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Kara-Lynn Vaeni

Assistant Professor

Kara-Lynn Vaeni is a theatre and opera director who focuses on highly theatrical, impossible-to-stage works by diverse and interesting writers who are often women or artists of color. She has directed productions and workshops at HERE Art Center, New York; BAM Harvey Theater, Brooklyn; the Irondale, Brooklyn; The National Theatre of Prague; Guggenheim Works & Process, New York; New Georges, New York; 2g, New York; The Flea, New York; the wild project, New York; WP Theatre, New York; Dallas Theatre Center; Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, Conn.; Montana Repertory Theatre, Missoula, Mont.; and the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Jupiter, Fla.

Vaeni currently holds faculty positions at Yale University and SMU. She has also taught acting, directing, movement and Shakespeare at Seton Hall University, Hofstra University, SUNY-Stonybrook and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She has been an artist in residence or guest director at Princeton University, Yale School of Drama, Mount Holyoke College, Westminster Choir College and University of Virginia-Wise.

When she is not making the world a more interesting place through teaching and theatre-making, she reads YA, swings kettlebells and chases a 250-lb. deadlift.


B.F.A. Acting, Hofstra University
M.F.A. Directing, Yale School of Drama

Professional Experience

Multiple years of freelance directorial work

Resident Director for the Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program at New York University, 2007-14

Resident Stage Director, Opera Slavica, New York, 2008-present

The Director Collective

Literary Manager of Obie Award-winning theatre company New Georges, New York, 2006-12

Member, SSDC (Stage Directors and Choreography), 2010-present

Selected Grants and Fellowships

Bel Geddes grant, with designer Nick Francone, to enhance Vaeni’s and Francone’s production of AliceGraceAnon by Kara-Lee Corthron

Presidential Public Service Fellowship, Yale University

Julian Milton Kaufman Memorial Prize for directing, Yale University

Vaeni’s innovative staging and use of contemporary dance for Opera Slavica’s Rusalka won her an extended invitation to perform from the Artistic Director of the Czech Center in New York.


Acting I, THEA 2303
Acting V, THEA 6313
Business and Professional Aspects, THEA 6113


Areas of Study



Art History

Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship

Corporate Communication and Public Affairs

Creative Computation


Film and Media Arts




Undergraduate Studies

Graduate Studies

Classes (See Catalog)


Faculty and Staff

Opportunities for Non-Theatre Majors

Student Internships & Collaborations


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