Back to the Future
Theater magazine at 50—past, present, and future.
Theater, the celebrated journal of criticism and plays published by Yale School of Drama/Yale Repertory Theatre, was launched in 1968 and has gone through many evolutions over the years. Originally called yale/theatre, the magazine morphed from its initial pamphlet-sized format into a sophisticated two-color triquarterly; its mission has steadily widened, too, prompting the name change in 1978.
Today Theater commissions essays, polemics, and interviews, as well as performances from authors and artists around the globe. It maintains an electronic edition with searchable archives, a website, social media, and occasionally curates live programs. A dedicated team of YSD Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism students continues to edit the publication from the attic suite of the Yale Cabaret (this year, from their homes due to COVID-19), working with editor in chief Tom Sellar ’97, DFA ’03 (Faculty) and Duke University Press, co-publishers of the journal since 1998.
This year the magazine hits a major milestone—its 50th volume year. To commemorate, the editors decided to look forward as much as back. The anniversary edition (Volume 50, Number 1), includes a memoir by co-founding editor Gordon Rogoff YC ’52 (Faculty Emeritus); a retrospective of groundbreaking theater photography from the publication’s five-decade span; and an unusual collection of excerpts from Theater’s archives. “We wanted to spotlight the magazine’s half-century tradition of speculating wildly on the future of theater and advocating for radical aesthetics,” says Sellar, who was appointed editor in 2003. “So the anniversary issue’s centerpiece is a section of original visions of the future we’ve published since 1968, from the manifestoes of The Living Theatre and Amiri Baraka to Forced Entertainment and Teresa Morrero’s sci-fi Latinxfuturism.” Given the magazine’s lively past, Theater looks set for a future full of bold change.