Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism

Production Opportunities

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 not typically eligible to be assigned to production work. In the second term, first-year 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 and suitability of projects and departmental requirements.

Drama 50

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.

New Play Lab

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.

Acting Projects

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.

Langston Hughes Festival of New Work

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.

Shakespeare Repertory Projects

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.

Directors’ Thesis Productions

Third-year student 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.

Carlotta Festival of New Plays

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.

Yale Cabaret

The Yale Cabaret is an independent, student-run theater company in residence at Yale 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. 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 and no second- or third-year student on probation may participate in the Yale Cabaret in any capacity.

Yale Repertory Theatre

Yale Repertory Theatre is the multiple Tony Award-winning professional theater in residence at Yale 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.

Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism students are also trained to read scripts for Yale Repertory Theater, and each academic year, they are required to submit written evaluations of these scripts to the Literary Office. This work is done under the supervision of Yale Rep's literary manager and the literary associate, who is a D.F.A. candidate in the department.