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History and Facilities

History of Yale School of Drama

Yale University founded a Department of Drama in the School of Fine Arts in 1924 through the generosity of Edward S. Harkness, B.A. 1897. In 1925, while the University Theatre was under construction, the first class of students was enrolled. George Pierce Baker, the foremost teacher of playwriting in America, joined the faculty to serve as the first chair of the department, and the first Master of Fine Arts in Drama was conferred in 1931.

In 1955, by vote of the Yale Corporation, the department was organized as a separate professional school, Yale School of Drama, offering the degrees of Master of Fine Arts, Doctor of Fine Arts, and Certificate in Drama (for those students who complete the three-year program without having the normally prerequisite bachelor’s degree).

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History of Yale Repertory Theatre

In 1966, under the leadership of Dean Robert Brustein, Yale Repertory Theatre was formed as part of Yale School of Drama, establishing a complementary relationship between conservatory and professional practice.

A hallmark of Robert Brustein’s artistic leadership of Yale Repertory Theatre from 1966 to 1979 was his insistence on a resident company of artists. Brustein’s dream of a permanent repertory company became an inspiration to the emerging field of nonprofit theater. The model of Brustein’s programming choices, emphasizing the production of new plays and classics of the world theater in vivid and inventive interpretations, has remained the centerpiece of the work of Yale Repertory Theatre.

During the tenure of Lloyd Richards, dean and artistic director from 1979 to 1991, the theater increased its emphasis on the production of new plays. Athol Fugard, Lee Blessing, and August Wilson were among the playwrights who premiered their work at Yale Rep during Richards’s leadership. Yale Rep was one of the first resident theaters to regularly transfer serious work to the commercial theater, developing a model of professional producing that changed the course of new play development in the American theater.

Stan Wojewodski, Jr., dean and artistic director from 1991 to 2002, was notable for his commitment to the individual artist. Wojewodski made long-term commitments to Suzan-Lori Parks, Len Jenkin, and Ralph Lemon, as well as numerous actors, directors, and performance artists.

James Bundy, dean and artistic director since 2002, has continued Yale Rep’s tradition of reviving canonical works and extended the Rep’s legacy of producing new plays and musicals, particularly by establishing the Binger Center for New Theatre, which underwrites commissioning, development, and production at Yale Rep and across the country. Since 2008 the Binger Center has supported the work of more than forty commissioned artists, including the world premieres and subsequent productions of fifteen new American plays and musicals. More information on the Binger Center for New Theatre can be found at www.yalerep.org/center.

In just under a half-century, Yale Repertory Theatre has produced well over 100 premieres, including two Pulitzer Prize winners and four other nominated finalists. Eleven Yale Rep productions have advanced to Broadway, and many plays first produced at Yale Rep have been presented at theaters across the country. Yale Rep productions have garnered more than forty Tony Award® nominations and eight Tony awards; the theater is also the recipient of the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater.

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Facilities

The University Theatre at 222 York Street is Yale School of Drama’s center. It includes a proscenium theater seating 654, which is shared with the undergraduate dramatic association. The University Theatre also houses the main administrative offices; the scene, prop, and costume shops; a lounge with computer workstations; and several classrooms.

Yale Repertory Theatre is located in a distinctive historical building on the corner of Chapel and York streets. Formerly the Calvary Baptist Church, the theater contains a 491-seat auditorium facing a modified apron stage, and the Yale School of Drama/Yale Repertory Theatre box office.

The Iseman Theater in Holcombe T. Green, Jr. Hall, located at 1156 Chapel Street, contains a flexible performance space seating up to 200. This building also houses the Yale School of Art.

205 Park Street, also known as the School of Drama Annex, houses the Design and Sound Design departments, the Robertson Computer Lab, the Laurie Beechman Center for Theatrical Sound Design and Music, a lighting and sound lab, and several classrooms.

217 Park Street contains the Yale Cabaret as well as rehearsal rooms and performance space, classrooms, faculty offices, and the offices of Theater magazine.

149 York Street is home to several key administrative offices, including registrar, admissions, business, and financial aid, as well as an extensive paint shop, rehearsal rooms, classrooms, and faculty offices. The Digital Media Center for the Arts is also housed in this building.

212 York Street is home to faculty offices of the Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism department.

305 Crown Street houses faculty, administrative offices, classrooms, and a media workshop for projection design.

The Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library at 180 York Street comprises the merged holdings of the former Art & Architecture and Drama Libraries, the Arts of the Book Collection, and the staff of the Visual Resources Collection, making it the primary collection for the study of art, architecture, and drama production at Yale. Currently, the drama collections have approximately 20,000 volumes, including plays by American, British, and foreign playwrights, books on the history of theater, theater architecture, dramatic criticism, costume and stage design, stage lighting and production, theater management, biographies, and related reference books. Nonbook materials from the former Drama Library that document theatrical production through photographic prints, production books, scrapbooks, and ephemera are now part of the Arts Library Special Collections department. Highlights include the Rollo Peters Archive, the Rockefeller Theatrical Prints Collection, the Doolittle Collection of Japanese Theatre Prints, and the George Pierce Baker Collection. Yale School of Drama students are free to use the collections in the libraries of other graduate and professional schools, the Sterling Memorial Library, the Bass Library, and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

The Digital Media Center for the Arts (DMCA) at 149 York Street is a multimedia facility that was created to establish connections between traditional art and the computer age. The DMCA was conceived by and serves the several arts departments and institutions at Yale. Beyond providing classroom and laboratory facilities, the DMCA provides instruction and equipment that allow faculty and students in all arts disciplines to discover and create in the diverse fields of electronic media. Advanced technologies, staff expertise, and interdisciplinary approaches make the DMCA an ideal auxiliary for Yale’s arts community.

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Yale School of Drama Computing

Yale School of Drama urges all students to consider the purchase of a computer and appropriate software to use during their time at the School of Drama. The School of Drama has established purchase programs with several vendors that provide the opportunity to purchase a reliable, competitively priced laptop compatible with the Yale network. For more information on these programs, and for hardware/software requirements for each department, please see http://ysdinfo.yale.edu.

Student Computer Labs

Yale School of Drama maintains the Robertson Computer Lab in the basement of 205 Park Street. The facility is open to School of Drama students twenty-four hours a day for school-related projects. It features twelve Dell workstations, two flatbed scanners, and one networked laser printer/copier. Software in the lab includes Adobe Design Collection, Autocad, Microsoft Office, and VectorWorks.

Six Dell workstations are also available in the lounge area on the third floor of 222 York Street.

Other student computers are assigned to the various departments for use by students engaged in department-related academic and production work. Networked laser printers assigned to each department can be accessed by students. A student should check with his or her department chair for further information.

Software Training

An extensive online library of software training is available to all Yale students, staff, and faculty at www.lynda.com/portal/yale. The training library includes Adobe Photo­shop, Premiere, Microsoft Excel, and AutoCAD. To learn more please view the introductory video at www.lynda.com/Business-E-learning-tutorials/How-to-use-lynda-com/77683-2.html.

Yale Software Library

Yale has obtained site-wide licensing for some widely used software and makes copies available for download at http://software.yale.edu/Library. These include the highly recommended Symantec Endpoint Protection (anti-virus) and Adobe Acrobat Professional XI. Please check the site to download these and to see what other titles are available.

Wireless Network Access

Yale University and Yale School of Drama provide a range of computer resources aimed at supporting student needs. Students should visit http://ysdinfo.yale.edu, to learn how to access the University computer network and wireless networking, e-mail, anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and other crucial information.

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