Theater Management

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View a video introduction from Edward A. Martenson, Chair.
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See what Lauren Wainwright, a theater management student, is working on at YSD.
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See what Lico Whitfield, a theater management student, is working on at YSD.
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See what Alyssa Anderson, a theater management student, is working on at YSD.
Theater Management

Edward A. Martenson, Chair

M.F.A. and M.F.A./M.B.A.

The Theater Management department prepares aspiring leaders to create organizational environments increasingly favorable to the creation of theatre art and its presentation to appreciative audiences. The department provides students with the knowledge, skills, experience, 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.

Although the focus is on theatre, many graduates have adapted their education successfully to careers in dance, opera, media, and other fields.

In the context of an integrated general management perspective, students are grounded in the history and aesthetics of theatre art, production organization, hiring and unions, the collaborative process, decision making and governance, organizational direction and planning, motivation, organizational design, human resources, financial management, development, marketing, and technology. While focused primarily on theatre organizations, discussions incorporate other performing arts organizations, other nonprofits, and for-profit organizations to help identify the factors that make organizations succeed. It is training in the practice, informed by up-to-date theoretical knowledge.

The training program combines a sequence of professional work assignments, departmental courses, approved electives in other departments and schools, topical workshops, and a case study writing requirement. In a distinctive feature of the Theater Management curriculum, students have the opportunity to engage in the management of Yale Repertory Theatre from the beginning of their training, and to collaborate with students and faculty from other departments in productions of Yale School of Drama and Yale Cabaret.

In the first year the student enrolls in seven required courses per term; begins a case study on a theatre organization, to be completed during the second year; attends a variety of topical workshops; and is given several professional work assignments.

In the second and third years the student enrolls in four departmental and elective courses per term; attends a variety of topical workshops, and is given one or two professional work assignments of substantial responsibility. Electives may be selected from other departments of Yale School of Drama, from Yale School of Management or other professional schools, or from Yale College with the approval of the chair. One elective must be an additional course in dramatic literature or criticism in the Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism department. In another distinctive feature of the program, the second-year student in good standing has the option of replacing one term residence with a fellowship in a professional setting away from the campus, selected by the faculty. (For students choosing the second-year fellowship, the course requirements are reduced by four.) If a student opts out of the second-year fellowship upon entering the program, the course load may be modified to a constant five courses per term throught the three-year program.

Concentrations in marketing, development, financial management, or commercial producing may be offered to selected candidates after the admission process is completed. (Prospective students may not apply for the concentrations.) These concentrations are variations on the gneral management course of study described above, with differences in required courses, sequencing, professional work assignments, and the fellowship option.  No more than one candidate per year will be selected for each concentration.

Joint-Degree Program with Yale School of Management

The Theater Management department offers a joint-degree program with Yale School of Management, in which a student may earn both the Master of Fine Arts and Master of Business Administration degrees in four years (rather than the five years that normally are required). A joint-degree student must meet the respective admission requirements of each school. The typical plan of study consists of two years at Yale School of Drama, followed by one year at the School of Management, culminating with one combined year at both schools. Candidates interested in the joint-degree option are advised to apply to both Schools before coming to Yale. Theater Management students who develop an interest in the joint-degree option while at Yale should apply to the School of Management in the fall of their first year. Regardless of the outcome of their application, they must inform the department in January whether they will be in residence in the School of Drama in the succeeding year.

The Theater Management department’s three-year plan of study and detailed course descriptions appear in the Bulletin of Yale School of Drama.  Click here for the Bulletin.

Photo Credit: Johanna Day, Tracy Letts, Glenn Fitzgerald, and Parker Posey in The Realistic Joneses by Will Eno, Yale Repertory Theatre, 2012.