On Friday, Nov. 30, James Bundy, dean of Yale School of Drama and artistic director of Yale Repertory Theatre, announced the appointment of Narda Alcorn DRA ’95 as the chair of Yale School Drama’s Stage Management Department and Stage Management Advisor at the Yale Rep.
An accomplished stage manager on Broadway and elsewhere, Alcorn comes to the School of Drama from her position as associate arts professor and head of Stage Management Training at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. As chair of the department, Alcorn will organize curriculum, recruit and admit students and hire faculty. She will also mentor students who take up the role of stage manager for productions at the Yale Repertory Theatre.
“[Stage managers] are artistic partners, and our job is to help [artists] create,” Alcorn said. “I think that’s a really noble pursuit. I do that really well, and I teach that really well.”
Alcorn said her teaching of stage management is uniquely “theoretical.” She emphasizes to her students that stage management is “rooted in being a collaborative partner.”
According to Alcorn, the School of Drama is a great match for her stage management philosophy because it is the only drama school in the English-speaking world to teach all theater disciplines. Stage management is one of nine departments at the School of Drama, and stage management students collaborate with students across the School of Drama’s disciplines. Alcorn said the job of a stage manager is to elevate the crafts of their coworkers.
“Yale School of Drama promotes excellence, celebrates diverse perspectives and invites collaboration,” she said. “I am thrilled to continue training stage managers to be innovators in the field in such a dynamic and generous playground.”
Alcorn joins the School of Drama’s faculty amidst a successful stage management career on Broadway, including work on “The Lion King,” “A Raisin in the Sun,” “Seven Guitars,” “Gem of the Ocean,” “Radio Golf,” “Come and Gone,” “Fences,” “The Iceman Cometh” and this season’s “Choir Boy.”
Bundy said that hiring Alcorn was “kind of miraculous because she’s a leading practitioner.”
Alcorn plans to continue her professional work along with her new position, which Bundy said has strong precedent at the School of Drama. Alcorn said that she will aim to work on a Broadway production every three years and a smaller-scale show annually. She asserted that this will not distract from her teaching but rather add to it.
“Everything I do, I bring students with me,” Alcorn said.
Alcorn will succeed Mary Hunter, who Bundy said “will go down in history as the person who put stage management on its own two feet at the School of Drama.”
Bundy and Alcorn both expressed excitement for the future of the School of Drama’s stage management program. Bundy commented that training the next generation of stage managers is especially important at this moment in the theater world.
“Stage managers are really the people who are responsible for the way the room is set up,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of room for the field of stage management to become more involved in the polity of theater.”
Alcorn’s five-year term will begin in July 2019.
Lindsay Daugherty | firstname.lastname@example.org