Yale Dedicates the Frederick Iseman Theater

Yale School of Drama has announced that the New Theater, a 200-seat state-of-the art performance venue located at 1156 Chapel Street, was renamed the Frederick Iseman Theater in a dedication ceremony on May 30.

The renaming of Yale’s premier “black box” theater is in recognition of a generous gift from Frederick Iseman, a 1974 graduate of Yale College.

“The dedication of Iseman Theatre marks the first named performance space in the history of Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre and represents Mr. Iseman’s passionate support of theater and the performing arts here at Yale and around the world,” said Yale School of Drama Dean and Artistic Director James Bundy.  “The entire community celebrates his deep commitment and is grateful for his generosity.”

In operation since the 2000 dedication of Holcombe T. Green Hall, the theater was designed by Ming Cho Lee (Co-Chair of the Design Department at Yale School of Drama) and Bronislaw Sammler (Chair of Technical Design and Production) with architect Deborah Berke.  The flexible space can seat up to 200 people in a number of configurations, from a standard end-stage to a full round arena configuration.  It supports a variety of theatrical and dance productions, including Yale School of Drama’s annual Carlotta Festival of New Plays, Shakespeare Repertory Project productions directed by second-year directors, and third-year director thesis projects.

Yale Repertory Theatre also uses the space for main-stage productions, which have included the 2002 American premiere of “Fighting Words”by Sunil Thomas Kuruvilla and the world premiere of “dance of the holy ghosts,” by Marcus Gardley; and for No Boundaries, a series of global performances presented by Yale Rep and World Performance Project at Yale that brings international performing artists to New Haven.  In addition, the undergraduate Yale Dramatic Association regularly presents work in the theater, which has also been home to the Undergraduate Playwriting Festival.

Iseman is Chair and CEO of CI Capital Partners, LLC, which he founded in 1993.  He is a member of various organizations reflecting his interests in globalization and the arts, including the International Council of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard, the Nuclear Threat Initiative, and the Council on Foreign Relations Independent Task Force on U.S. Nuclear Weapons Posture, chaired by Dr. William Perry and General Brent Snowcroft.  He is a trustee of the Metropolitan Opera, the Municipal Art Society, Carnegie Hall, and the White Nights Foundation of the Mariinsky Opera Theatre of St. Petersburg, Russia.  At Yale, he is a member of the Yale Tomorrow Campaign Committee, the University Council, and the Sterling Fellows.  His past giving includes support for the Genocide Studies Program in the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, and the recently endowed directorship of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, a position held since 2002 by Ernesto Zedillo (’81, Ph.D.), a former president of Mexico.  The naming of Iseman Theatre recognizes his leadership support.

“The focused, driven, entrepreneurial efforts of Dean James Bundy and the heads of the other Yale art schools, President Richard C. Levin and Vice President and Secretary Linda Koch Lorimer to make Yale the pre-eminent major university in the world in the arts have succeeded. I am honored to have my name affiliated with this illustrious drama school, which strives continuously to achieve work that is lasting, influential, transcendent and sublime. What a pleasure to do my bit to abet Yale’s remarkable work,” noted Iseman at the dedication.

Founded in the School of Fine Arts in 1924, Yale School of Drama first registered students in the fall of 1925 and awarded its first Master of Fine Arts degree in Drama in 1931. In 1955, the department was reorganized as a separate professional school. Today, Yale School of Drama is a professional conservatory for training in every discipline of theater: acting, design, directing, dramaturgy and dramatic criticism, playwriting, stage management, technical design and production, and theater management. The School operates in unique partnership with the Tony Award-winning Yale Repertory Theatre and is distinguished by the accomplishments of its faculty, students, and alumni.