Playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney is having an extraordinary week.
Just days after Moonlight, a movie based on one of his plays, was named Best Film of 2016 at the 26th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards, McCraney has been appointed new chair of the playwriting department at the Yale School of Drama.
McCraney, a member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Ensemble, is the author of Head of Passes (produced at the Public Theater Off-Broadway), Wig-Out (produced at the Vineyard Theatre), and the unproduced In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, which served as the inspiration for Moonlight. The film tells the story of a young man coming of age in Miami during the drug wars of the 1980s.
The Yale appointment is effective July 1, 2017, for a three-year term, though McCraney will begin his work part-time this winter in order to admit the incoming class of playwrights. The application deadline for the Playwriting Department has been extended to January 1, 2017, to accommodate the transition. He succeeds Jennifer Kiger, who has served as interim chair of playwriting since July 2016, following Jeanie O’Hare’s tenure 2012–2016.
In announcing the appointment, James Bundy, Dean, cited McCraney’s “inspiring voice as a teacher, experience as a leading practitioner in the English-speaking theatre, and vision for the future of our art form… position him beautifully for leadership of the Playwriting program, which has been at the center of Yale School of Drama’s mission since George Pierce Baker arrived in New Haven more than 90 years ago. On behalf of the entire community, I’m delighted to welcome Tarell back to the School of Drama. It is thrilling to imagine his impact on early career writers and the field in the years to come.”
Born in Miami, FL, McCraney earned his BFA from DePaul University and his MFA from the Yale School of Drama. He currently serves as Professor of Theatre and Civic Engagement at the University of Miami and also has taught at the School at Steppenwolf, the University of Warwick, and the New World School of the Arts.
His many awards include the Steinberg Playwright Award, Doris Duke Artist Award, Windham-Campbell Award, London Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright, New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award, the Paula Vogel Award, and a 2013 MacArthur Fellowship.
In addition, McCraney will succeed Paula Vogel as Playwright-in-Residence at Yale Repertory Theatre.
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