Tarell Alvin McCraney Named Chair of Playwriting at Yale

The writer of ‘The Brother/Sister Plays’ will head Yale’s playwriting program and serve as Yale Rep’s playwright-in-residence.

Tarell Alvin McCraney.
Tarell Alvin McCraney. (Photo courtesy of John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)

NEW HAVEN, CONN.: Tarell Alvin McCraney has been named chair of the Department of Playwriting at Yale School of Drama. McCraney will begin work part-time this winter before becoming full-time on July 1, 2017, for a three-year term. In addition, McCraney has also been named the playwright-in-residence of Yale Repertory Theatre, the resident theatre of Yale University.

“New plays sit at the heart of training in the Yale School of Drama community,” said McCraney in a statement. “The vision, scope, and execution of the play spawn countless collaborations and inquiries into the personal imagination of the artists who make up the community, while also addressing complicated questions we face in the world today.” A graduate of Yale’s playwriting program himself, McCraney also served for several years on the board of the Yale School of Drama before stepping down in summer 2016. He continued, “This return to Yale marks a need in myself to advocate for these collaborators and their voices, but also to wrestle alongside them with the perplexing and powerful quandaries of the day.”

McCraney is the author of The Brother/Sister PlaysHead of Passes, Choir Boy, and Wig Out! His play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue is the inspiration for the critically acclaimed new film Moonlight. He was also the winner of the 2013 MacArthur Fellowship.

He succeeds Paula Vogel as playwright-in-residence at Yale, and takes over for Yale Rep’s associate artistic director, Jennifer Kiger, as chair of the playwriting program. Kiger has been serving as interim chair since July, when Jeanie O’Hare stepped down after four years in the position.

“Following an international search process, it became abundantly clear that Tarell Alvin McCraney’s inspiring voice as a teacher, experience as a leading practitioner in the English-speaking theatre, and vision for the future of our art form all position him beautifully for leadership of the playwriting program, which has been at the center of Yale School of Drama’s mission since George Pierce Baker arrived in New Haven more than 90 years ago,” said Yale Rep’s artistic director and dean of the school of drama, James Bundy, in a statement. “On behalf of the entire community, I’m delighted to welcome Tarell back to the School of Drama. It is thrilling to imagine his impact on early career writers and the field in the years to come.”

The Yale School of Drama playwriting faculty also includes Jackie Sibblies Drury, Anne Erbe, Amy Herzog, Jennifer Kiger, Michael Korie, Kirk Lynn, Marsha Norman, and Sarah Ruhl.

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