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Showing posts from August, 2016

Moving The Dial: The Women's Leadership Conference

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By Elspeth Sweatman 

“We are here today to dialogue, to create, to unearth the big questions and bold strategies for moving conversation deeper and further around women and men of color in leadership in the American theater,” said Erin Washington, A.C.T.'s Interim Artistic Producing Associate and one of the organizers of the Women’s Leadership Conference that A.C.T. hosted on Monday at The Strand.

The conference began with the presentation of research conducted by Sumru Erkut and Ineke Ceder from the Wellesley Centers for Women. It was followed by responses from a panel including Seema Sueko (Deputy Artistic Director at Arena Stage), Shafer Mazow (Senior Grants Manager at Exploratorium), Michele Shay (actress, director, and producer), Elena Chang (Associate Director of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at Theatre Communications Group), Anne Kauffman (Board Member at Stage Directors and Choreographers Society), and Rhodessa Jones (Co-Artistic Director at Cultural Odyssey).

The Wom…

Director David Muse Prepares for King Charles III

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By Shannon Stockwell and Elspeth Sweatman

Buckingham Palace has come to 30 Grant. Prince Charles, William, Kate, and Harry (or rather, the actors who play them) have arrived for rehearsals for A.C.T.’s 50th-anniversary season opener: Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III.

Addressing a packed room of cast, crew, staff, and A.C.T. subscribers for the show’s meet and greet, director David Muse—who refers to himself as “Bartlett’s biggest fanboy in America”—told the story of seeing this play for the first time in London. “I sat there in slack-jawed disbelief for two and a half hours. The play was sophisticated, it was complicated, it was balanced, and it was good Shakespeare.”

In King Charles III, Muse sees many of the conventions of Elizabethan drama. There is a main plot in verse and a subplot in prose. There are soliloquies, rhyming couplets, and extended metaphors. There are supernatural elements, stage directions written into the text, and minimal scenery.

“But there’s also a deeper Sh…

Peter Pastreich Joins A.C.T. as Interim Executive Director

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By Publications Staff

Summer at A.C.T. has been busy, with back offices and backstages buzzing with preparations for our amazing 50th-anniversary season. As we raise the Geary curtain for the first show of the 2016–17 season, we’d like to welcome our new interim executive director, Peter Pastreich.

“I have known Peter since I arrived in San Francisco over twenty years ago,” says A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff. “I have always been inspired by his leadership, his kindness, and his immense wisdom about artists and arts management. It is with enormous pleasure and gratitude that we join forces with him at this moment in A.C.T.’s history, to help us celebrate our 50th-anniversary year, to guide us forward in all our aspirations, and ultimately to help us complete a successful hire of a permanent executive director.”

“The A.C.T. Board of Trustees is extremely fortunate to have Peter’s wisdom and expertise during our search for a permanent executive director,” says board chair Nanc…

The Personal Story behind Fields of Gold: The Music of Sting

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By Simon Hodgson

On one level, Fields of Gold: The Music of Sting—which plays until August 27 at A.C.T.’s Strand Theater—is a musical about the Amish coming-of-age rite known as rumspringa. But to creator and co-director Craig Slaight, researching the subject created a deeply personal story that mirrored his own. “It’s a metaphor for our late-teen years,” says Slaight. “It’s about finding a moral compass in that critical time in young peoples’ lives when they ask, ‘What did I grow up believing, and is it still right?’”

Through the research that Slaight did on the Amish, he developed an enormous respect for them. “They aren’t asking anyone else to become Amish,” he says. “They are interested in the simple life. They are not interested in being on the grid. All they’re really asking is to let them live the way they wish to on the land they have. It’s a wholesome, pristine, rural existence.”

For Slaight, the idea of religious teens in the American heartland is close to home. “I was raise…

Sting and the Amish Meet in Fields of Gold: The Music of Sting

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By Elspeth Sweatman 

“To stare into an uncertain future with strength, excitement, wonder, and fear.” That is the quest at the heart of Fields of Gold: The Music of Sting, A.C.T.’s  Young Conservatory show which opens next week. Using 30 years of the singer’s music, this play tells the unique story of a group of Amish and non-Amish teenagers coming of age in LaGrange, Indiana.

The music of Sting and the world of the Amish rumspringa—a period when Amish teens are freed from their strict religious rules—may seem like chalk and cheese, but to creator and co-director Craig Slaight these worlds address the same universal questions: What does it mean to be a modern teenager? How does our sense of personal identity and morality evolve during this time? How can we embrace the future with courage, faith, and understanding?

Just like the YC’s previous show Top of the Pyramid, Fields of Gold: The Music of Sting is about a specific group of teens in small-town America. But the themes it explore…

The Women's Leadership Project Conference

By Rose Oser and Shannon Stockwell

The Women’s Leadership Project began in 2013 when A.C.T. partnered with Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW), a Massachusetts-based institute devoted to gender-focused research, to do a formal study into gender disparity in regional theaters.

Now, after more than three years of research, A.C.T. and WCW are excited to share the findings of that study at the Women’s Leadership Conference at The Strand Theater (1127 Market Street, San Francisco) on August 22, 2016.

The morning session is free and open to the public (RSVP here to reserve your spot). The WCW researchers will share their findings, and Artistic Director Carey Perloff will lead a Q&A with a panel of arts leaders. In the afternoon, selected participants will proceed to The Rueff to discuss the research and create strategies for change.

By examining a broad range of potential factors, we want to determine the specific barriers that have prevented women from rising through the ranks to posit…