challenges:

In Strategies and Inspiration, the writer leaves his or her cohorts for a while and embraces the artist as loner: the person who distills his or her own integrity of voice, who finds a richness of imaginative response, who is self-sufficient, and who has to write. We offer strategies for kick-starting ideas and galvanizing the lifelong habit of writing. The program begins with Paula Vogel’s Boot Camp, and there are several writing prompts each year: short plays begun from assigned themes and elements, written to strict deadlines.

In Process and Testing, the joy of making theater inspires the whole School. The playwright takes the methodologies of the rehearsal room and creates a toolkit to shape and test his or her work. Collaborative muscles are strengthened and sophisticated; supple, inspired, witty, and generous conversations are enjoyed; dramaturgical priorities rule, and favored lines are sacrificed to the greater good; rewriting becomes the most exhilarating skill; and actors’ instincts test what is real and what is bogus. The playwright forges relationships with directors and dramaturgs, learns the etiquette of the traditional rehearsal room, and contributes to the freshly evolving etiquettes of new ways of making theater.

In Professional Practice, the playwright has an opportunity to fulfill a program of work as close to professional practice as possible, focusing on the full-length play written for the Carlotta Festival. We explore what is expected by the industry, construct strategies for honoring and subverting those expectations, and offer an examination of the levels of ambition and accomplishment needed to establish a living as an artist. This is when Yale School of Drama demands the most from its playwrights and when the writer’s investment of passion, joy, and tears pays off handsomely.

The Playwriting department believes that the Yale Cabaret is an essential part of life and practice at Yale School of Drama and encourages all its students to participate in the Cabaret—not only as writers, but also as theater artists wearing a variety of hats. A playwright must also balance that participation with the demands of his or her writing schedules and assigned rehearsals.

Plan of Study: Playwriting

Throughout the year, playwrights are required to take part in Boot Camp (DRAM 7a) and Workshop (DRAM 47a). Second- and third-year playwrights are also required to take Plays in Production (DRAM 207a or b). Each term, a student is required to take three courses for credit, at least one of which must be a writing workshop. More than one writing workshop may be taken. Students are encouraged to take other classes as audits beyond their three required credit courses. Any writing workshop may be repeated for credit. All plans of study must be approved by the chair.

In the second year of study, playwrights may choose a “track” to pursue for the next two years. A “track” may be film/television writing, musical theater, design, dramaturgy, or stage and production management.

Production

Playwrights are produced at least once a year. First-year playwrights participate in The Collaborative Process (DRAM 50a) and also write a one-act play for the New Play Lab (DRAM 51b) in the spring. In the spring term of the first year, playwrights begin to write a full-length play that is then produced in the first term of their second year (Langston Hughes Festival). By the third year, playwrights have written a roster of full-length plays, and one of those plays is selected to be fully designed and produced in repertory in their final term (Carlotta Festival).

Although it is the goal and hope that all playwrights receive the three productions described above, all plays are subject to the approval of the chair prior to production.

Required Sequence

  • Year
  • Course
  • Subject
  • I
  • DRAM 6a/b
  • Survey of Theater and Drama
  • DRAM 7a
  • Boot Camp
  • DRAM 37a/b
  • How to Produce Plays
  • DRAM 47a
  • Workshop: Big Plays and Little Plays
  • DRAM 50a
  • The Collaborative Process
  • DRAM 51b
  • New Play Lab
  • DRAM 97a
  • Industry Practice I
  • DRAM 107b
  • Workshop: Readings with Actors
  • DRAM 147a
  • Writing for the Ensemble
  • DRAM 248b
  • Sound Design for New Plays
  • II
  • DRAM 7a
  • Boot Camp
  • DRAM 27b
  • Second-Year Master Class
  • DRAM 37a/b
  • How to Produce Plays
  • DRAM 47a
  • Workshop: Big Plays and Little Plays
  • DRAM 66a
  • Lyric Writing for Musical Theater
  • DRAM 67b
  • Libretto Writing for Musical Theater
  • DRAM 87a/b
  • Screenwriting I
  • DRAM 97a
  • Industry Practice I
  • DRAM 107b
  • Workshop: Readings with Actors
  • DRAM 157a
  • Independent Study
  • DRAM 207a or b
  • Plays in Production
  • III
  • DRAM 7a
  • Boot Camp
  • DRAM 37a/b
  • How to Produce Plays
  • DRAM 47a
  • Workshop: Big Plays and Little Plays
  • DRAM 87a/b
  • Screenwriting I
  • DRAM 97b
  • Industry Practice II
  • DRAM 107b
  • Workshop: Readings with Actors
  • DRAM 207a or b
  • Plays in Production
  • DRAM 237a
  • Third-Year Playwriting Analysis

Courses of Instruction

DRAM 6a/b, Survey of Theater and Drama Required for first-year students. See description under Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism.

DRAM 7a, Boot Camp An intensive, twelve hours a day, three-day seminar in theater making; with conversation, exercises, readings, manifestos, eating, drinking, and lots of caffeine. Paula Vogel and faculty

DRAM 27b, Second-Year Master Class A spring-term seminar for second-year playwrights taught in New York City. The class includes visits to productions, rehearsals, and meetings with theater professionals, as well as discussion of assigned weekly writing. Lynn Nottage

DRAM 37a/b, How to Produce Plays A series of modules required of all playwrights on the production process and the demands it makes of writers. What skills are needed to maximize the chances of definitive productions? Includes seminars on rehearsal room protocols, scales of production, and assembling creative teams. Anne Erbe

DRAM 47a, Workshop: Big Plays and Little Plays A required seminar for all playwrights. Students read epic and minimalist dramas and write short works in progress. Writing prompts and writer-led feedback. There are three short-sprint writing deadlines during the term. Sarah Ruhl

DRAM 50a, The Collaborative Process Required for first-year students. See description under Directing.

DRAM 51b, New Play Lab First-year actors, directors, dramaturgs, and playwrights together closely read new plays by first-year playwrights. Each one-act play is staged three times in a series of open workshops by three directors working with three writers and assigned teams of actors and dramaturgs. Through this process, playwrights, dramaturgs, directors, and actors discover the multiple imaginative and interpretive possibilities a script may offer. David Chambers, Jeanie O’Hare

[DRAM 57a/b, Television Writing An intensive practicum of television writing structured around the writing of a “spec” script. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Not offered in 2013–2014]

DRAM 66a/THST 414a, Lyric Writing for Musical Theater A seminar in lyric writing for the stage. Open to nondepartmental students and undergraduates. Limited enrollment. Michael Korie

DRAM 67b/THST 412b, Libretto Writing for Musical Theater This course combines practical instruction in book writing for musical theater with a close reading of historical and contemporary examples from the genre. Open to nondepartmental students and undergraduates with prior permission of the instructor. Limited enrollment. Rachel Sheinkin

DRAM 87a/b, Screenwriting I A seminar for second- and third-year students. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Frank Pugliese

DRAM 97a, Industry Practice I A seminar for first- and second-year students. Topics include basic preparation and protocols for submitting scripts to professional theaters; survey of American new play development programs, including producing theaters, festivals, prizes, and competitions; playwright resource centers; and ongoing career strategies. Jennifer Kiger

DRAM 97b, Industry Practice II A module for third-year students about to make their way into the industry. This seminar covers refresher topics, including preparation and protocols for submitting scripts to professional theaters and agents; current thinking among American new play development programs; and ongoing career strategies. Jennifer Kiger

DRAM 107b, Workshop: Reading for Actors A required seminar for all playwrights: readings, discussion, and development of works in progress. Working with a casting director, writers select actors for their plays. Each writer leads the room in an exploration of an early draft of a full-length play. Jeanie O’Hare, Suzan-Lori Parks

DRAM 147a, Writing for the Ensemble This is a seminar class for first-year playwrights and dramaturgs. It explores the history and practice of writing plays for ensemble-based theater companies. Deborah Stein

DRAM 157a, Independent Study A second-year seminar for playwrights that includes a mix of one-to-one script meetings and group meetings to share and discuss work. A program of individualized reading and study is tailored to each student. Sarah Ruhl

DRAM 163b, Text Analysis I See description under Acting.

DRAM 207a or b, Plays in Production Discussion, preparation, and rehearsals for plays in production. Meetings with individual writers, time and place to be assigned. Jeanie O’Hare and faculty

DRAM 224a/b, Introduction to Projection Design See description under Projection Design.

DRAM 227a, Teaching Practicum II An advanced independent class for third-year playwrights to teach their own playwriting course outside of Yale under the mentorship of the chair of the department. Faculty

DRAM 237a, Third-Year Playwriting Analysis A writing seminar for third-year students as they ready their play for the Carlotta Festival and prepare their professional portfolios. Jeanie O’Hare

[DRAM 247a, The Off-Stage World A companion writing workshop to Experiments in Feedback to foster awareness of the invisible dynamics that create pressure on the on-stage world. Required for all playwrights. Not offered in 2013–2014]

DRAM 248b, Sound Design for New Plays See description under Sound Design.

Return to Top

Stage Management (M.F.A. and Certificate)

Mary Hunter, Chair

The Stage Management department is designed to prepare the qualified student for professional stage management employment, with the intended goal of assisting the student to recognize and fulfill his or her role as a passionate artistic collaborator and as an effective organizational manager throughout the entire production process. The role of the production stage manager requires a deep commitment to the artistic process and a fundamental desire to support the work through the creation of an environment in which artistic risks can be taken.

This rigorous interdisciplinary curriculum consists of a balanced combination of required courses that provide a wide range of knowledge and training essential for today’s professional. In addition to the classroom requirements, students are assigned to stage management positions for Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre productions that reflect progressively increased responsibilities throughout the plan of study. While the program of study is structured to prepare the student for work in the commercial and regional theater, it also provides a strong basis for learning a variety of artistic skills and managerial tools essential for employment opportunities in many different entertainment areas such as touring, dance, opera, event management, and industrials. Workshops, seminars, and lectures by noted professionals provide an essential component in the course of study.

Yale Repertory Theatre serves as an advanced training center for the department. During the first year, the student may have the opportunity to work at Yale Rep in a production capacity. As part of the second year of study, the student is assigned as an assistant stage manager on one production. And in the final year, providing the standards and qualifications set forth by the department are met, the student is assigned as the stage manager for a Yale Rep production. This assignment fulfills one of three requirements related to the student’s thesis and provides an opportunity to attain membership in the Actors’ Equity Association. Throughout this process, the student is under the professional supervision of the production stage manager for Yale Repertory Theatre.

Extracurricular participation in the Yale Cabaret is also encouraged, subject to prior approval of the department chair. Students assigned as the stage manager or assistant stage manager for Yale Repertory Theatre, Yale School of Drama series, or second-year acting project productions may not participate in the Cabaret throughout the assigned show’s preparation, rehearsal, and performance period.

Plan of Study: Stage Management

Required Sequence

  • Year
  • Course
  • Subject
  • I
  • DRAM 6a/b
  • Survey of Theater and Drama
  • DRAM 21a
  • Founding Visions for Places in the Art
  • DRAM 40a/b
  • Principles of Stage Management
  • DRAM 80a
  • Stage Combat for Stage Manager
  • DRAM 100a/b
  • Stage Management Issues Seminar
  • DRAM 102a
  • Scene Design
  • DRAM 141b
  • Law and the Arts
  • DRAM 149a
  • Production Planning
  • DRAM 159a
  • Theater Safety
  • DRAM 191b
  • Managing the Production Process
  • DRAM 700a/b
  • Stage Management Forum: The Artistic Process
  • Electives not suggested first year
  • II
  • DRAM 60a
  • Rehearsal Rules and Process for the Equity Stage Manager
  • DRAM 60b
  • Professional Stage Management in Performance
  • DRAM 80a
  • Stage Combat for Stage Managers
  • DRAM 114b
  • Lighting Design for Stage Managers
  • DRAM 158a
  • Introduction to Sound Design
  • DRAM 189a
  • Costume Production
  • DRAM 200a/b
  • Stage Management Issues Seminar
  • DRAM 700a/b
  • Stage Management Forum: The Artistic Process
  • One required elective with chair approval
  • Additional electives with chair approval
  • III
  • DRAM 80a
  • Stage Combat for Stage Managers
  • DRAM 300a/b
  • Stage Management Issues Seminar
  • DRAM 400a
  • Stage Management for the Commercial Theater
  • DRAM 400b
  • Current Stage Management Practice
  • DRAM 500a/b
  • The Stage Manager’s Thesis
  • DRAM 700a/b
  • Stage Management Forum: The Artistic Process
  • Three required electives with chair approval

Required Elective Sequence

One elective is required during the second year, and three electives are required during the third year from the suggested list of elective courses, other Yale professional schools, or Yale College. All required electives must be approved by the chair.

Suggested elective sequence: DRAM 11a, Theater Organizations; DRAM 111a, Functions of Leadership: Change, Motivation, and Organizational Direction; DRAM 115a, Costume Design: Background and Practice; DRAM 119b, Electricity; DRAM 121a, Managing People; DRAM 158b, Recording Arts; DRAM 169a, Shop Technology; DRAM 169b, Stage Rigging Techniques; DRAM 198a, Sound Design Production Organization; DRAM 199b, Digital Technology; DRAM 209a, Physics of Stage Machinery; DRAM 209b, Hydraulics and Pneumatics; DRAM 221b, Labor and Employee Relations; DRAM 224a, Introduction to Projection Design; DRAM 249a, Technical Management; and DRAM 249b, Production Management; DRAM 253a, Commedia.

Courses of Instruction

DRAM 6a/b, Survey of Theater and Drama See description under Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism.

DRAM 11a, Theater Organizations See description under Theater Management.

DRAM 21a, Founding Visions for Places in the Art See description under Theater Management.

DRAM 40a/b, Principles of Stage Management This fundamental course is designed to explore the artistic and organizational techniques and practices of stage management. Topics covered include production preparation and management; collaborative relationships with artistic, production, and administrative staff; development of individual stage management style; issues of employment; and stress management. Through a series of workshops with Yale School of Drama faculty and guest lecturers, a portion of this class provides instruction on basic professional considerations and practice. Required for first-year stage managers. Mary Hunter

DRAM 60a, Rehearsal Rules and Process for the Equity Stage Manager An introduction to the Actors’ Equity Association LORT contract: practices and concerns. The emphasis of the class is on practical use and application of the contract with particular focus on rehearsal work rules and provisions. Specific stage management methods and techniques within the collaborative process of rehearsal and tech are closely considered. In addition, this course includes a comparative analysis of the LORT rules and similar guidelines in various other Equity contracts such as Production, Off-Broadway, TYA, Guest Artist, URTA, and SPT. James Mountcastle

DRAM 60b, Professional Stage Management in Performance This course continues a study of the professional stage manager working within various Equity agreements. Looking at specific methods and practices, the focus shifts to processes in place after the show has opened. Among the topics discussed in this course: backstage set-up, cue calling, show maintenance, performance assessment and reports, understudies, replacements, and a stage manager’s close working relationship with actors in performance. Serious consideration of these topics is intended to lead to a candid ongoing discussion of practical realities and principles crucial to the notion of professional stage management as a career. James Mountcastle

DRAM 80a, Stage Combat for Stage Managers This course is designed to prepare the stage manager in the techniques of stage combat with emphasis on unarmed combat, swordplay, flying technique, weapon use and maintenance, and safety issues. The student explores methods of artistic collaboration and management skills utilized during the rehearsal process, fight calls, and performance maintenance. Rick Sordelet

DRAM 100a/b, 200a/b, 300a/b, Stage Management Issues Seminar This dynamic investigation of process is designed to bring the entire department together with core stage management faculty to examine specific issues and topics identified for each session and to thoroughly review production work, focusing on the artistic experience and the challenges encountered throughout the process. Students are required to prepare group presentations and conduct three classes per term focused on issues that confront them on a regular basis. Laura Brown-MacKinnon, Diane DiVita, Mary Hunter, James Mountcastle

DRAM 102a, Scene Design See description under Design.

DRAM 111a, Functions of Leadership: Change, Motivation, and Organizational Direction See description under Theater Management.

DRAM 114b, Lighting Design for Stage Managers See description under Design.

DRAM 115a, Costume Design: Background and Practice See description under Design.

DRAM 119b, Electricity See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 121a, Managing People See description under Theater Management.

DRAM 141b, Law and the Arts See description under Theater Management.

DRAM 149a, Production Planning See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 158a, Introduction to Sound Design See description under Sound Design.

DRAM 158b, Recording Arts See description under Sound Design.

DRAM 159a, Theater Safety See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 169a, Shop Technology See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 169b, Stage Rigging Techniques See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 189a, Costume Production See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 191b, Managing the Production Process See description under Theater Management.

DRAM 198a, Sound Design Production Organization See description under Sound Design.

DRAM 199b, Digital Technology See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 209a, Physics of Stage Machinery See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 209b, Hydraulics and Pneumatics See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 221b, Labor and Employee Relations See description under Theater Management.

DRAM 224a, Introduction to Projection Design See description under Projection Design.

DRAM 249a, Technical Management See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 249b, Production Management See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 253a, Commedia See description under Acting.

DRAM 400a, Stage Management for the Commercial Theater The focus of this course centers on stage management for the commercial theater with emphasis on process and current conditions in the industry. As a primer for the stage manager to work in the commercial theater, this course is an in-depth study of the production process according to the theatrical unions who perform backstage on Broadway, including but not limited to AEA, I.A.T.S.E., Local 764/Wardrobe, Local 798/Hair and Make-up, and Local 802/ Musicians. Laura Brown-MacKinnon

DRAM 400b, Current Stage Management Practice An insightful study of the “Next Step” into professional stage management. As a resource class, topics include leadership, ethics, Equity benefits that pertain to the Equity member, hiring practices, qualities and personal development of the stage manager, networking, developing relationships within the professional theater, and pursuing employment. Current topics and practices in the industry are discussed by the instructor and invited guest speakers who work in the professional theater. Diane DiVita

DRAM 500a/b, The Stage Manager’s Thesis Each student must submit an appropriate written or production thesis during the third year. Third-year students pursuing a production thesis are responsible for three aspects in fulfilling the requirement: stage manage a major production at Yale School of Drama or Yale Repertory Theatre; prepare and submit the production book; and write an approved Acting Edition of the production.

Students pursuing a written thesis are required to research and critically analyze an appropriate topic approved by the department chair. The document should show the student’s mastery of critical thinking and writing as they pertain to some aspect of production stage management. The proposed topic must be approved by the chair no later than the end of the second year. In addition to the written thesis—and providing the qualifications and standards set forth by the department are met—the student stage manages a major production at Yale School of Drama or Yale Repertory Theatre, and submits the production book.

The written or production thesis is then developed under the guidance of the department chair. After revision and the chair’s approval, the work must be evaluated and critiqued by three approved independent readers. The final, bound edition of the written thesis is considered by the faculty along with production work in determining whether a degree should be granted. Mary Hunter

DRAM 700a/b, Stage Management Forum: The Artistic Process This two-term course focuses on stage managerial techniques outside of traditional theater practice. Through a series of workshops led by professionals in a variety of entertainment fields, students explore artistic process and development of managerial skill sets. Topics rotate on a three-year basis and include, but are not limited to, music theory and practice, dance, opera, event management, industrials, musical theater, touring, film, television, theater for children, theme parks, theatrical technology, computer applications, vocal training, and physical awareness. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the chair. Mary Hunter, Chair; Matthew Suttor, and other professional department lecturers

Return to Top

Technical Design and Production (M.F.A. and Certificate)

Bronislaw Joseph Sammler, Chair

Contemporary theater design and production practices are profoundly influenced by the technology and economics of our age. The diverse aesthetics and the increasingly complex electronic and mechanical components now being employed in the performing arts point to the need for professionals who can understand and apply these technologies to the achievement of artistic goals. The department seeks well-educated and highly motivated students who will best be able to use the resources of Yale School of Drama/Yale Repertory Theatre and the University to expand their professional abilities and deepen their professional interests in theater and the performing arts.

This program of study provides academic and practical training for professionals who can perform with excellence in producing organizations, consulting firms, manufacturing companies, and universities. The exceptional placement record of graduates who have trained in the unique environment offered by Yale School of Drama/Yale Repertory Theatre emphasizes the career value of the graduate program of study.

Technical management requires a wide range of skills and knowledge. The department’s sequence of required courses focuses on key principles of the physical and social sciences and their application to performing arts technology. Concurrently, with the required sequence, each student pursues elective courses that lead to a concentration in Production Management, Technical Direction, Stage Machinery Design and Automation, or Theater Planning and Consulting. Degree candidates also prepare a research thesis in their chosen area of concentration.

To assure comprehensive training, the department’s faculty and staff of thirty-five offer courses covering a wide range of topics including production management, lighting, sound and video technology, mechanical design, automation, structural design, acoustics, theater engineering, digital technology, show control, AutoCAD, and technical writing. In addition, the department’s weekly seminar features guest lectures by noted professionals. Students are encouraged to augment their studies with courses from other departments in Yale School of Drama and from other schools in Yale University including Architecture, Management, and Engineering & Applied Science.

Finally, to afford students the opportunity to develop and test newly acquired skills, the department requires that each student complete eight production assignments at Yale School of Drama/Yale Repertory Theatre. Individually tailored to each student’s skills and professional goals, the production assignments represent a sequence of increasingly demanding production experiences.

Plan of Study: Technical Design and Production

Required Sequence

  • Year
  • Course
  • Subject
  • I
  • DRAM 109a/b
  • Structural Design for the Stage
  • DRAM 119b
  • Electricity
  • DRAM 149a
  • Production Planning
  • DRAM 159a
  • Theater Safety
  • DRAM 169a
  • Shop Technology
  • DRAM 169b
  • Stage Rigging Techniques
  • DRAM 179a/b
  • Technical Design and Drafting
  • DRAM 199b
  • Digital Technology
  • Two electives
  • Three production assignments
  • II
  • DRAM 6a/b
  • Survey of Theater and Drama
  • DRAM 209a
  • Physics of Stage Machinery
  • DRAM 249a
  • Technical Management
  • DRAM 249b
  • Production Management
  • DRAM 279b
  • Technical Design
  • Six electives
  • Three production assignments*
  • III
  • DRAM 399a
  • Technical Writing and Research
  • DRAM 399b
  • Technical Design and Production Thesis
  • Six terms of elective sequence courses
  • Two production assignments*

*Second- or third-year students may request the substitution of a substantial project for one production assignment.
Elective Sequence

The elective sequence is determined in consultation with a faculty adviser and allows each student reasonable flexibility in selecting courses in a chosen area of concentration.

Yale Cabaret

Technical Design and Production students are encouraged to work in all capacities at the Yale Cabaret; however, this participation is understood to be in addition to and in no way a substitution for required departmental work. All students must seek prior approval from the department chair for participation in the Cabaret, and no second- or third-year student on probation may participate in the Yale Cabaret in any capacity.

Courses of Instruction

DRAM 6a/b, Survey of Theater and Drama See description under Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism.

DRAM 69a, Welding Technology A course in the fundamentals and applications of electric arc welding techniques (TIG, MIG, STICK) as well as brazing and soldering. Emphasis is on welding of metals including: steel, aluminum, brass, copper, etc.; joining dissimilar metals; fixturing; and evaluating the appropriate process for an application. The majority of class time is spent welding, brazing, or soldering. Enrollment limited to six. Four hours a week. David Johnson

DRAM 69b, Mechanical Instrumentation A course for both the arts and sciences that goes beyond an introductory shop course, offering an in-depth study utilizing hands-on instructional techniques. Surface finishes and tolerances versus cost and time, blueprint reading, machineability of materials, feeds and speeds, and grinding of tools are discussed and demonstrated. Four hours a week. David Johnson

DRAM 89b, Costume Construction A course in costume construction with hands-on practice in both machine and hand sewing as well as various forms of patterning (draping, flat drafting, etc.). Advanced students may elect to undertake patterning and construction projects using Yale School of Drama’s antique costume collection. Two hours a week. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Robin Hirsch

DRAM 99a/b, Internship Practicum Interns are required to successfully complete two terms of practicum in their chosen area of concentration. Thirty hours a week. Area supervisor

DRAM 109a/b, Structural Design for the Stage This course concurrently develops the precalculus mathematics and physical sciences requisite for advanced study in modern theater technology, and concentrates on the application of statics to the design of safe scenic structures. Assignments relate structural design principles to production applications. Two hours a week. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Bronislaw Joseph Sammler

DRAM 119b, Electricity This course presents the basic theoretical and practical optics, electricity, and electronics of lighting instruments, dimmers, and special effects needed to function as a master electrician. Emphasis is placed on relevant portions of the National Electrical Code. Two hours a week. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Alan Hendrickson

DRAM 129b, History of Theater Architecture A survey of European and American theater architecture as it relates to cultural and technological changes through time. This course uses the writings of current and past authorities on such subjects as acoustics, space layout, and decoration to illustrate and evaluate these buildings’ many variations. Two hours a week. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Alan Hendrickson

DRAM 139a, Introduction to Sound Engineering and Design This course provides students with the basic skills and vocabulary necessary to perform as sound engineers and sound designers. Students are introduced to standard sound design practice, associated paperwork, production design tools, acoustic assessment tools, and sound delivery systems addressing both conceptual and sound reinforcement design. This is accomplished through practical assignments, production reviews, and conceptual design projects. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructors. Three hours a week. Michael Backhaus, Sten Severson

DRAM 149a, Production Planning An introduction to production planning. Topics include cost and time estimating, and scheduling, for all phases of production. One and one-half hours a week. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Bronislaw Joseph Sammler

DRAM 159a, Theater Safety An introduction to theater safety and occupational health. Topics include chemical and fire hazards, accident and fire prevention, code requirements, emergency procedures, and training and certification in first aid and CPR. One and one-half hours a week. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. William J. Reynolds

DRAM 169a, Shop Technology This course serves as an introduction to the scene shops and technology available at Yale School of Drama. Materials, construction tools and techniques, and shop organization and management are examined in the context of scenic production. Class projects are tailored to each student’s needs. Three hours a week plus a three-hour lab. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructors. Neil Mulligan, Matthew T. Welander

DRAM 169b, Stage Rigging Techniques This course examines traditional and nontraditional rigging techniques. Equipment discussed includes counterweight and mechanical rigging systems and their components. Class format is both lecture and lab with written and practical projects assigned to further the student’s understanding. Three hours a week. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Neil Mulligan

DRAM 179a/b, Technical Design and Drafting This course develops the skills necessary for effective and efficient graphic communication between the technical designer and shop staff. Emphasis is placed on graphic standards, notation, plan and section drawings, and the translation of designer plates to shop drawings. Students develop these techniques through sketching, applying the fundamental aspects of AutoCAD, and technical design projects. Three hours a week. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Matthew T. Welander

DRAM 189a, Costume Production This course examines the processes involved in the realization of a set of costume designs, from the drawing board to the stage. Focus is on shop organization and the functions of the designer, assistant designer, and costume staff, with emphasis on budgeting, scheduling, fabrics, and equipment. One and one-half hours a week. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Tom McAlister

DRAM 189b, Fabric and Fabric Manipulation This course explores the aesthetics and performance characteristics of fabrics commonly used for the stage, and how to choose apparel fabrics. It examines the basic properties of natural and synthetic fibers: weaves and texture, pattern and scale, drape, memory, hand, finish, and cost. Time is spent exploring fabrics under stage lighting. One and one-half hours a week. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Tom McAlister

DRAM 199b, Digital Technology This course provides a foundation for the digital skills necessary in today’s technologically rich workplaces. Topics include computer networking and data distribution for theatrical systems; online resources to foster new methods of collaboration; industry-standard productivity software critical to the clear presentation of information; three-dimensional scanning, manipulation, and printing. Three hours a week. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructors. Erich Bolton, Jonathan Reed

DRAM 209a, Physics of Stage Machinery This course introduces Newtonian mechanics as an aid in predicting the behavior of moving scenery. Theoretical performance calculations are developed to approximate the actual performance of stage machinery. Topics include electric motors, gearing, friction, and ergonomics. Two hours a week. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Alan Hendrickson

DRAM 209b, Hydraulics and Pneumatics Discussions of concepts and components begun in DRAM 209a are continued for fluid power systems. Topics include hydraulic power unit design, the selection and operation of electro-hydraulic proportional valves, load lifting circuits using counterbalance valves, and pneumatic system design. A major emphasis is placed on the practical aspects of component selection, especially for hydraulic cylinders, hose, and fittings. Two hours a week. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Alan Hendrickson

DRAM 229a, Theater Planning and Construction This course is an introduction to planning, design, documentation, and construction of theaters, concert halls, and similar spaces. Emphasis is placed on the role of the theater consultant in functional planning and architectural design. The goal is to introduce the student to the field and provide a basic understanding of the processes and vocabulary of theater planning. Two hours a week. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Eugene Leitermann

DRAM 239a, Introduction to Projection Engineering This course provides students with the skills and vocabulary necessary to perform as projection engineers. Students are introduced to the paperwork to design, the equipment to implement, and the software to operate a successful video projection system while interfacing with a projection designer. Class format includes lectures and lab sessions that focus on equipment and software. Three hours a week. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Erich Bolton

DRAM 249a, Technical Management This course discusses application of management techniques and organizational principles to technical production. Emphasis is placed on leadership and interpersonal skills as well as on organization, planning, and facilities utilization. Assignments provide further exploration of related topics in the form of written and/or presented material. Two hours a week. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Elisa Cardone

DRAM 249b, Production Management This course explores the organizational structures found in not-for-profit and limited-partnership commercial ventures. Students explore patterns of responsibility and authority, various charts of accounts and fiscal controls, estimating techniques, budgeting, and scheduling. Discussions include a variety of theatrical organizations, their artistic policies, and processes and products that result. Two hours a week. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Elisa Cardone

DRAM 279a, Advanced AutoCAD An in-depth study of 3-D drafting techniques and an introduction to parametric modeling software. AutoCAD projects ranging from solids, surfaces, and rendering are interspersed with the creation of Autodesk Inventor parts, assemblies, and animations. Prerequisite: DRAM 179a/b or prior permission of the instructor. Two hours a week. Jonathan Reed

DRAM 279b, Technical Design This course examines the technical design process in the development of solutions to scenery construction projects. Solutions, utilizing traditional and modern materials and fabrication techniques, are studied from the perspectives of budget, safety, and structural integrity. Three hours a week. Neil Mulligan

DRAM 289a, Patternmaking This course explores costume history through the three-dimensional form. Each week students drape and/or draft a garment from a specific period from primitive “T” shapes to mid-twentieth-century patterns. Two hours a week. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Robin Hirsch

DRAM 309a, Mechanical Design for Theater Applications This course focuses on the process of mechanical design for temporary and permanent stage machinery. Design considerations and component selections are examined through lectures, discussions, assignments, and project reviews. Other topics include motion control, fluid power circuit design, and industrial standards. Three hours a week. Alan Hendrickson

DRAM 319a, Automation Control Designing and constructing control systems for mechanized scenery involves theoretical and practical work in electrical power distribution, switching logic, electronics, and software programming. The material covered in lectures and labs progresses from simple on-off electrical control, to relay logic, motor speed control, and finally full positioning control. Topics include motor starters, open collector outputs, power supplies, PLC ladder programming, and AC motor drives. Three and one-half hours a week. Alan Hendrickson

[DRAM 329a, Theater Engineering: Lighting, Sound, Video, and Communication Systems This course introduces the basic concepts of the design of lighting, sound, video, and communication systems and infrastructure within the context of the overall design of performing arts facilities. Topics include programming and budgeting equipment systems, code requirements, and integration with other building systems. The student develops and details basic equipment systems within a building envelope provided by the instructor. Two hours a week. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Not offered in 2013–2014]

DRAM 339a, Advanced Topics in Projection Engineering This course builds on the concepts introduced in DRAM 239a. Students have the opportunity to apply their knowledge in a series of practical projects designed to maximize their exposure to current technologies and techniques. Class format includes lectures and lab sessions that focus on equipment and software, including media servers, video codecs, computer hardware, signal distribution, and projection surfaces. Two hours a week. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Erich Bolton

DRAM 359b, Advanced Topics in Theater Safety The implementation of an effective theater safety program requires knowledge and understanding of applicable codes and standards, and their application in a theater production environment. This course reviews codes and standards, including OSHA 29CFR1910 and 29CFR1926, NFPA 101 Life Safety Code, other related NFPA codes and standards, ETSA certifications, and Equity requirements. Strategies and resources for compliance are discussed. The identification, control, and/or mitigation of hazards are addressed through risk assessment and the application of the Hazard Communication standard in the workplace. One and one-half hours a week. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. William J. Reynolds

DRAM 369a, Advanced Rigging Techniques This course builds on the concepts introduced in DRAM 169b. Topics include rigging solutions for Broadway and national tours, flying performers, and fall protection and rescue techniques. Projects include both written and hands-on work. Prerequisites: a grade of High Pass or better in DRAM 169b and the ability to work at heights. Two hours a week. Neil Mulligan

DRAM 389a/b, Properties Design and Construction Through lectures and demonstrations, students study design and fabrication of stage properties. Assignments encourage students to develop craft skills and to explore the application of traditional and new techniques to production practice. Three hours a week. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructors. Brian Cookson, Jennifer McClure, David P. Schrader

DRAM 399a, Technical Writing and Research The content of this course is divided into three distinct sections. The first focuses on interpreting and writing the many forms of technical documentation produced in the field of live events management. Examples are operations and maintenance manuals, technical riders, and bid package documents. The second section focuses on thesis development, requiring students to produce a detailed outline and introductory chapter of their theses. In the third section, students are expected to produce a cover letter, résumé, and digital portfolio in preparation for a jobs seminar during the January Seminar Week. Three hours a week. Elisa Cardone

DRAM 399b, Technical Design and Production Thesis Each student develops a thesis dealing with a production- or planning-oriented subject. By the end of the second year, a thesis proposal is submitted for departmental review. Following topic approval, the thesis is researched under the guidance of an approved adviser, and a complete draft is submitted five weeks prior to graduation. After revision and adviser’s approval, the work is evaluated and critiqued by three independent readers. Following revisions and departmental approval, two bound copies are submitted. One and one-half hours a week. Elisa Cardone

DRAM 409b, Advanced Structural Design for the Stage This course builds on the concepts introduced in DRAM 109a/b. Topics include aluminum beam and column design, trusses and cables, and plywood design. Prerequisite: Dram 109a/b or permission of the instructor. Two hours a week. Bronislaw Joseph Sammler

DRAM 419b, Control Systems for Live Entertainment The rapidly developing field of “show control” is the focus of this course. Show control is the convergence of entertainment, computing, networking, and data communication technologies. Topics include data communication and networking principles; details of entertainment-specific protocols such as DMX512, MIDI, MIDI Show Control, MIDI Machine Control, and SMPTE Time Code; and practical applications and principles of system design. Three hours a week. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Erich Bolton

DRAM 429a, Theater Engineering: Overhead Rigging and Stage Machinery This course introduces the basic concepts of the design of overhead rigging and stage machinery systems and infrastructure within the context of the overall design of performing arts facilities. Topics include programming and budgeting equipment systems, code requirements, and integration with other building systems. The student develops and details basic equipment systems within a building envelope provided by the instructor. Two hours a week. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Todd Berling

DRAM 439b, Architectural Acoustics This course is both an introduction to the basic principles and terminology of acoustics and a survey of the acoustics of performance venues, with an emphasis on theaters. Topics include physical acoustics, room acoustics, psychoacoustics, electroacoustics, sound isolation, and noise and vibration control. The goals are to furnish the student with a background in acoustical theory and its practical application to performance spaces, and to instill the basics of recognizing and modifying aspects of the built environment that determine acoustic conditions. Two hours a week. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Damian Doria

DRAM 449a/b, Independent Study Students who want to pursue special research or the study of topics not covered by formal courses may propose an independent study. Following department approval of the topic, the student meets regularly with an adviser to seek tutorial advice. Credit for independent study is awarded by the department, based on the adviser’s recommendation. Tutorial meetings to be arranged. Faculty and staff

DRAM 469b, Scenery Construction for the Commercial Theater This course examines construction techniques and working conditions in union scene shops servicing the Broadway theater industry. Field trips to shops in the New York area and backstage tours of the shows being discussed in class are included. An important aspect of all assignments is an in-depth discussion of the transition from designer’s drawings to shop drawings, construction in the scene shop, and eventual set-up in the theater. Two hours a week. Chuck Adomanis, John Boyd

DRAM 489a/b, Advanced Patternmaking This course clarifies the process by which a costume design goes from a rendering to a three-dimensional form for the stage. Students select a text, and then research and render a costume design for one character. Rigorous draping and flat-patterning techniques, as well as proper cutting, stitching, and fitting methods, are applied to create the elements of a period silhouette, from the foundation garments to the outer apparel. Student actors participate as models to enhance the understanding of the journey from sketch to stageworthy clothing. Two hours a week. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. Tom McAlister

[DRAM 529b, Theater Planning Seminar This course is a continuation of DRAM 229a, Theater Planning and Construction, concentrating on the renovation or rehabilitation of existing buildings for the performing arts, and on design work by teams of students. The term-long design project provides students the opportunity to apply knowledge acquired in DRAM 329a, 429a, and 439b, although these courses are not prerequisites. Visiting lecturers join the class to discuss theater planning topics. Two hours a week. Not offered in 2013–2014]

Return to Top

Theater Management (M.F.A.)

Edward A. Martenson, Chair

The Theater Management department prepares aspiring leaders to create organizational environments increasingly favorable to the creation of theater art and its presentation to appreciative audiences. The department provides students with the knowledge, skills, experience, and values to enter the field at high levels of responsibility, to move quickly to leadership positions, and ultimately to advance the state of management practice and the art form itself.

Although the focus is on theater, many graduates have adapted their education successfully to careers in dance, opera, media, and other fields.

In the context of an integrated general management perspective, students are grounded in the history and aesthetics of theater art, production organization, hiring and unions, the collaborative process, decision making and governance, organizational direction and planning, motivation, organizational design, human resources, financial management, development, marketing, and technology. While focused primarily on theater organizations, discussions incorporate other performing arts organizations, other nonprofits, and for-profit organizations to help identify the factors that make organizations succeed. It is training in the practice, informed by up-to-date theoretical knowledge.

The training program combines a sequence of professional work assignments, departmental courses, approved electives in other departments and schools, topical workshops, and a case study writing requirement. In a distinctive feature of the Theater Management curriculum, students have the opportunity to engage in the management of Yale Repertory Theatre from the beginning of their training, and to collaborate with students and faculty from other departments in productions of Yale School of Drama and Yale Cabaret. Students are evaluated on their performance in both course work and professional work assignments.

Extracurricular participation in the Yale Cabaret is encouraged, subject to prior approval of the department chair.

Concentrations in marketing, development, financial management, or commercial producing may be offered to selected candidates after the admission process is completed. (Prospective students may not apply for the concentrations.) These concentrations are variations on the typical general management course of study described in these pages, with differences in required courses, sequencing, professional work assignments, and the fellowship option. No more than one candidate per year will be selected for each concentration.

Joint-Degree Program with Yale School of Management

The Theater Management department offers a joint-degree program with Yale School of Management, in which a student may earn both the Master of Fine Arts and Master of Business Administration degrees in four years (rather than the five years that normally would be required). A joint-degree student must meet the respective admission requirements of each school. The typical plan of study consists of two years at Yale School of Drama, followed by one year at the School of Management, culminating with one combined year at both schools. Candidates interested in the joint-degree option are advised to apply to both Schools before coming to Yale. Theater Management students who develop an interest in the joint-degree option while at Yale should apply to the School of Management in the fall of their first year. Regardless of the outcome of their application, they must inform the department in January whether they will be in residence in the School of Drama in the succeeding year.

Plan of Study: Theater Management

In the first year the student enrolls in seven required courses per term; begins a case study on a theater organization, to be completed during the second year; attends a variety of topical workshops; and is given several professional work assignments.

In the second and third years the student enrolls in four departmental and elective courses per term; attends a variety of topical workshops; and is given one or two professional work assignments of substantial responsibility. In another distinctive feature of the program, the second-year student has the option of replacing one term in residence with a fellowship in a professional setting away from the campus, selected by the faculty. (For students choosing the second-year fellowship, the course requirements are reduced by four.) If a student opts out of the second-year fellowship upon entering the program, the course load may be modified to a constant five courses per term throughout the three-year program.

Required Sequence

Year

Course

Subject

  • I
  • DRAM 6a/b
  • Survey of Theater and Drama
  • DRAM 11a
  • Theater Organizations
  • DRAM 21a
  • Founding Visions for Places in the Art
  • DRAM 111a
  • Functions of Leadership: Change, Motivation, and Organizational Direction
  • DRAM 111b
  • Functions of Leadership: Motivation and Organizational Design
  • DRAM 121a
  • Managing People
  • DRAM 121b
  • Strategic Planning in Practice
  • DRAM 131a
  • Principles of Marketing and Communications
  • DRAM 141b
  • Law and the Arts
  • DRAM 161b
  • Principles of Development
  • DRAM 181a
  • Financial Accounting
  • DRAM 181b
  • Financial Management
  • DRAM 191b
  • Managing the Production Process

II & III

DRAM 151a or b

Case Study

DRAM 201a/b

Management Seminar*

DRAM 211a

Governance

DRAM 221b

Labor and Employee Relations

DRAM 231b

Advanced Topics in Marketing

DRAM 241a

Contracts

DRAM 251a or b

Management Fellowship

DRAM 261a

Advanced Topics in Development

  • DRAM 271a
  • Producing for the Commercial Theater

DRAM 281b

Advanced Financial Management

DRAM 301a/b

Management Seminar*

*Second- or third-year students must attend the Management Seminar during each term.
Elective Sequence

Electives may be selected from other departments of Yale School of Drama, from Yale School of Management or other professional schools, or from Yale College with the approval of the chair. One elective must be either DRAM 149a, Production Planning, or DRAM 249b, Production Management. One must be an additional course in dramatic literature or criticism in the Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism department. Among other electives for consideration are DRAM 40a/b, Principles of Stage Management; DRAM 102a/b, Scene Design; DRAM 115a/b, Costume Design: Background and Practice; DRAM 124a/b, Introduction to Lighting Design; DRAM 129b, History of Theater Architecture; DRAM 159a, Theater Safety; MGT 527, Strategic Management of Nonprofit Organizations; MGT 623, Strategic Leadership Across Sectors; MGT 887, Negotiation; MGT 888, Emotional Intelligence at Work.

Courses of Instruction

DRAM 6a/b, Survey of Theater and Drama See description under Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism.

DRAM 11a, Theater Organizations Societies need organizations to bring artists and audiences together to experience theater art. Historically—in contrast to the art itself, which is immutable—the various organizational forms have proved to be fragile: some have lasted for hundreds of years, but each of them eventually has failed and been replaced. Seventy-five years ago the commercial form began to decline in output; fifty years ago the nonprofit organization form was adapted to serve civic needs in a rapidly decentralizing America and developmental needs of the art and artists. The course explores the variety of organizational models in use today with an eye to identifying the patterns of purposes, values, structures, and policies they adopt to guide their operations. Each student collects in-depth information about a particular organization and presents it to the class. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Offered in conjunction with DRAM 21a, but may be taken separately. Edward A. Martenson

DRAM 21a, Founding Visions for Places in the Art This course is a documentary history of the American art theater in the words of its visionaries and pioneers. The history is explored through the inspired and inspiring writings of the founders themselves, from Jane Addams (Hull House, 1880s) to Bill Rauch (Cornerstone, 1980s). Students encounter the letters, memoirs, and manifestos of such early figures as Jig Cook and Susan Glaspell (Provincetown), John Houseman/Orson Welles (Mercury Theatre), and Hallie Flanagan (Federal Theatre Project), and more recent leaders like Margo Jones, Zelda Fichandler, Joe Papp, Judith Malina and Julian Beck, Douglas Turner Ward, Joseph Chaikin, Luis Valdez, Herbert Blau, Robert Brustein, Tyrone Guthrie, Charles Ludlam, and many more. Students are expected to research primary source material, prepare oral reports on theaters and founders, and have the option of envisioning/planning theaters of their own. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Offered in conjunction with DRAM 11a, but may be taken separately. Todd London

DRAM 111a, Functions of Leadership: Change, Motivation, and Organizational Direction Management and leadership are two different things, and managers must be capable of practicing both in order to meet the increasingly complex challenges of modern theater organizations; the required knowledge and skills operate side by side. The fall term covers the first of three essential functions of leadership: establishing organizational direction through mission and strategy. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Enrollment is limited to sixteen students. See Classes*v2 for the syllabus and preparation instructions for the first course meeting. Edward A. Martenson

DRAM 111b, Functions of Leadership: Motivation and Organizational Design Management and leadership are two different things, and managers must be capable of practicing both in order to meet the increasingly complex challenges of modern theater organizations; the required knowledge and skills operate side by side. The spring term covers the second and third functions of leadership: securing the essential efforts through effective motivation and productive management of change; and establishing appropriate means of communication through organizational design, including decision making and management of culture. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Enrollment is limited to sixteen students. See Classes*v2 for the syllabus and preparation instructions for the first course meeting. Edward A. Martenson

DRAM 121a, Managing People Successful human resource strategy is about managing people, not about managing problems. This course examines the tools needed to be an effective manager: listening well, communicating needs, building core competencies, setting expectations, coaching, negotiating, empowering, evaluating, and terminating with respect. Specific focus is placed on human resources as it is currently practiced and communicated in the American regional theater. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Victoria Nolan

DRAM 121b, Strategic Planning in Practice This course focuses on the planning process and the myriad forms it takes within arts organizations. Various concepts important to planning, including mission, strategy development, and alignment, are reviewed. However, most of the work takes the form of answering the question, “How do we do this aspect of planning?” Seven three-hour sessions are held consisting of case studies, constant interactive discussion, and reading of arts organizations’ actual plans. Open to students who have completed DRAM 111a. Greg Kandel

DRAM 131a, Principles of Marketing and Communications This survey course explores the fundamentals of not-for-profit theater marketing and communications. Topics include understanding the audience and market; segmentation and positioning; pricing and packaging; revenue and expense budgeting. Campaign tactics are explored, such as direct marketing, online marketing, publicity and advertising. Students learn to develop a single-ticket marketing plan. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Anne Trites

DRAM 141b, Law and the Arts An examination of the legal rights and responsibilities of artists and artistic institutions. Topics include the law of intellectual property (copyright and trademark), moral rights, personality rights (defamation, publicity, and privacy), and freedom of expression. The course is also an introduction to the structure and language of contractual agreements, and includes discussion of several types of contracts employed in the theater. Other legal issues relating to nonprofit arts organizations may also be discussed. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Joan Channick

DRAM 151a or b, Case Study An applied writing project in collaboration with a faculty supervisor. The student focuses on a particular theater organization approved by the department chair, by gathering information, conducting interviews, analyzing the organization’s conditions and issues, writing a case study with video supplement, and writing a teaching note. The work begins during the student’s first year, and the written case study must be completed by the end of the student’s second year. Faculty

DRAM 161b, Principles of Development This introductory course explores the requirements for setting up a development department, and the responsibilities and practical applications of the development process, from capital campaigns, identifying donor prospects, board development, and proposal writing. Students are introduced to all aspects of development: individual giving and donor solicitation, corporate sponsorship as well as corporate philanthropy, government, foundations, and events. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Andrew Hamingson

DRAM 181a, Financial Accounting An introduction to corporate financial accounting concepts and procedures, with an emphasis on nonprofit application. Financial statements are stressed throughout the course, while attention is paid to developing procedural skills, including accounting controls. The basic financial statements are introduced: balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flows. Accounting for assets, liabilities, and net assets. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Jeffrey Bledsoe

DRAM 181b, Financial Management A study of the broad role of financial management in the realization of organization goals. Topics include defining capital structure and financial health; developing, monitoring, and reporting on operating and capital budgets; financial analysis and planning; cash flow; and risk management. Students apply their learning using the current financial documents of a selected theater for many of the assignments. Open to students who have completed DRAM 181a or, with prior permission of the instructor, students who have equivalent nonprofit accounting knowledge. Patricia Egan

DRAM 191b, Managing the Production Process An investigation of the relationship between the artistic director and the managing director. This course explores the role of a managing director in the production process of regional theater, including season planning, artistic budgeting, contract negotiations, artist relationships, and production partnering. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Victoria Nolan

DRAM 201a/b, Management Seminar An upper-level seminar sequence (with DRAM 301a/b) designed to integrate knowledge and skills gathered from all courses and professional work, primarily through analysis and discussion of case studies. Second-year theater management students must enroll during both terms in residence. Open to students who have completed DRAM 111a/b. Edward A. Martenson

DRAM 211a, Governance This course examines governance within arts organization with a strong emphasis on its practice, as well as how that practice can be managed and adjusted. The first part of each class consists of interactive presentations using real examples from multiple organizations in the field, or case work focused on one particular company. The second part is a laboratory in which students use the concepts learned to prepare and present their findings to the rest of the class. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Greg Kandel

DRAM 221b, Labor and Employee Relations A seminar on how to read collective bargaining agreements and think about the collective bargaining process in the not-for-profit theater through the study of the agreement, along with negotiation of the agreement and practice under it, between the League of Resident Theatres and Actors’ Equity Association. Comparisons are made to LORT’s agreements with other artist and technical unions. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Harry H. Weintraub

DRAM 231b, Advanced Topics in Marketing This course focuses on developing critical assessment skills. Various strategies and tactics, intended to acquire and retain audiences, are evaluated using case studies, articles, assignments, and discussions with specialists. Topics include customer relationship management, loyalty marketing, branding, the impact of customer service on profitability, developing ethnically diverse audiences, and departmental management. Open to nondepartmental students who have completed DRAM 131a. Anne Trites

DRAM 241a, Contracts A seminar on how to read, write, and administer individual employment contracts. Each student creates employment and separation agreements for the managing director of a not-for-profit theater. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Harry H. Weintraub

DRAM 251a or b, Management Fellowship Each second-year student in good standing may choose to replace one term in residence with a fellowship in a professional setting away from the campus, selected by the faculty. The fellowship replaces one required departmental course, four electives, and a term-long professional work assignment. The purpose of the fellowship is to pair the student with a successful manager in the field who acts as a mentor. Ideally, the fellowship consists of frequent meetings with the host mentor, the opportunity to shadow the mentor in meetings with board and staff, access to board and staff meetings, and assigned tasks to perform within the organization. The host organization is chosen primarily for the appropriateness of the mentor/mentee pairing rather than to advance the student’s interest in a particular kind of work. The fellowship and case study requirement (DRAM 151a or b) may not be combined. Faculty

DRAM 261a, Advanced Topics in Development Case studies and practical applications in corporate sponsorship, board development, major gifts, and international projects are investigated. The emphasis in the course is on the importance of creativity and innovation in the field of development. Open to students who have completed DRAM 161b. Andrew Hamingson

DRAM 271a, Producing for the Commercial Theater This course focuses on the role of the independent commercial producer. It explores the entrepreneurial skills and qualities that are necessary to be successful without the support of an organizational infrastructure. Among the topics to be covered: why produce commercially; who produces; Broadway and Off-Broadway; the challenges of creating interesting work in a commercial setting; and the unique challenges of plays and musicals. Practical matters covered include optioning and developing work, raising money, creating budgets, hiring a free-lance team, and utilizing marketing/press/advertising to attract an audience. While the focus is on the commercial theater, the class aims to inspire those who may wish to produce in any context. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. David Binder

DRAM 281b, Advanced Financial Management This course on more advanced financial management topics focuses on building students’ interpretive financial skills. Topics include capital structure and financial analysis, financing and debt structures, investments and cash management, facilities projects, planning to achieve financial goals, and managing through financial difficulties. The course includes case discussions and both individual and team assignments. Open to students who have completed DRAM 181b. Patricia Egan

DRAM 301a/b, Management Seminar An upper-level seminar sequence (with DRAM 201a/b) designed to integrate knowledge and skills gathered from all courses and professional work, primarily through analysis and discussion of case studies. Third-year theater management students must enroll during both terms in residence. Open to students who have completed DRAM 111a/b. Edward A. Martenson

Theater Management Department Topical Workshops and Modules
  • DRAM 411(01), Actor’s Life Guest
  • DRAM 411(02), Analyzing Field Needs and Designing Policy Ben Cameron
  • DRAM 411(03), Anatomy of a Capital Campaign Deborah Berman
  • DRAM 411(04), Board/Executive Relationships Susan Medak
  • DRAM 411(05), Business Writing I Rosalie Stemer
  • DRAM 411(06), Business Writing II Rosalie Stemer
  • DRAM 411(07), Case Studies Jaan Elias
  • DRAM 411(08), Decision Support: Gathering and Using Information Steven Wolff
  • DRAM 411(09), Designer’s Life Guest
  • DRAM 411(10), Director’s Life Guest
  • DRAM 411(11), Entrepreneurship Greg Kandel
  • DRAM 411(12), Founding a Theater George C. White
  • DRAM 411(13), Health and Safety William J. Reynolds
  • DRAM 411(14), Governance Evaluation Edward A. Martenson
  • DRAM 411(15), History of Theater Management Marion Koltun Dienstag
  • DRAM 411(16), International Theater Practice Joan Channick
  • DRAM 411(17), Leadership Laura Freebairn-Smith
  • DRAM 411(18), The Manager’s Relationship with Art and Artists Rob Orchard
  • DRAM 411(19), Media and Message Guest
  • DRAM 411(20), Network Access and Applications Randall Rode
  • DRAM 411(21), Nonprofit on Broadway Barry Grove
  • DRAM 411(22), Planned Giving and Tax Issues Deborah Berman and guest
  • DRAM 411(23), Playwright’s Life Guest
  • DRAM 411(24), Production Contract Guest
  • DRAM 411(25), Professionalism Edward A. Martenson
  • DRAM 411(26), Public Speaking and Presentation Guest
  • DRAM 411(27), Real Estate Marion Koltun Dienstag
  • DRAM 411(28), Self-Marketing Greg Kandel
  • DRAM 411(29), Making the Ask Deborah Berman
  • DRAM 411(30), Tessitura I Mara Hazzard-Wallingford
  • DRAM 411(31), Tessitura II Mara Hazzard-Wallingford
  • DRAM 411(32), SDC Perspective Barbara Hauptman
  • DRAM 411 (33), Field Overview Edward A. Martenson
  • DRAM 411 (34), Case Study Video Production Guest
  • DRAM 411 (35), Analytical Thinking Joan Channick

Return to Top

Technical Internship Training Program (Internship Certificate)

The Technical Design and Production department offers a one-year technical internship training program for those seeking to become professional scenic carpenters, sound engineers, projection engineers, properties masters, scenic artists, costumers, or master electricians. This training program combines six graduate-level courses with closely guided and monitored practical production work.

An assigned faculty or staff adviser guides each student in selecting three courses each term in his or her chosen area of concentration. Most courses offered as part of the department’s three-year M.F.A. program of study are open to one-year technical interns. The courses cover a wide range of topics, including properties construction, shop technology, theater safety, electricity, projection engineering, sound technology, scene painting, costume construction, patternmaking, machining, rigging, and AutoCAD. Interns receive individual attention, training, and supervision from their department advisers and work side-by-side with Yale School of Drama/Yale Repertory Theatre’s professional staff.

Nondegree candidates, such as technical interns, are not eligible for Yale Health Basic Coverage student insurance, but Yale School of Drama requires technical intern students to have health insurance. Information about alternative health insurance options can be obtained by contacting the School of Drama’s registrar’s office.

Those who successfully complete the program of study receive an Internship Certificate during Yale School of Drama’s May commencement ceremonies. Some of those who complete the program subsequently apply to and are accepted into one of the three-year M.F.A. programs of study—Technical Design and Production, Design, or Sound Design—receiving credit toward the degree for requirements already completed. Those who choose to enter the job market receive assistance from the School of Drama Registrar’s Dossier Service, as well as assistance from the department chair. Our alumni provide many job opportunities for professionally trained theater technicians.

Courses of Instruction

See course listings and descriptions under Technical Design and Production (M.F.A. and Certificate).

Return to Top

Special Research Fellow Status

Each year, a limited number of scholars are admitted to Yale School of Drama as one-year special research fellows. These fellows are usually professionals in the field of theater from abroad who wish to pursue research and audit one or two courses a term within the School of Drama. Tuition for these fellows is one-half that charged a full-time student. The research and auditing of courses is arranged in consultation with the appropriate department chair and the registrar. Fellows are not eligible for Yale Health Basic Coverage. Information about alternative health insurance options can be obtained by contacting the School of Drama’s registrar’s office. Special research fellows are not eligible for any financial assistance.

There is no fellow status affiliated with the Acting department.

Return to Top

Special Student Status

Each year, some students are admitted to Yale School of Drama as one-year special students in the departments of Design; Sound Design; Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism; Technical Design and Production; or Theater Management. These students must be in residence on a full-time basis and are not eligible for a degree or certificate. The curriculum for special students is arranged in consultation with the appropriate chair. Tuition is the same as for degree candidates. Special students, who are not eligible for financial assistance according to the federal guidelines, may be eligible to apply for assistance under various supplemental loan programs through their individual banks. Special students are not eligible for Yale Health Basic Coverage. Information about alternative health insurance options can be obtained by contacting the School of Drama’s registrar’s office.

Special students may apply for admission to the department’s degree program of study in January or February of their one-year residency in accordance with the department’s application deadline. They must comply with Yale School of Drama’s admission requirements and, if admitted, may matriculate as second-year students.

Return to Top

Yale QuickLinks.