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The San Francisco Theater Guide

Ready For Some Highly Charged Live Theater? SF is a Theater Lover's Paradise.


From well established large theaters that are on par with the best of New York or Chicago to small neighborhood venues where activiss-actors tackle political issues on the live stage, San Francisco has one of the most eclectic and diverse theater offerings in the world. Theater is an integral part of both the city's nightlife and it's creative arts scene, make sure not to miss the show the next time you are in town.

1. The American Conservatory Theater

Image Courtesy of ACT
Founded in 1965, the American Conservatory Theater is the big kid on the block of San Francisco's live theater organizations. It also happens to host one of the top acting schools in the country as well as fund a large arts education program that touches kids all over the bay area. Located just a block from Union Square and in walking distance from most of downtown's historic hotels, a show at ACT turns an already faboulous weekend in the city into a cultural feast.
415 Geary Street, 415-749-2228 www.act-sf.org

Read My Complete Review of the American Conservatory Theater

2. The Magic Theater

Photo by Jennifer Reiley, Courtesy of the Magic Theater
Located within the historic Fort Mason Center, which lies just a short walk from bustling Fisherman's Wharf, the Magic Theater has been producing original works that are known for their searing intelligence since 1967. This is the place to catch a world premier performance before it makes it big, for a fraction of the price it will cost at a later date.
Fort Mason Center Building D, (415) 441-8822 www.magictheater.org

3. The Marsh Theater

Image Courtesy of the Magic Theater
Born from the powerful impromtu theater performances of San Francisco's hefty cafe scene, the Marsh Theater focuses entirely on new works, most of them solo performances. It's Valencia Street location, right in the hip heart of the Mission District, means that performances are always cutting edge and relevant to current social and cultural events. This is the place to sink into San Francisco's legendary progressive arts scene at it's best.
1062 Valencia Street,(415) 826-5750 www.themarsh.org

4. The New Conservatory Theater

Image Courtesy of the New Conservatory Theater
Dedicated to pioneering and producing works by artists from the gay, lesbian and queer communities, productions at the New Conservatory Theater are packed with social commentary as well as humor. Founded in the 1970s, this Civic Center area institution also offers a full range of adult and youth acting classes, including specialized courses for high school and home schooled teens. The 18 play season at the NCT is packed with international hits, works by local playwrights and co-productions with other regional theater groups and non-profit organizations.
25 Van Ness Ave,(415)861-8972 www.nctcsf.org

5. The Exit Theater

Image Courtesy of the Exit Theater
Although just blocks from Union Square and the cable car turnaround on Powell Street, the Exit Theater is pure indie theater at it's best. Besides sponsoring the annual San Francisco Fringe Festival and the DivaFest, which focuses on new works by female playwrights, the Exit also has an action packed weekly line-up througout the year. From Bitchslap! comedy nights to sonwriter Saturdays, the Exit Theater is you best bet in the downtown area for some real SF counterculture.
156 Eddy Street, (415) 931-1094 www.theexit.org
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