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The American Conservatory Theater

San Francisco's Largest Theater Company is also a Renown Acting School

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The American Conservatory Theater

Inside the Historic Geary Theater

Image Courtesy of ACT
The American Conservatory Theater (ACT) is one of the largest non-profit theaters in the United States and has been presenting a full season of professional theatrical performances since 1965. Housed in the magnificently restored Geary Theater, a national historic landmark, the theater is a cornerstone of the city's impressive performing arts scene. Besides putting on an annual line-up of original world premier, classic and touring works, ACT also is home to one of the nations most prestigious schools, which offers MFA programs, a children's training program and classes to the general public.

Visiting the American Conservatory Theater

The American Conservatory Theater is located just a block away from Union Square on Geary Street, in the heart of downtown San Francisco.

It is four blocks from the Powell Street "Cable Car turnaround and the Historic Streetcar stop on Market Street. Street parking is very tight but there are plenty of hourly lots in the area.

  • Address: 415 Geary Street, San Francisco
  • Box Office Hours: Open Monday 12pm to 6pm and Tuesday through Sunday 12pm till curtain call.
  • Contact:(415)749-2228 www.act-sf.org

Seeing at Play at ACT

The Christmas Carol is always a holiday hit.

Image Courtesy of ACT
The American Conservatory Theater puts on a full season of productions, which usually runs from September through June, taking a break for the summer. The season features 8 or 9 plays, including the annual Christmas Carol production, a San Francisco holiday tradition. The other shows are usually a mixed bag of original ACT productions, redone classic stageplays and visiting international hits from other top-caliber repertory theaters around the world.

ACT also spends a considerable amount of their budget on commissioning new works by supporting both emerging and established playwrights. Each show runs for about a month, with nightly shows Tuesday through Sunday and day shows on the weekends and select weekdays.

Check Out the Current Season Schedule at ACT

Besides the regular full season, Act also puts on a variety of shows starring their conservatory and young conservatory students. These productions take place at smaller San Francisco venues including the Children's Creativity Museum at the Yerba Buena Gardens.

The MFA program and Children's Conservatory at ACT

One of the top-ranked professional actor training programs in the country, the MFA program is a three year course of study that has nourished the skills of several big Hollywood names including Denzel Washington, Nicolas Cage and Teri Hatcher. By the third year, most students are performing in the companies second stage productions, which often have higher production values and more stringent direction than many regional theaters.

The Young Conservatory Program is an afterschool professional actor training program for kids 8 to 19 years old. Students get a chance to audition for ACT's varies Young Conservatory productions, which also tend to have high standards and professional production.

Other Programs at the American Conservatory Theater

The Historic Geary Theater Exterior

Image Courtesy of ACT
Act also offers two other actor training programs that draw students from all over the world:
  • The Summer Training Congress: This seven, five or two week acting intensive is world renowned for its top notch instruction which includes master classes from the core company actors.

  • Studio ACT: the Studio ACT courses are designed for working adults and full-time college students. Each ten week course meets in the evening once a week and focuses on a particular aspect of theater or niche skill, live improv, musical theater or voice, and all classes are taught by working actors.
The American Conservatory Theater, as a non-profit organization also supports a wide variety of outreach and education programs, including bringing live theater and acting classes to public schools all over the bay area. To learn more about these programs and find out how you can support them visit the fundraising page.

About the Historic Geary Theater

Built in 1910, this ornate Beaux-Arts masterpiece is a San Francisco architectural icon in it's own right. The theater has been the host of many historical events including the premier of Orson Well's "Citizen Cane" and Howard Hughes "The Outlaw". After years of hosting the city's premier jazz concerts, musical events and motion pictures the Geary Theater was made into the full time home of the newly formed American Conservatory Theater in 1965.

Under the direction of William Ball, ACT became an international sensation and solidified its position as the city of San Francisco's premier theater venue and actors training school.

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