Harvard’s Graduate Theater Program Halts Admissions for 3 Years

In the email to the students and alumni, Ms. Paulus wrote that the priorities for the next three years would be exploring a possible master of fine arts program with Harvard; building financial support for the institute; and improving educational facilities. The Boston Globe first reported the email and the admissions freeze over the weekend.

A Harvard task force on the arts in 2008 urged the university to create official graduate programs in the arts, which peer schools like Yale and Princeton already have. The report specifically noted the American Repertory Theater as a place where Harvard could develop a master of fine arts program relatively quickly: “Similarly, the resources of the A.R.T. and its experience with graduate training should facilitate the fashioning of a vital MFA in theater at Harvard.”

Several current and former students expressed concern not only about the admissions freeze, but also about not having received the earlier email. They said it symbolized poor management at the theater program.

One current student, Shawn Jain, said, “Harvard can’t claim to care about our future success if we’re hearing about our program shuttering from a Boston Globe reporter.”

In the follow-up email on Monday, Anna Fitzloff, director of marketing and communications for American Repertory Theater, wrote: “We have learned from some of you that the email that was sent on Friday from Diane Paulus and Diane Borger did not reach many of you. The email is forwarded below.”

Ms. Fitzloff shared a copy of the letter that was sent to alumni, students and staff members with The New York Times. She said that Ms. Paulus, Mr. Zigler and other leaders of the institute were unavailable for comment Monday.

She wrote in an email: “With a great deal of consultation with key stakeholders, the time seemed ripe to address the items outlined in the letter. Having the time to plan is critical to the success of the Institute.”

Though the institute has assured its…

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