Yale Daily News

After the many restrictions implemented due to the COVID-19  pandemic, the arts scene at Yale finally came soaring back during the past school year. 

Most clubs, student groups and associations came back with new systems and ideas to slowly reincorporate in-person presence on campus and meet the university’s guidelines. 

After a year-and-a-half hiatus, in-person theatre was slowly introduced back to campus, with the Yale Drama Coalition focusing on adhering to the university’s established guidelines. 

“Everyone is very excited to get back to the way things were. I’ve talked to so many people that are just itching to get into an actual rehearsal room, to touch the soundboard and the lights, to interact with other actors face-to-face without the screen barrier and Zoom lags,” said Beza Tessema ’24, a YDC first-year liaison.

The coalition’s first fall production was “Not About Kyle” which premiered on Oct. 7, 2021. 

A variety of other performances soon began to take place on Yale’s campus, similar to previous school years with in-person audiences rather than online productions and performances. 

One such example is the Davenport Pops Orchestra. Also known as the DPops, the orchestra was back to in-person performances, their first taking place on Oct. 29, 2021 with an in-person audience of 86 students along with a livestream available to the rest of the Yale community. In this Halloween concert, the orchestra performed a variety of songs, consisting of a mix of theatre and on-stage performance. 

“We were trying our best to get people to remain engaged — we got them to submit the videos of themselves playing, which requires practice,” said Audrey Yeung ’22, DPops director of development and former co-president. “However, when in-person, we get brunch together, chat, and then practice — which is more fun. So I’m very glad to have it back in person together.”

Though the Yale University Art Gallery reopened on Sept. 25, 2020, but closed again for a two-month period due to the Omicron variant, it has now introduced a new series of exhibitions and events. On Sept. 10, 2021, the long-awaited “On the Basis of Art: 150 Years of Women at Yale” exhibition opened to the public, presenting a variety of art pieces created by 79 Yale-educated female artists, a year after it had been scheduled to open. 

“The exhibition demonstrates how these Yale-trained female artists brought an unwavering determination, bold experimentation, and a spirit of risk-taking to their practice — qualities that were critical to their success in the international art world,” said YUAG Director Stephanie Wiles in an email to the News. “These talented women artists made our world a more exciting, rewarding, and thought-provoking place through their art and I am delighted to share their extraordinary work with our visitors.”

The Midcentury Abstraction Exhibition also opened during this school year, on Feb. 25, at the Yale University Art Gallery. The exhibition presented a series of art pieces capturing the “breadth and variety of mid-20th century art.”

In other theatre news, the Dramat’s beloved First-Year Show. or FroShow, had four performances in early April. The show this year was “After Life,” by Jack Thorne, with a large number of first-year students participating in the direction, production, managing and performance of the play. 

Yale dance groups were also able to return to in-person auditions as auditions had taken place on digital platforms since the beginning of the pandemic. Some of the groups include the Yale Ballet Company, Sabrosura, Rhythmic Blues and Taps. 

“Last year, we had virtual auditions where people could submit videos of their dancing,” said Grace Parmer ’23, dancer and publicity chair for the YBC. “We’re super excited to be able to see everyone in person.”

Additionally, the English Department’s Foundational Course Lecture was also welcomed with excitement due to its in-person format, after the lecture’s cancellation in 2020 and virtual format in 2021. This year, Louise Glück, winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature, and Frederick Iseman, professor of poetry at Yale, gave the lecture at the Yale University Art Gallery on April 26. 

“This year, it seemed important to ask Louise [Glück],” Director of Creative Writing in the English Department, Professor Richard Deming said. “By doing so we are drawing on our own community to reconstitute itself and to show that although we have weathered so much over the last few years, we are still here, still strong.” 

COVID-19 guidelines continue to be examined, and more events are expected to take place in the upcoming school year.