Juilliard Drama Division Appoints Evan Yionoulis as New Director

Yionoulis becomes the Juilliard Drama Division's sixth director and first ever female leader. She will begin on July 1st.

Evan Yionoulis becomes the Juilliard Drama Division’s sixth director and first ever female leader. She will begin on July 1st.

Evan Yionoulis (photo by Beowulf Sheehan)

Press Release from The Juilliard School:

Juilliard today announced that Obie-award winning director Evan Yionoulis, currently professor in the practice of acting and directing at Yale School of Drama and a resident director at Yale Repertory Theatre, will become the school’s Richard Rodgers Director of Drama at Juilliard starting with the 2018-19 academic and performance season. The Juilliard Drama Division, celebrating its 50th anniversary this season, offers a program that encompasses one of this country’s most respected conservatory educations for actors as well as highly successful pre-professional mentoring for playwrights.

Ms. Yionoulis has been on the faculty of Yale for the past 20 years and was Lloyd Richards Professor and Chair of Acting from 1998 to 2003.

In announcing the appointment, Juilliard President Joseph W. Polisi said, “Evan’s impressive work at Yale and extensive directing credits make her the perfect person to develop our gifted actors and playwrights as she leads Juilliard’s Drama Division into the future. We were deeply impressed by her thoughtfulness and rich understanding of the educational process in both classic and contemporary work.”

On accepting the position, Ms. Yionoulis remarked, “I am honored and excited to lead Juilliard’s Drama Division into its second half-century, carrying on the school’s great tradition of excellence, and preparing the next generation of actors and playwrights to transform the future of our field through their passion and artistry.”

Joseph Haj, who studied with Ms. Yionoulis and is now artistic director of the Guthrie Theater, said, “Juilliard has made a brilliant choice. Evan is a significant artist and working professional; she has been teaching and mentoring students at the highest level for many years and, not least of all, the human being side is as fully developed as the artistic side. Juilliard could not have done better. I am thrilled for the school and for Evan.”

Ms. Yionoulis will succeed James Houghton, who was head of the division from 2006 until his death from cancer in 2016.

In addition to her Yale position, Ms. Yionoulis is an award-winning director; she has directed new plays and classics in New York and across the U.S. She has enjoyed collaborations with major American playwrights including Adrienne Kennedy and Richard Greenberg. She most recently directed the critically acclaimed world premiere of Kennedy’s He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box for Theatre for a New Audience, where she previously directed her Ohio State Murders (Lortel Award for Best Revival) and the Off-Broadway premiere of Howard Brenton’s Sore Throats.

Ms. Yionoulis opened Manhattan Theatre Club’s Biltmore Theatre (Broadway) with Greenberg’s The Violet Hour, directed his Everett Beekin at Lincoln Center Theater, and received an Obie Award for her direction of his Three Days of Rain at Manhattan Theatre Club, having directed the premieres of all three at South Coast Repertory.

At Yale Repertory Theatre, she has directed Cymbeline, Richard II, The Master Builder, George F. Walker’s Heaven, Brecht’s Galileo, Gozzi’s The King Stag (which she adapted with her brother, composer Mike Yionoulis, and Catherine Sheehy), Caryl Churchill’s Owners, and numerous other productions including the world premiere of Kirsten Greenidge’s Bossa Nova, and, upcoming, Kiss, by Guillermo Calderón.

Other credits include productions at the Mark Taper Forum, the Huntington, NY Shakespeare Festival, the Vineyard, Second Stage, Primary Stages, Dallas Theatre Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Denver Center, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and many others.

Ms. Yionoulis has directed Seven, a documentary theater piece about extraordinary women from across the globe who work for human rights in New York, Boston, Washington, Aspen, London, Deauville, and New Delhi.

Her short film Lost and Found, made with Mike Yionoulis, premiered at Cleveland International Film Festival. Their most recent collaborations are the multiplatform project Redhand Guitar, about five generations of musicians across an American century, and The Dread Pirate Project, about the malleability of identity between the digital and natural worlds.

Ms. Yionoulis has received a Princess Grace Foundation Fellowship, Works-in-Progress Grant, and the Foundation’s prestigious Statuette. She serves on the executive board of SDC, the labor union representing stage directors and choreographers, as secretary.

This 2017-18 season Juilliard Drama presented fully staged productions featuring Juilliard’s Group 47 acting students in their fourth and final year in the drama program. The fall season’s productions included Suzan-Lori Parks’s Father Comes Home From the Wars, directed by LA Williams; alumnus Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s Everybody, co-directed by Danya Taymor and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins; and Pierre de Marivaux’s Triumph of Love, translated, adapted, and directed by Stephen Wadsworth. In February, Juilliard Drama presented three plays in repertory: Euripides’s Trojan Women, directed by faculty member Ellen Lauren; alumna Katori Hall’s Hoodoo Love, directed by Kym Moore; and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, directed by faculty member Moni Yakim. All performances took place in the Stephanie P. McClelland Drama Theater at Juilliard.