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Showing posts from September, 2009

You Know What I Did Last Summer . . . ? Part 1

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posted by Dan Rubin, A.C.T. Publications & Literary Associate

Although the halls of A.C.T.’s conservatory and administrative offices are filled with the constant stream of actors taking classes during the summer, there is a definite (though indefinable) change in atmosphere when our Master of Fine Arts Program students return for the fall semester.

Maybe the renewed energy in the building is from the return of our new third-years. They’ve become our friends and colleagues—though they still feel a bit like our children (in the most adoring sense of the word!)—as they have grown as artists over the last two years. But many of them have been in and out of 30 Grant over the summer (some teaching and working; others just visiting), and they have all actually been “back” for a couple of weeks now, rehearsing their cabaret, Sweet Charity, which opened at Zeum on Friday, September 11. So maybe it is from the return of our new second-years, of whom we have seen less over the summer months an…

Noël Coward in San Francisco

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posted by Brad Rosenstein, Curator of Exhibitions and Programs, Museum of Performance & Design, San Francisco

The U.S. premiere of the Kneehigh Theatre production of Noël Coward’s Brief Encounter at the American Conservatory Theater (formerly the Geary) marks a notable return by Coward not just to San Francisco, but to the same street where his work has been most frequently seen in this city and which The Master himself frequented in his lifetime.

In researching the Museum of Performance & Design’s recent exhibition Star Quality: The World of Noël Coward, I was delighted to discover that San Francisco was a very significant town for Coward, both personally and professionally. He first visited in 1926, staying at the Fairmont Hotel, and even though literally on the verge of a nervous breakdown, he fell in love with the city. He thought it was one of the very few great theater towns in America and returned many times on his visits to California or while en route to points across…

A Very Special Theater

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posted by James Haire, A.C.T. Producing Director

January 10, 2010, marks the 100th birthday of American Conservatory Theater’s historic home, originally known as the Columbia Theatre, later dubbed the Geary Theater, and finally renamed the American Conservatory Theater in 1996. James Haire, who has been with A.C.T. for more than 35 years, kicks off our online celebration of this unique and special building, which has been home to some of the most incredible theater artists of the last century.


In the early days of my career, I spent about ten years stage-managing on Broadway before coming to A.C.T. During that time, I worked on several national tours, traveling throughout the United States with various plays. We played most of the country’s larger cities, and during these treks I remember three theaters as being particularly outstanding due to their enlightened architecture, which made both performers and audiences feel somehow “special.” The first was the Colonial Theatre in Boston; …

Let’s Talk About Sets, Baby

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posted by Timothy Faust, A.C.T. Marketing Intern

The crew tries out the video projection during the load-in of the Brief Encounter set at A.C.T.
All photos by Timothy Faust. For more photos of the Brief Encounter load-in, visit A.C.T.’s Flickr page.
The dog-eared National Geographic on my bedroom floor offers evidence that Stonehenge, that ear-ringingly spectacular, eye-wateringly mysterious clump of rocks in Wiltshire, England, was built over the course of 500 years. The splendor of its prehistoric creation is matched only by its mystery, and words are insufficient for its majesty: Stonehenge was awesome back when “awesome” was a solemn, whispered word instead of today’s withered adjective, used for everything from sandwiches to skateboards.

On the other hand, the traveling Brief Encounter set, fresh from the production’s tour of the United Kingdom, needed only three days for its California construction—and it boasts two video projectors. National Geographic indicates that Stonehenge …

Getting the Word Out . . . with Flair!

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posted by Rose Marie Hogan, A.C.T. Marketing Associate

You are a lot more likely to attend an event that you know is happening, right?

In its most basic form, the job of A.C.T.’s marketing department is to make sure that the public knows that our shows are happening. We use all of the usual means of communication with our audience: ads, emails, radio and TV spots, stories in the press. In my very humble opinion, however, the BEST way to reach people is to do it with FLAIR!

What do I mean by flair? To get the word out with what A.C.T. does best: theatricality.

To open our 2009–10 season, A.C.T. is bringing Kneehigh Theatre’s production of Noël Coward’s Brief Encounter straight from the U.K. I am crazy excited about this show. It’s terribly romantic, wackily funny; it’s got great music and an innovative approach to fusing cinema and theater; and it’s got BRITS! Seriously, if it had been in rehearsal here instead of across the ocean, I would have been playing hooky every day from work to…

Communication Beyond Language

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posted by Tobie Lee Windham III, A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program class of 2010


Ciao, to all of the A.C.T. family and friends. It’s your boy, Tobie Windham, and I wanted to take a moment to let you all know how my summer in Italy went. Myself and my fellow third-year classmate, Omozè Idehenre (a.k.a. slick and sly) had the chance to experience a three-week “Demystifying Chekhov” workshop in San Miniato, Italy at the Primo del Teatro European School for the Art of the Actor.

Let me tell you that those three weeks changed my life. This was my first time in Europe, and it was amazingly beautiful. The people were wonderful and the food was even better. (Did you know pepperoni pizza does not exist in Italy? I didn’t.) And I had the chance to eat wild boar, which was sooo good . . . but all I could think about was Pumbaa from The Lion King. Funny, right?

San Miniato, which is between Florence and Pisa, is this jewel of a village that sleeps during the day and comes alive with tons of peop…