On Jan. 24, Kathryn Krier DRA ’07 was named the new head of the Office of Undergraduate Production, a position that was left vacant for a full semester after the departure of Jim Brewczynski DRA ’86 over the summer.
Krier, who was appointed by Associate Dean for the Arts Susan Cahan, said that in her new position she aims to better the OUP’s collaboration with students in the constantly evolving undergraduate performingarts scene and improve the safety of shows. Current Yale regulations state that students seeking to stage a show at a Yale venue must first gain approval from the OUP, which assigns the production a house manager and offers technical and safety support to directors and producers. Each year, over 600 events in theater, music, dance, spoken word and comedy are organized in this manner.
Krier will take over the OUP on May 1, after concluding her responsibilities as program coordinator for this spring’s Shakespeare at Yale intiative. She currently serves as the Theater Studies Department’s productions manager.
“Our aim is to make undergraduate performance as safe and enjoyable as possible, while encouraging and giving students the tools to improve the quality of their work,” Krier said in an email. She added that she hopes to expand opportunities for students to learn about the craft of theater through workshops teaching skills such as stage combat and lighting and sound design.
Some students said they felt the OUP could benefit from a more responsive leadership. Stuart Teal ’14, a board member of the Yale Dramatic Association last year, said that in the past, the OUP’s bureaucracy has been difficult for students to navigate.
“As it stands, the office enforces rules as they are without thinking of improvement,” he said. “Hopefully, a new perspective will understand how undergraduate theater actually works, not how the paperwork says it does.”
Adela Jaffe ’13, who directed the play “Lady Bug” last November, said she thinks the office would benefit from a more standardized, centralized process for students to put up a show. In order to book a performance space, she said, students must currently apply to each of the University’s theaters separately.
Teal said that while the office is currently working on a website to make the requirements for putting on a production clearer, this may not be enough. Understanding what forms to fill out is difficult for those not already familiar with the theater scene, he said, which may limit the number of students involved in productions. The OUP needs to work more extensively with students who are not necessarily prominent in the theater scene, Teal said.
“Discourse between non-theater people and the OUP is currently almost nonexistent,” he added.
Kate Pitt ’12, who has worked with Krier through the Theater Studies Department for three years, said she believes Krier will work well with students, as she is respectful of students’ visions and attentive to their needs.
“Kate has a capacity for detail, empathy for other people and a view of the whole plan,” said Toni Dorfman, the department’s director of undergraduate studies.
Dorfman added that Krier has succeeded in aiding various arts projects at Yale in her positions as production adviser for the Yale Baroque Opera Project and production manager for the World Performance Project, an organization that promotes research in performance studies.
Theater studies major Jamie Biondi ’12 said that while many students outside the theater studies program have not interacted with Krier extensively, her appointment will tie the department to the extracurricular theater scene on campus.
Biondi added, based on his experiences working with Krier, that Krier is unafraid to point out what it will take to improve a production, even if her comments may intially come across as “scary.”
Krier said she plans to address whatever needs arise when students put up productions.
“If it appears desirable to bring in outside experts to work on specific, specialized areas, we’ll do so,” she said.
Jonathan Edwards College Master Penelope Laurans, who is a a member of the organizing committee for Shakespeare at Yale, said Krier’s deep understanding of the arts scene at Yale will benefit students.
“I do have faith in her desire to develop procedures that are as fair and helpful as possible to undergraduates and to go the last mile in helping them achieve their aims,” Laurans said in an email.
The Office of Undergraduate Production was created in fall 2000 as part of the Yale College Dean’s Office.
Correction: Feb. 3
A previous version of this article stated that the Office of Undergraduate Production was formed in fall 2010. In fact, the OUP was formed in fall 2000. Also, the article referred to the OUP as the Office of Undergraduate Productions, but the office is now called the Office of Undergraduate Production.