Behind the Scenes at A.C.T.: An Interview with Acting Director of Marketing Christine Miller

By Taylor Steinbeck

Nearly eight years ago, East Coaster Christine Miller made a cross-country move to California to begin her year-long tenure as A.C.T.’s 2010–11 season marketing fellow. What she didn’t know at the time was that she wouldn’t be leaving the streets of San Francisco anytime soon. Flash-forward to 2018 and Miller is now A.C.T.’s Acting Director of Marketing. We sat down with the marketing team’s intrepid leader to celebrate her inspiring career at A.C.T.

A.C.T. Acting Director of Marketing and Marketing Assistant Miranda Ashland. Photo by Kimberly Rhee.
For those who aren’t familiar with marketing in the arts world, how do you go about marketing an A.C.T. production?

Marketing a show first requires understanding a show—what a play is about and what the characters are motivated by. It also helps to have conversations with the artistic director to grasp not just what the work means on paper, but what it means to the person who has selected the piece for A.C.T. Then, it’s about putting yourself in other people’s shoes and thinking about how different kinds of individuals will relate to the show—what will make it interesting for them? It’s about getting to know the story and figuring out who its audience will be.

How have you seen A.C.T. evolve over the years?

The roots of A.C.T. have remained the same. We care about telling great stories onstage—new and diverse stories and reimagined classics. We care about educating young artists who could become future theater-makers and theater-goers. And we care about our communities. The ways we've engaged with these values shift as San Francisco shifts, but I think the heart of who we are hasn't changed.

(L to R) Four of A.C.T.'s 2010–11 Fellows: Jonathan Carpenter (Artistic), 
Christine Miller (Marketing), Emily Hoffman (Publications), and Zach Moull (Dramaturgy).
Come July 6, you will be embarking on a new adventure that includes graduate school, Philadelphia, and yet another cross-country move. What will you miss the most about A.C.T.?

It’s my theatrical home. I’ve grown up here and have become the person who I am at A.C.T. So, there are a lot of things I’m going to miss, but most of all I’m going to miss the people. Individual people have certainly changed over the years, but working at this organization means I consistently work with people who are incredibly passionate about what they do. They’re very smart, empathetic, and hard-working. I hope to find that somewhere else because the community of people I’ve worked with and laughed with and bared my soul with is not easily replaceable.

What advice do you have for young theater professionals who are still finding their footing in the professional theater world?

My time as an A.C.T. fellow was a mixture of a lot of hard work, of making an effort to know everyone in the organization, of listening and paying attention to where there was a need and filling it, and a little bit of luck. Just remember while you’re on the job search that everyone is unique and everyone has something to add to the conversation. Even though it isn’t easy getting a job in theater, I believe that the right job will match up at the right time, so just keep your confidence high.

Interested in becoming a part of our community? A.C.T. is still looking for a marketing/PR fellow, graphic design fellow, and development fellow, among other fellowships, for the 2018–19 season. Click here to learn how to apply.

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