Award-Winning Director to Head Juilliard Drama

Thursday, Mar 08, 2018
Juilliard Journal
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Evan Yionoulis (photo by Beowulf Sheehan)

Juilliard announced today that Obie-award winning director Evan Yionoulis will become the school’s Richard Rodgers Director of Drama starting in the fall.

Yionoulis, who’s been on the Yale School of Drama faculty for 20 years, including a stint as chair of acting, is also a resident director at Yale Repertory Theatre. In announcing the appointment, 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.”

Yionoulis will take over the division as it winds up the celebration of its 50th anniversary this May. The anniversary celebration was initially planned by James Houghton, who had become the director of the division in 2006 but died of cancer in the summer of 2016. Richard Feldman has been the acting director since then and he and Kathy Hood, managing director, have been holding down the fort.

On accepting the directorship, Yionoulis said she was “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.” John Houseman co-founded the division with Michel Saint-Denis in 1968 and served as its director until 1976. He was followed by Alan Schneider (1976-79), Michael Langham (1979-92), Michael Kahn (1992-2006), and Houghton.

In addition to her Yale positions, Yionoulis is an award-winning director of new plays and classics all over the country. She most recently directed the world premiere of Adrienne Kennedy’s He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box for Theatre for a New Audience. She has worked extensively with Kennedy and with Richard Greenberg and received an Obie for her direction of Greenberg’s Three Days of Rain at Manhattan Theatre Club in 1998. Among her many Yale Rep credits are Guillermo Calderón’s Kiss, which opens April 29. Her first short film, Lost and Found, was made with composer Mike Yionoulis, her brother and frequent collaborator; their most recent projects include the multiplatform Redhand Guitar, about five generations of musicians, and The Dread Pirate Project, about the malleability of identity between the digital and natural worlds.

In addition to directing credits at many more top theater companies, Yionoulis also has an extensive background as a writer and teacher and has received multiple recognitions from the Princess Grace Foundation. She also serves on the executive board, as secretary, of the labor union SDC (Stage Directors and Choreographers Society).