Bundy to continue as drama school dean

Yale School of Drama Dean James Bundy DRA ’95 signed on for another five-year term as Drama School dean and artistic director of the Yale Repertory Theater on Wednesday.

Bundy said the combination of teaching and creative opportunities available at the Yale School of Drama and the Yale Repertory Theater originally drew him to the job, and he said he is just as excited about his work now as he was when he started the position in 2002.

“I think the work that I’ve been most excited about doing is working to bring great artists to the faculty and to recruit students to the school,” Bundy said. “The most important thing you can do is have great people on campus, and I’m really proud of our faculty and that our yield of accepted students who attend has gone up significantly.”

Richard Nelson, a playwriting professor who came to Yale during Bundy’s first term, said Bundy was crucial in persuading him to come to the University. Nelson had been an award-winning playwright with a Tony for Best Book for a Musical in 2000 for his adaptation of James Joyce’s “The Dead,” in addition to many other accolades.

“Dean Bundy hired me, and it was his commitment to change that enticed me here,” Nelson said. “For 35 years I’ve been a freelance playwright — I had never taught before, so this was a big change for me, one brought about by James Bundy and his vision for the Drama School.”

David Budries, associate professor of sound design in the School of Drama, said Bundy has created an atmosphere of openness at the Drama School, both within the school community and with the audience, which has expanded to include more New Haven residents during Bundy’s tenure.

Many students said Bundy is supportive of students’ endeavors and education as dean.

Bundy is frequently in the audience at a variety of student performances, which are an integral part of drama students’ educations, Andrew Gitchel DRA ’07 said.

“It is nice to see James at these events,” Gitchel said. “It makes the students feel like we are at the top of the priorities list.”

Bundy said he hopes to increase financial aid for drama students during his next term. He said he is working to make the school tuition-free like the School of Music, which received an anonymous $100 million donation in fall 2005 to make it possible to eliminate costs for students.

In addition, Bundy said, he hopes to construct a new facility for drama that will combine the Yale Repertory Theater with the School of Drama in one facility. Though the details of the new facility are still being worked out, many students say the current state of the facilities is not conducive to learning.

“Two of our main spaces were built more than 75 years ago, and sometimes it feels like we are working with some antiquated equipment,” Gitchel said. “For being one of the most prominent drama schools in the world, sometimes it sure feels like we aren’t.”

Before coming to Yale, Bundy was artistic director of the Great Lakes Theater Festival in Cleveland and an adjunct theater professor at Case Western Reserve University.

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