The Yale Dramatic Association is the second oldest college theatre association in the country and the largest undergraduate theatre organization at Yale. Its membership numbers over one hundred students, who annually elect a nine-member Executive Board. The board chooses the Dramat's theatrical season, hires professional directors and designers, and supervises the Dramat's daily administration.
The Dramat produces seven shows a year: three productions, called Experimental Shows, staffed entirely by students (two in the fall, one in the spring); the Freshman Show, a show staffed, crewed, and performed entirely by Freshmen; the Fall Mainstage and the Spring Mainstage, performed in the University Theater, directed and designed by a team of both professionals and (in the spring) some qualified students, both providing unparalleled opportunities for those involved; and the annual Commencement Musical, entirely student staffed, produced in the ten day period between the end of exams and Commencement Weekend.
From the day of its first meeting on February 2, 1900, the Yale Dramatic Association has been dedicated to producing high quality drama at Yale. The first Dramat show, a student adaptation of Chaucer's A Pardoner's Tale, presented with The Second Shepherd's Play, opened at the Hyperion Theatre, which is now a parking lot. The present University Theatre at 222 York Street, the home of the Yale School of Drama, was built with the aid of the Dramat in 1925. The Dramat is the only undergraduate theatre organization at Yale with the privilege of using Yale School of Drama performance spaces and equipment.
The Dramat has presented American premieres of Camus' Caligula, de Ghellerhode's The Death of Doctor Faust, Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, and Bond's The Woman, as well as the English language premiere of Eugene Ionesco's Hunger and Thirst. Original works by Yale undergraduates are also a Dramat tradition, whose earliest contributors were Cole Porter '13, Stephen Vincent Benet '19, and Thornton Wilder '20.
The Dramat offers a unique opportunity for Yale students to work with professional directors, designers, and choreographers in the best-equipped theatre facilities on campus.