Yale School of Drama offers graduate training programs in every theatrical discipline. Please visit our training pages for detailed information about each department's program of study and admission requirements.
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- June 16, 2020 -
Our Plans for 2020–21 and Beyond
Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre will not produce seasons of plays in 2020–21, due to the ongoing incompatibility of theatrical production with best public health practices in response to COVID-19. Practical production work is a central tenet of the School’s conservatory training; the three-year M.F.A. program is being extended temporarily to a fourth year to best meet and overcome the current and inevitable future disruptions of the pandemic. Similarly, the one-year Technical Internship program will be extended by one semester. The School’s next student recruitment cycle will be for admission in the fall of 2022. Read more »
- March 26, 2020 -
Principles on Holistic Admission and Spring 2020 Grades
Recognizing the challenges to teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, Yale School of Drama will evaluate applicants holistically and will take the significant disruptions of COVID-19 into account when reviewing students’ transcripts and other admissions materials relating to Spring 2020. In particular, we will respect decisions regarding the adoption of Credit/Fail and other grading options during this unprecedented period, whether they are made by institutions or by individual students.
The Doctor of Fine Arts (D.F.A.) degree is conferred by the President and Fellows of Yale University on students who hold the M.F.A. degree in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism and who have completed the M.F.A. qualifying comprehensive examinations and have written a dissertation of distinction on a subject approved by the D.F.A. committee. This committee is comprised of the full-time faculty of the Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism department.
The Certificate in Drama is conferred by the President and Fellows of Yale University on students who do not hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited college, but who complete with distinction the three-year program of study in Acting, Design, Sound Design, Directing, Playwriting, Stage Management, or Technical Design and Production. The Certificate in Drama is subject to the same training requirements as that of the M.F.A. degree. Upon written request the certificate will be converted to an M.F.A. degree if a student later satisfactorily completes an accredited bachelor’s degree elsewhere.
The Technical Design and Production department offers one-year internships for those seeking to become professional scenic carpenters, sound engineers, projection engineers, properties masters, scenic artists, costumers, or master electricians. The School of Drama awards a Technical Internship Certificate to interns who complete the program with distinction.
For more information, visit our Technical Internship page.
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. The research and auditing of courses is arranged in consultation with the appropriate department chair and the registrar. There is no fellow status affiliated with the Acting department.
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.
Special students may apply for admission to the department’s degree program of study during 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 if they have fulfilled all of their program’s first-year requirements.
Students follow the curriculum of the particular discipline in which they were admitted. Each department in Yale School of Drama has a sequential series of courses unique to its discipline and designed to develop an advanced understanding of the student's program of study and the art of the theater.
Yale School of Drama presents six plays in productions for which tickets are sold to the general public. Three of these are selected in consultation with the Directing department; three are new plays from the Playwriting department, produced in repertory in the spring term in the Carlotta Festival of New Plays. Additional productions within the School of Drama include the Shakespeare Repertory Projects, new plays from the Playwriting department, and projects selected by the chair of the Acting department.
Yale Repertory Theatre serves as a teaching theater—both an exemplar and laboratory of professional practice—for Yale School of Drama. Each department has established a unique relationship with Yale Rep and challenges students to work at the level of this distinguished professional company. Yale Rep is a member of the League of Resident Theatres and draws talent from around the world. In addition to offering mainstage productions and special presentations, Yale Rep connects to the community through outreach programs including Will Power! and the Dwight/Edgewood Project, which recruits School of Drama students each summer to serve as mentors for local middle school students.
Yale Cabaret provides an extracurricular outlet for exploration of a wide range of material. With its own student artistic and management leadership, reporting to a board of directors comprising students and faculty, the Cabaret presents work that is entirely student-produced. It is the only area of production at Yale School of Drama where students regularly move out of their primary discipline of study: actors direct, managers act, and playwrights sing.
During the summer, Yale Summer Cabaret is the exploratory theatrical home for Yale School of Drama students. Like Yale Cabaret, it is student-run and interdisciplinary. Each season, a new artistic and management team has the opportunity to shape the theater's vision, while collaborating with an advisory board, local donors, and the greater New Haven community.
Professional theater training in the twenty-first century requires exposures to a variety of subjects and modes of learning that are incompatible with the two-term calendar. The School therefore sets aside one week each year to introduce interdisciplinary material, including workshops focused on professional development and skill building, and, for first-year students, intensive explorations of critical discourse in collaboration and of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the theater field. These modular courses strengthen students’ practice throughout their training and prepare them for the ongoing endeavor of learning that is the hallmark of long and productive careers in the arts and related disciplines.
Seminar Week takes place January 6–11, 2020. Classes are held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Saturday. First-year students and technical interns take two multiday workshops as a group (Beyond Diversity: Practicing Equity and Inclusion, taught by Carmen Morgan; and Critical Response Process, taught by Liz Lerman), which occupy the majority of the week. Each department determines the requirements and available electives for its second- and third-year students. The full schedule is published in December.
CastingAll casting is assigned by the chair of Acting and approved by the dean, based on the developmental needs of each student and on the needs of the project. The student director on a project or production prepares a cast breakdown, which is reviewed by the appropriate directing adviser before submission to the Acting chair. Student directors — or, in the case of the Carlotta Festival or Langston Hughes Festival studio productions, the playwright, director, and dramaturg — then meet with the Acting chair to discuss their production ideas, not to request specific actors. A cast list is posted only after it is approved by the dean. The casting pool for Yale School of Drama productions and projects consists of those acting students who have demonstrated in class the necessary discipline and collaborative attitudes. Any deficiency in these qualities results in removal from all casting until such deficiency is corrected to the satisfaction of the faculty. Once cast in a role, the student is required to fulfill that obligation.
Understudy ResponsibilityUnderstudy assignments at Yale Repertory Theatre are treated seriously. Understudies are expected to be available for any performance at a moment’s notice. Unless at home or at another posted rehearsal, understudies must inform the stage manager of their location prior to the performance. Student understudies must have permission from the chair of the Acting department before leaving New Haven. Failure to be available to perform as an understudy is treated as unprofessional behavior and may be grounds for dismissal.
Yale Repertory Theatre and Yale School of Drama maintain an open rehearsal policy. Rehearsals at Yale Rep, however, may be closed by the director at any time. School of Drama rehearsals may be closed by the director with the permission of the chair of Stage Management, and with notice posted on the callboard.
Rehearsals are normally scheduled from 2:30 to 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Sunday is normally the day off. With advance notice and approval of the dean, directors of major productions at Yale School of Drama may change the day off from Sunday to Saturday.
The number of rehearsal hours for any given project is set by the Acting and Directing departments. Actors are ordinarily called no more than five hours in one day for rehearsal of a Yale School of Drama production. Actors who are double cast cannot participate in Yale Cabaret productions. A director may ordinarily rehearse a major School of Drama production no more than seven hours in one day. Directors should cooperate with each other to ensure that actors have reasonable breaks. The final week before the opening of a production is an exception to these rules.
All photographic and recording needs for YSD productions will follow the rules set forth by the Actors’ Equity Association agreement. Production photographs will be taken by a professional photographer during a designated dress rehearsal. YSD photo shoots are arranged and archived by the Marketing and Communications Department and coordinated with stage management. Companies will be given at least twenty-four hours’ notice of rehearsal photography. Photo libraries are maintained by the Marketing and Communications Department and are available to students for portfolio purposes throughout the year. For detailed information about the production photography and video-recording policy, please refer to the Production Handbook.
Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre together maintain an ambitious production calendar. The combination of artistic aspiration and significant scope in production creates vital opportunities for training, both in a student’s own discipline and across disciplines. Such opportunities are made possible, in part, by students’ sharing responsibility for the varieties of work that support the production experience for all.
Work-study reinforces Yale School of Drama’s commitment to collaboration and community by giving all students responsibility for participation in artistic, production, and administrative work in accordance with the mission of the School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre.
Therefore, every student in Yale School of Drama (except for special students and special research fellows) is required to fulfill a minimum of 150–200 hours of workstudy. The dean and deputy dean, in consultation with the work-study committee, set the number of hours devoted to required work-study jobs according to the needs of the School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre. The student labor supervisor or director of production makes all required work-study assignments. Students are required to be professionally dressed for the work-study tasks at hand.
In addition to required work-study, there are a number of elective work-study opportunities at Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre. Elective work-study hours are exclusively supplemental: they cannot be substituted for required work-study hours. Financial aid awards are based on an expectation that students will perform elective workstudy in addition to the 150–200 hours of required work-study assignments. Students are required to be professionally dressed for the work-study tasks at hand.