Mary Hunter

Class of 1971
Career Pathway: 

Mary Hunter was nominated by Lynn Thompson. 

During high school, Mary made the most of the opportunities that were offered: choir, band, forensics, newspaper, student council, International Thespian Society, ski team and powder puff football. She demonstrated her leadership skills as president of the forensics team, president of her sophomore class, vice-president of the student council and editor of the school newspaper. She also won the Roy O. Miles Award, given each year to the best all-around citizen of the senior class.

Her interest in the theater may have been piqued by her participation in numerous productions: Mame, Flower Drum Song, Oliver, Pride and Prejudice, Cinderella, The Diary of Anne Frank and The Madwoman of Chaillot. She also did production crew work on Anne Frank, My Fair Lady and Brigadoon. When choir director Howard Taylor took a group of students on a field trip to Chicago for a theatre tour, Mary was one of them. 

After graduating from Grayling High School, Mary did undergraduate work at Michigan State University and since then has had a long and distinguished career in the theater. 

Ms. Hunter was a professional stage manager and production manager for 22 years. Her long list of credits in regional, commercial and academic theatre throughout the United States includes hundreds of productions.

She worked several seasons as a production stage manager at the Guthrie Theatre, American  Repertory Theatre, Denver Theatre Center, Santa Fe Festival Theatre, National Arts Centre and the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada.

From 1982 through 1993, she served as the production stage manager at Seattle Repertory Theatre under the artistic leadership of Daniel Sullivan, the theatre and film director and playwright. In 1991, she toured the United States with the award-winning production of Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles and toured internationally with the New York Theatre Guild production of Theatre at Sea, featuring artists such as Eileen Brennan, Carol Kane, Helen Hayes, George Hearn, Leroy Reams, and Gena Rowlands.

Beginning in the fall of 1993, she served as the production manager for all productions at Seattle Repertory Theatre. 

In 1996, she was recruited by Yale University, where she worked until her retirement in 2019. There, she held the title of professor adjunct at the Yale School of Drama and she served 23 years as the chair of the school's Stage Management Department.

In addition to leading the department and developing the structure and curriculum for stage management studies at Yale, each season she served as stage management adviser for all productions at the School of Drama.

Ms. Hunter was loved and admired by her students. As one of them wrote in the Yale School of Drama's Annual Magazine on the occasion of her retirement, “Mary had a truly unique way of pointing out an error or an opportunity for growth that I have tried to emulate. She showed you where you could have improved without making you feel small. And she would talk through different options so at the end, you felt empowered to move forward. . . . Mary has a dry, quick sense of humor which pairs nicely with a split of champagne. She loves movies, lunch at Union League Café and clean eyeglasses.”