The Theater Management department prepares aspiring managerial and artistic leaders to create organizational environments conducive to the production of theater and responsive to their communities. The department provides students with the knowledge, skills, and values to enter the field at high levels of responsibility, to move quickly to leadership positions, and ultimately to advance the state of management practice and the art form itself. While focused primarily on theater organizations, discussions incorporate other performing arts organizations, other nonprofits, and for-profit organizations to help identify the factors that make theater organizations succeed. It is training in the practice, informed by up-to-date theoretical knowledge.
The department offers a joint-degree program with Yale School of Management, in which a student may earn both the M.F.A. and M.B.A. degrees in four years (rather than the five years that normally are required).
Yale has a treasured history with the practice of theater. It is the school of Elia Kazan, Richard Foreman, Wendy Wasserstein, John Guare, David Henry Hwang, Lynn Nottage, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Meryl Streep, Lupita Nyong'o, John Turturro, Sigourney Weaver, Charles Dutton, Angela Bassett, Courtney B. Vance, and Liev Schreiber. Yale founded the Department of Drama in 1924, awarded its first Master of Fine Arts in Drama in 1931, and organized the Department into a separate professional School in 1955. Like Yale’s other professional schools, the School of Drama prepares leaders who have the capacity to raise the standard of practice in the field of theater. The School is organized around the conservatory principle, with learning occurring through practice as well as study in the disciplines of acting, all aspects of design (scenery, costumes, lighting, projections, and sound), directing, dramaturgy and criticism, playwriting, stage management, technical design and production and theater management. With the Yale Repertory Theatre setting the professional standard, the School’s production program includes approximately 45 performance projects each year.
The Theater Management Department prepares aspiring managerial and artistic leaders to create organizational environments favorable to the creation of theater art and its presentation to appreciative audiences. Consistent with the principle that there is no substitute for experience, the Department combines active participation in the management of the Yale Rep in equal measure with classroom learning. The aim is to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and values to enter the field at high levels of responsibility, move quickly to leadership positions, and ultimately to advance the state of management practice and the art form itself. Though the focus is on theater, graduates have adapted their training successfully to careers in dance, opera, media, and related fields.
In addition to the three-year MFA, the Theater Management Department offers an optional joint-degree program with the Yale School of Management in which a student may earn both the MFA and MBA degrees in four years (rather than the five years that normally would be required). A joint-degree student must meet the respective admission requirements of each school. The typical plan of study consists of two years at the School of Drama followed by one year at the School of Management and culminating with one combined year at both Schools. Generally students interested in the joint degree option should apply to both Schools in advance but they may delay that decision until their first year in residence.The Theater Management Department also offers two one-year non-degree programs. Special Research Fellows typically are scholars from abroad interested in gaining first-hand knowledge of theater practice in the U.S. Special Students often are mid-career professionals interested in re-directing or re-energizing their careers.
The three-year Master of Fine Arts program combines a sequence of increasingly responsible professional work assignments in the management of the Yale Repertory Theatre,departmental courses, electives in other departments and schools, a wide variety of topical workshops, a case study writing requirement, and collaboration with students and faculty from other departments in productions of the School and the Yale Cabaret. Students may choose to spend one semester of the second-year in a Fellowship residency with a top professional at another theater or performing arts organization. Students are grounded in the history and aesthetics of theater art, production organization, labor and employee relation, the collaborative process, decision making, organizational direction, motivation, organizational design, human resources, financial management, intellectual property and contracts, development, marketing, and technology. Classroom work is based on case studies to a considerable degree, incorporating discussions of theaters and other performing arts organizations, as well as other nonprofits and for-profit organizations, to help identify the factors that help organizations succeed as meeting grounds for artists and audiences. Theater Management at Yale is training in the practice, supplemented with up to date theoretical knowledge. Visit our website for detailed course descriptions.
Individuals interested in applying to the School of Drama should explore our website and consider participating in one of the helpful visitor days held each fall. Admission to the School of Drama is for full-time study only beginning in the fall term. There is no part-time study or summer session. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and professional experience is strongly preferred.The elements of the application generally include the application form, current résumé, statement of purpose, transcripts from the institutions granting previous degrees, and three letters of recommendation. All elements may be submitted online. The Department may request candidates to submit additional writing samples. Finalists for admission are invited to travel to New Haven for an interview.