To the David Geffen School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre Communities,
I am very pleased to share the good news that the Yale Corporation has approved the reappointment of James Bundy as the Elizabeth Parker Ware Dean of the David Geffen School of Drama and Artistic Director of the Yale Repertory Theatre for a fifth term of five years, effective July 1, 2022. This renewal recognizes James’s unflagging commitment to recruiting and retaining field-leading faculty members and practitioners, to enhancing the diversity and excellence of theater training and production, to increasing access and removing barriers to graduate education, and to devoting meaningful resources to the creation of significant new works for American theater.
Over the past several years, James has brought to Yale eminent theater artists and managers and transformed the leadership structure of the school. The Geffen School has recruited Associate Dean Florie Seery, Associate Dean Chantal Rodriguez, and Assistant Dean Kelvin Dinkins Jr. to work with him on strategic and operational planning and on realizing the mission of the school and Yale Rep. He also recently welcomed prominent faculty members and practitioners to teaching and leadership roles at the school, including Tamilla Woodard as chair of the Acting Program, Toni-Leslie James and Riccardo Hernández as co-chairs of Design, Mikaal Sulaiman as head of the Sound Design concentration, Anne Erbe and Tarell Alvin McCraney as co-chairs of the Playwriting Program, Narda E. Alcorn as chair of the Stage Management Program, and Shaminda Amarakoon as chair of the Program in Technical Design and Production.
In addition to faculty recruitment, James has focused on enhancing support structures at the school for all faculty, staff, and students. The Geffen School and Yale Rep are actively engaged in establishing anti-racist and anti-oppressive training and production practices, centered around well-being, inclusion, and equity for theater makers and audiences, and emphasizing organizational, artistic, and personal engagement with vital questions of social justice.
James also has worked tirelessly to increase philanthropic support for drama at Yale. Earlier this year, a transformational gift of $150 million from the David Geffen Foundation eliminated tuition for all degree and certificate students in perpetuity. He has led the establishment of 64 of the school’s 91 named scholarships, and he has helped raise $220 million toward the university’s current capital campaign, which includes plans for new, state of the art facilities for the school, Yale Repertory Theatre, the Theater and Performance Studies Program in Yale College, and Yale Dramat.
James’s leadership as artistic director of Yale Repertory Theatre has enriched the American theater at large. To date, Yale’s Binger Center for New Theatre—one of the nation’s most robust and innovative new play programs—has supported the work of more than 60 commissioned artists and underwritten the world premieres and subsequent productions of over 30 new plays and musicals at Yale Rep and across the country. Among them, Indecent, created by former faculty member Paula Vogel and Rebecca Taichman, a graduate of the school, premiered at Yale Rep in 2015 before transferring to Broadway and winning two Tony Awards in 2017.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who wrote to me during the review process. Faculty and staff remarked on James’s deep commitment to the professional development of students and expressed admiration for the educational programs he has championed. Many conveyed to me that they appreciate the time and care James devotes to supporting the scholarship, practice, and teaching of faculty members and the work of staff. I also received numerous notes about James’s passion for the arts and his ambitious goals for the future of the school and Yale Repertory Theatre.
James’s creativity, foresight, and vision have supported advances in both drama education and practice and positioned the Geffen School and Yale Rep for ongoing field leadership. Please join me in thanking him for all that he does for the school, in congratulating him on his reappointment, and in sending him our best wishes for the years ahead.
Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology