Chronicling History: An A.C.T. History Book

By Simon Hodgson 

When A.C.T. started planning its 50th-anniversary season, the company's management team tasked Resident Dramaturg Michael Paller with writing a book to celebrate this milestone. The result is A Five-Act Play: 50 Years of A.C.T., which will be published by Chronicle Books on April 27.

Artwork for A Five-Act Play: 50 Years of A.C.T. by Michael Paller.
Organized approximately by decade, A Five-Act Play is a historical retrospective. "The first period, from 1967 to 1979, was an era of triumph, culminating in the Regional Theater Tony Award in 1979." By contrast, says Paller, "The '80s were largely a disaster, with financial troubles, William Ball leaving as artistic director, and ending in the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989." Since then, he says, there's been a sense of rebirth—with the renovation of The Geary Theater in the 1990s and the creation of the three-year Master of Fine Arts Program—and regeneration, most recently with the opening of The Strand Theater in 2015.

"A.C.T. has always been about the future of the art form," says Artistic Director Carey Perloff. "And the best way to anticipate the future is to understand the past. With A Five-Act Play: 50 Years of A.C.T., we renew our vows and explore our legacy in a beautiful volume that covers all the plays, people, programs, educational initiatives, community partnerships, new works, tours, and much more. It will be a book to treasure."

To reserve your copy of A Five-Act Play: 50 Years of A.C.T., click here.

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