Edward Martenson, a lecturer at the School of Drama, was appointed chair of the Theater Management Department last week.

As a graduate of Princeton University and co-chair of Theater Administration at the School of Drama from 1979-1982, Martenson was chosen for his extensive experience in the field, School of Drama Dean James Bundy said. The school committed to an extensive national search to fill the position, Bundy said.

“We sought recommendations from the field and had a very strong pool of candidates whom we interviewed,” Bundy said.

Yale Provost Andrew Hamilton said the School of Drama has always recruited leaders in the field.

“The appointment of Mr. Martenson reflects our commitment to attracting not only the most talented students but also the world’s leading practitioners to serve as their teachers,” Hamilton said.

Every other year for the last six years, Martenson has taught a course dealing with business strategy in the department. Steven Padla, press director for the School of Drama, said that with Martenson’s appointment, the school’s “deck of cards is complete.”

Martenson has served as general manager of the McCarter Theatre at Princeton and executive director of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. He also served as managing director of the Yale Repertory Theatre from 1979-1982.

“Yale School of Drama was one of my first professional homes, nearly 30 years ago,” Martenson said. “I’m coming back to a position that’s close to what I had before. So I’m very familiar with the conditions at the school.”

The focus of the Theater Management Department is on nonprofit theaters, combining three years of courses with professional work assignments. The School of Drama and School of Management also offer a four-year joint-degree program, which so far only two students have completed.

“The program is the best in the country and attracts the best students, so I’m proud to be asked to participate,” Martenson said.

Martenson said he is especially interested in finding ways to help the profession of theater management advance by evaluating practices in the field.

Most graduates of the program go on to work in development and marketing or serve as company managers, Padla said. Many courses in the department teach legal issues, communications and marketing associated with the theater industry.

“All of us are really excited about this appointment. … [He has] significant experience at the highest level of practice … and he’s a wonderful colleague,” Bundy said.

Deputy Drama School Dean Victoria Nolan had served as interim chair since the death of Benjamin Mordecai last spring.

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