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Showing posts from August, 2009

A Mad Dash to Stratford

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posted by Marilee K. Gardner, A.C.T. Trustee

Marilee Gardner, a member of the A.C.T. Board of Trustees, was part of the A.C.T. family that traveled to Ontario, Canada, last week to represent A.C.T. at the opening night of Phèdre at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Produced in association with A.C.T. and directed by our artistic director, Carey Perloff, Phèdre will open at the American Conservatory Theater in January featuring actors from the acclaimed Stratford company.

I spent a whirlwind three days in Canada. Friday I flew to Toronto and met with fellow board member Cherie Sorokin and A.C.T.’s exiting executive director, Heather Kitchen, and then we made a mad dash to Stratford, Ontario, for the festival. It is a very cute town (and, if one can stay out of the antique shops, it is an affordable town). Heather had made all the arrangements, which included our hotel and a biographical tour of Stratford based on Heather’s many years there with the festival. It is lovely: parks, a ri…

The A.C.T. Intern Podcast Is Back! Introducing The NIA Project

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posted by Rose Hogan, A.C.T. Marketing Intern

This week’s episode discusses one of the ways in which A.C.T. is involved in the community—through a student-run organization called The NIA Project.

Theater in its essence gives back to the community. The entire purpose of performing is to mirror society and inspire it. In addition, many theaters offer a wide variety of programs to better engage and help the community. A.C.T. offers several programs to encourage people that might otherwise not be able to attend the theater to see mainstage productions. One of the ways that A.C.T. is most out there and engaged in the community is through the conservatory. The A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program has several built-in ways in which the students actively involve the community in their process and use inspiration from the community in their own original works. Plus, in the second year, with the Will on Wheels program, students tour a Shakespeare play to schools around the Bay Area, teaching youn…

A Tearful Homecoming

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posted by Anya Richkind, A.C.T. Young Conservatory student

Every other summer, students from A.C.T.’s Young Conservatory go to England to develop a new play written for young actors as part of an ongoing exchange program with Theatre Royal Bath. This year, a group of Young Conservatory and M.F.A. Program students traveled to Bath to work on Riot, a brand-new play by Irish author Ursula Rani Sarma, which will receive its world premiere production at A.C.T. in April 2010. Anya Richkind, a junior at San Francisco’s Lick-Wilmerding High School, writes one last time after returning from her two-week transatlantic theatrical adventure.

After a tearful goodbye to Bath, we moved on to London. There was a lot of sniffling on the two-hour bus ride there. In just 12 days, we had all gotten incredibly close with the English kids. But, as they say, the show must go on, right?

We spent our first few hours in London wandering around Covent Garden. After a lovely dinner, we headed over to the West E…

What Do You Know?

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posted by Mairin Lee, A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program class of 2010
Each summer, several students from the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program take on the task of teaching and mentoring their younger colleagues in the Young Conservatory, solidifying what they’ve learned in the graduate program by passing it on to the next generation of theater artists. Mairin Lee, who will receive her M.F.A. degree from A.C.T. next May, describes the challenges and joys of stepping into the instructor’s role.

There’s nothing like hanging out with a bunch of third-graders to remind me of the following exchange from Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest:

LADY BRACKNELL: . . . I have always been of the opinion that a man who desires to get married should know either everything or nothing. Which do you know?

JACK: (after some hesitation) I know nothing, Lady Bracknell.

No bachelor am I, yet teaching physical characterization and improvisation to some of the world’s most impressive juniors leaves …

Our First Week in England

posted by Anya Richkind, A.C.T. Young Conservatory student

Every other year, students from A.C.T.’s Young Conservatory go to England to develop a new play written for young actors as part of an ongoing exchange program with Theatre Royal Bath. This year, a group of Young Conservatory and M.F.A. Program students travels to Bath to work on Riot, a brand-new play by Irish author Ursula Rani Sarma, which will receive its world premiere production at A.C.T. in April 2010. Anya Richkind, a junior at San Francisco’s Lick-Wilmerding High School, writes about her first week of making theater across the Atlantic.

Gosh, halfway done already. I can’t believe it. On one hand, I feel like I’ve been here for months—The Egg, the theater we are working in, now gives me those warm and fuzzy vibes that come only with familiarity—but on the other hand, we leave in less than a week. In our week here, so much has happened, from learning about new theatrical techniques to exploring the beautifully ancient c…

An Inspirational Week

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posted by Jack Willis, A.C.T. Associate Artist

A.C.T. core acting company member Jack Willis, along with nine respected and talented actors from across the United States, was selected to participate in the inaugural class of the Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program hosted by the Ten Chimneys Foundation. Willis describes his experiences during the weeklong intensive led in July by master teacher and revered Shakespearean actress Lynn Redgrave in the Wisconsin home of acclaimed actors Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne.

Jack Willis with acclaimed actress and master teacher Lynn Redgrave
When you get selected for these sorts of things, you wonder what they are going to be about. “Prepare three Shakespearean monologues, two scenes . . .” You assume that it’ll be a chore. But this program wasn’t a chore at all. It ended up being a very affirming week. For seven days, I was surrounded by a great group of actors at the beautiful estate of Ten Chimneys, a setting that is very much still stuck in the 19…