School of drama

School Notes: David Geffen School of Drama
July/August 2021

James Bundy ’95MFA |

New leadership for design department

As of July 1, Yale School of Drama has aligned all five design disciplines—costume, lighting, projection, set, and sound—in one department instead of two, to promote the most robust common-core offerings for all design students, and to build upon the School of Drama’s historic practice of training designers who are flexible and fluent collaborators with their colleagues. The design department will continue to be led by two cochairs, who will also serve as the heads of their respective disciplines; and it will begin rotating the positions of chairs more frequently on renewable three-year terms.

“Some time ago, design cochairs Stephen Strawbridge ’83MFA and Michael Yeargan ’73MFA suggested to me that the School of Drama make a transition to a more inclusive model of leadership in these programs, one that could both undo traditionally problematic hierarchies in the field and promote broad engagement of the department’s brilliant faculty, by rotating the positions of chairs more frequently. For historical context, only five men have chaired or cochaired the design program since its inception 95 years ago,” said Dean James Bundy ’95MFA.

Toni-Leslie James has assumed the cochair position from Michael Yeargan and will continue to serve as head of the costume design concentration. Riccardo Hernández ’92MFA will succeed Stephen Strawbridge as the department’s second cochair on January 1, 2022; Hernández will also serve as head of scenic design and Strawbridge will continue as head of lighting. Wendall Harrington will continue in her role as head of projection design, and Mikaal Sulaimain, appointed earlier this spring, is the head of sound design.

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