A Celebration of A.C.T. Artistic Director Emerita Carey Perloff

By Elspeth Sweatman

Over the past year, theater-makers and arts reporters have written about Artistic Director Carey Perloff and her 25-year tenure at the helm of A.C.T. They’ve focused on her herculean efforts to rebuild The Geary Theater after the 1989 earthquake and her work to refurbish The Strand Theater in 2015. They’ve chronicled her tenacity in commissioning new American translations of classic plays, her international collaborations, and her creative partnerships with Harold Pinter and Tom Stoppard. But these achievements only illuminate one side of this director, storyteller, teacher, and collaborator. Now, it’s our turn to celebrate our energetic, industrious leader for the Renaissance artist that she is.

A.C.T. Artistic Director Emerita Carey Perloff. 
Photo by Drew Altizer.

Carey’s love for the city A.C.T. calls home is evident in the numerous Bay Area stories that she has championed, including After the War, The Tosca Project, and Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City. Her desire to create theater about, for, and with our diverse community has fostered new channels for conversation and discussion, from InterACT events and dramaturgical publications to continuation high school residency initiatives. “Carey embraces theater’s ability to bring people together and invite us to view our complex world with curious minds and compassionate hearts,” says Education & Community Programs Director Elizabeth Brodersen. “She has strived to make A.C.T. a place where all stories are welcome.”

When she isn’t directing shows, nurturing new work, examining the season’s budget, or meeting with A.C.T. donors and board members, Carey can often be found in one of 30 Grant’s rehearsal studios, teaching in the Master of Fine Arts Program. Her tireless dedication to fostering the next generation of theater-makers has transformed the program into one of the leading graduate actor training programs in the US.

A.C.T.’s founding artistic director, William Ball, was passionate about the vital link between a theater and its community and the necessity of investing in the next generation of theater artists. Over the last 25 years, Carey’s dynamism and leadership have ingrained these principles into the heart of the A.C.T. family. As we move forward with our next chapter, we take with us Carey’s love of language, her steadfast enthusiasm for A.C.T., and her unflagging belief in the transformational power of theater.

Director Carey Perloff's 2017 production of A Thousand Splendid Suns returns to the Geary stage for a special two-week encore presentation beginning July 17. Click here to purchase tickets. Want to learn more about the process of producing the world-premiere of Suns? Order a copy of Words on Plays, A.C.T.'s in-depth performance guide series.

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