Noted playwright Tarrell Alvin McCraney appointed chair of the playwriting department

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Tarell Alvin McCraney M.F.A. ’07, renowned playwright and director, has been appointed chair of the Department of Playwriting at Yale School of Drama. His three-year term is effective July 1, 2017.

McCraney, an alumnus of the Yale School of Drama, will begin his work part-time this winter in order to admit the incoming class of playwrights. The application deadline for the Department of Playwriting will be extended to Jan. 1, 2017, to accommodate this transition. In addition to his role as chair of the playwriting department, McCraney will succeed Paula Vogel as playwright-in-residence at Yale Repertory Theatre.

“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 theater, 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,” says James Bundy, dean of the School of Drama. “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.”

McCraney currently serves as professor of theater and civic engagement at the University of Miami. His script “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” was the inspiration for the critically acclaimed new film “Moonlight.” McCraney’s plays include “The Brother/Sister Plays,” a trilogy comprising “In the Red and Brown Water,” “The Brothers Size,” and “Marcus: Or The Secret of Sweet”; “Head of Passes”; “Choir Boy”; and “Wig Out!” His plays have been produced at The Public Theater, Royal Court Theatre, and Steppenwolf Theatre Company, among many others. As a director, his credits include “Hamlet” for the Royal Shakespeare Company; “Antony and Cleopatra” for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Public Theater, and GableStage; and “Romeo & Juliet: Outside the Box” for Young Arts/National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts.

McCraney has received numerous awards, including the Whiting Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, Doris Duke Artist Award, Windham-Campbell Prize, London Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright, New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award, the Paula Vogel Award, and a 2013 MacArthur Fellowship.

“New plays sit at the heart of training in the Yale School of Drama community. 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,” says McCraney. “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.”

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