Production activity is central to the training in all departments, featuring more than forty productions at David Geffen School of Drama, Yale Repertory Theatre, and Yale Cabaret each season. The School of Drama’s production calendar is the most extensive of any theater training program in the United States. These productions afford ample opportunities to present student work to the faculty so that they can evaluate each student’s progress from the classroom to the stage.
Drama 50 is a 3-week classroom workshop in theatrical collaboration and composition for first-year actors, designers, directors, dramaturgs, and playwrights. The purpose is twofold: to challenge each student artist to develop their flexibility and fluency as a contributing member of a professional theatrical collaboration, whether as an actor, designer, director, dramaturg, or playwright; and to challenge the ensemble to collaboratively create an original emotionally and intellectually charged theatrical event.
First-year playwrights in the spring semester participate in a three-week lab on new one-act plays with actors, directors, and dramaturgs. The New Play Lab has no design elements and minimal technical support, and is presented exclusively for the faculty and students of the School of Drama.
First-, second-, and third-year actors employ skills from class in rehearsal and performance of a modern classic or contemporary work of challenging dimension with directors from among their faculty and professionals in the field. Dramaturgs are assigned to these projects. Designers and sound designers are assigned to Fall Project. Spring Project and the Commedia Project are designed by the company. The processes are managed by students from the Stage Management, Theater Management, and Technical Design and Production departments. The Fall Project is open to a small public audience, while the Spring Project and Commedia Project are presented by invitation only from members of the companies.
The Langston Hughes Festival of New Work incorporates and advances the principles of the New Play Lab, bringing playwrights, directors, actors, dramaturgs, and stage managers together to work on a new play. The Festival embraces the significant artistic, technical, and managerial challenges of producing new plays in rotating repertory. The process is managed by students from the Theater Management and Technical Design and Production departments, and is presented to a public audience.
Clarity of language, lucidity of storytelling, and impact of performance are the primary objectives of these productions of works from Shakespeare’s canon, which are proposed and staged by second-year directors, and approved by the faculty and the Dean. Directors lead their peers from the Acting, Design, Sound Design, Dramaturgy, and Stage Management departments in rigorous mutual exploration and imaginative realization of the text with the collective purpose of generating a well-conceived and skillfully executed production. These productions are managed by students from the Theater Management and Technical Design and Production departments and they are presented to a public audience.
Third-year directors propose productions of contemporary or classical plays, musicals, adaptations, or—more rarely—original works, as the production portion of their thesis, which must be endorsed by their faculty and approved by the Dean. Directors lead their peers from Acting, Design, Sound Design, Dramaturgy, and Stage Management in circumstances resembling as closely as possible those they will encounter in a professional context. These productions are managed by students from the Theater Management and Technical Design and Production departments. Performances are presented to a paying public audience.
Students in all disciplines collaborate on the production of three new plays written by third-year playwrights. The Festival’s name honors Carlotta O’Neill who designated that the proceeds from the publication of Long Day’s Journey Into Night by her husband, Eugene O’Neill, would support playwriting at Yale University. The Festival embraces the significant artistic, technical, and managerial challenges of producing new plays in rotating repertory, in circumstances similar to those in the professional theater. The third-year playwrights are paired with third-year Directors, who lead their peers from the Acting, Design, Sound Design, Dramaturgy, and Stage Management departments to fully realize the playwright’s work. The Festival is managed by students from the Theater Management and Technical Design and Production departments, and performances are presented to a paying public audience.
The Yale Cabaret is an independent, student-run theater company in residence at David Geffen School of Drama. It provides an additional, strictly extracurricular, outlet for the exploration of a wide range of material, including self-scripted material, company-devised original work, adaptations, and musicals. Participation in a Cabaret production is subject to the prior approval of a student’s department chair. All students must seek prior approval from the department chair for participation in any area of the Cabaret. No student with an incomplete and no second- or third-year student on probation may participate in the Yale Cabaret in any capacity.
Yale Repertory Theatre is the multiple Tony Award-winning professional theater in residence at David Geffen School of Drama, which produces an annual season of new and classic plays as well as the No Boundaries performance series. In a relationship analogous to that of a medical school and a teaching hospital, nearly every student at the School of Drama receives a meaningful production assignment at Yale Rep during their three years of training.