Yale School of Drama plans to build new central facility

The drama school, currently spread over nearly a dozen buildings, is looking for a consolidated infrastructure.


Zoe Berg

The David Geffen School of Drama, which is currently housed in nearly a dozen buildings on the Yale campus, is looking to construct a new building to bring much of the school together under one roof.

Currently, drama school students take classes and host performances in 10 buildings on the Yale campus that lack full accessibility, are not fully modernized, and present challenges for collaborative work, according to Sarah. Cain MFA ’22. But the school is fundraising to create a new building that would bring most of the institution together under one roof. The exact plans for the location of the new building and the future of the existing school buildings have yet to be finalized.

“As we approach the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Department of Theater in 1925 and the 125th anniversary of Dramat, this is an opportunity, quite literally, to lay the groundwork for the next century of theatrical creation at Yale,” said the dean of drama school James Bundy wrote in an email to News. “An installation centered on the well-being and artistry of students, faculty, staff, guest artists and audiences, and flexible enough to accommodate their creativity for generations to come, will be worthy of Yale’s leadership on field.”

The university’s recently announced $ 7 billion fundraising campaign, For Humanity, will dedicate an unknown amount of funds raised towards the development of this building, according to Deborah Berman, director of development and alumni affairs at the school of. dramatic Arts.

Bundy said the drama school is approaching its fundraising goal and hopes to meet it by the end of the year. Once it raises the necessary funds, the school plans to hire an architect and start work on the building, with the goal of opening it by 2026. He added that the funding for this establishment is one of the “major objectives” within the capital. campaign.

“There will surely be other challenges along the way, but the priority now is to secure the necessary donations to give the project the green light,” Bundy wrote.

Currently, buildings with theaters stretch across York Street and Chapel Street. The drama school’s ‘historic home’ – the University Theater – is located at 222 York Street, while other buildings include the Yale Repertory Theater at the corner of Chapel and York streets and the Yale Cabaret on Park Street. The sprawling nature of the Drama School’s campus presents a number of issues for students.

Cain, an MFA candidate in theater management, explained how old and disparate buildings present problems for collaboration and socialization, while limiting accessibility for some students. There are also physical barriers presented by the many buildings, especially when putting on shows that require moving equipment, Cain explained.

“We’re really spread out, and it would be great if we could have a more central location,” Cain said.

The school’s many specific buildings and departments – acting, designing, or directing, for example – “make it very difficult to get to know the students and other programs, unless you are specifically working on it. producing with them, ”Cain said.

She added that the fractured nature of the school presents a challenge for the collaborative model that is at the heart of theater.

Florie Seery, the associate dean of the drama school, explained in an email to the News the exact objectives of this infrastructure improvement.

“The ideal result is a facility that consolidates most of the school and performance functions, while bringing together the theater and performance studies and the rehearsal hall of the Yale Dramatic Association (Dramat) under one roof.” , she wrote. “We will build a stronger theater community while reducing the number of facilities used by the DGSD to four or five, depending on the final design.”

She added that the centerpiece of the building will be a “new state-of-the-art home for Yale Rep,” and that Yale College students will also have the opportunity to perform in this theater each year.

Recognizing the current challenges, the school has taken steps to improve collaboration and communication between students, namely community days, which are days off during which school departments open their doors to the community at the end of the day. wider.

Cain pointed out that the fact that the University must institute these programs is emblematic of the problem posed by the fractured campus, where students do not have the same opportunity to “”[run] in [their] classmates in the hallway.

Cain suggested that one of the central issues with the school’s many buildings is that not all of them meet accessibility standards for students with disabilities.

“I think the lack of accessibility is really named and really noticed in our school, and because these buildings are so old there isn’t much for them to do,” she said. . “I would look forward to an opportunity where all students could physically access all spaces and have no separation. “

The University has made supporting the drama school a priority for the years to come. In a precedent maintenanceUniversity president Peter Salovey told the News that the Yale Corporation, the university’s highest governing body, has discussed the development of a new central building for the drama school.

Berman further added that as part of the ongoing campaign, the University has secured “significant commitments for the new building” and that alumni of the Drama School and Yale College have been donors. “enthusiastic”.

Drama school is now free thanks to a donation from David Geffen.


Philip Mousavizadeh covers Woodbridge Hall, the president’s office. He has covered the Jackson Institute before. He is in his second year at Trumbull College studying ethics, politics and economics.

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