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Marcus Gardley Named Playwriting Co-Chair at Geffen School of Drama

The poet, playwright, and screenwriter will succeed Tarell Alvin McCraney in the position, leading the program alongside co-chair Anne Erbe.

NEW HAVEN, CONN.: The David Geffen School of Drama at Yale University has appointed Marcus Gardley co-chair of the playwriting program, effective July 1. He will lead the program alongside co-chair Anne Erbe and succeeds Tarell Alvin McCraney, who has served since 2017 and will continue to teach at the Geffen School.

“I couldn’t be more pleased to welcome a distinguished alumnus back to Yale,” said James Bundy, Elizabeth Parker Ware Dean of the Geffen School, in a statement. “Marcus Gardley is one of the most prolific and widely produced playwrights of his generation. We are fortunate both that Tarell Alvin McCraney, who has who served with inspirational ambition and distinction, will continue to teach at David Geffen School of Drama; and that, in Marcus, we have recruited someone so eminently qualified to build on the program’s outstanding legacies.”

Born and raised in Oakland, Calif., Marcus Gardley is an acclaimed poet, playwright, and screenwriter described by The New Yorker as “the heir to Garcia Lorca, Pirandello, and Tennessee Williams.” His plays include The House That Will Not Stand, X: Or, Betty Shabazz V. the Nationblack odyssey, The Gospel of Loving KindnessEvery Tongue ConfessOn the Levee, …and Jesus Moonwalks the MississippiThe Road Weeps, The Well Runs Dry, and dance of the holy ghosts. He is the recipient of the 2019 Doris Duke Artist Award, the 2015 Glickman Award, the PEN/Laura Pels Award, a Kesselring Honor, and he is a two-time finalist for Kennedy Prize in 2015 and 2016.

“I count it as an honor and a privilege to join Anne Erbe as co-chair of the Playwriting program at David Geffen School of Drama,” said Gardley in a statement. “I hope to continue in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s legacy by helping writers hone their voices and develop stories that inspire joy and spark conversation. I am grateful to the deans, faculty, and staff who have welcomed me with open arms. There is no place I’d rather be than the Geffen School, sharing knowledge and supporting the next generation of storytellers.”

Marcus’s work for television includes Maid (Netflix), for which he won the 2022 Writers Guild of America Award for best adapted longform series; Boot’s Riley’s I’m A Virgo (Amazon), The Chi (Showtime), Foundation (Apple), NOS4A2 (AMC), Tales of the City (Netflix), and Mindhunter (Netflix). His feature adaptation of the musical The Color Purple will be released in theatres on Christmas day, and What’s Going On, his Marvin Gaye biopic, is in pre-production at Warner Brothers with director Allen Hughes. He has also written a biopic about James Baldwin with Janelle Monae attached to star.

Gardley is a summa cum laude graduate of San Francisco State University and David Geffen School of Drama, where he received his M.F.A., Marcus has taught previously at Brown University, Columbia University, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, University of San Francisco, and the National Theatre Institute.

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