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Showing posts from April, 2020

The Fire Within: An Interview with Sarah Traisman

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By Claire L. Wong and Alejandra Maria Rivas
Sarah Traisman (she/they) loves running. She loves its goal-oriented training and its meditative quality. And she loves hosting a dinner party. Traisman, a third-year student in A.C.T.’s MFA Program, is weeks from graduation. She grew up in Chicago and attended undergrad at Vassar College. For two years afterward, Traisman lived in New York, trying the audition circuit. Then she decided she wanted more training under her belt.

One of her best friends was already at A.C.T., and when Traisman learned about A.C.T.’s emphasis on citizen artistry, she was drawn to the MFA Program. “There’s something to be said about a community that is interested in you,” says Traisman. “A.C.T. showed a lot of interest in who I was.” Now, three years later, Traisman has recently performed her senior solo show (over the video conferencing platform Zoom). We spoke with her about her experience in A.C.T.’s MFA Program.


Sarah Traisman. Photo by Deborah Lopez. 
How have…

How Can I Support the Arts Right Now?

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By Miranda Ashland

All around the country, arts organizations are struggling after having to shut their doors and cancel upcoming programming due to COVID-19. We’ve compiled a list of ways to support the arts community.
A.C.T.'s Geary Theater. Photo by Marco Lorenzetti.
How to Support an Arts Organization
Many organizations are nonprofit and employ not only artists, but dozens of staff: administrators, customer service, concessions, janitors, ushers, curators, ticketing services, security, and more. These are ways you can support them.
DonationsNo matter how small, monetary donations are instrumental to the survival of most arts companies. If you’ve purchased tickets to an event that’s now canceled, donate your tickets back. If refunds are automatic, turn the refund into a donation.Buy for the FuturePurchase a subscription to the next season or a ticket to a future performance. You’re helping the organization now and giving yourself something to look forward to.Buy a Gift CardIf ther…

The Show Must Stream On

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By Livian Yeh

On March 16, four days after performances of Gloria and Toni Stone were canceled in response to the coronavirus, A.C.T. began offering patrons access to recordings of both shows through a partnership with the streaming platform BroadwayHD. “We didn’t have the time or resources to invest in a five-camera shoot that’s directed and designed,” Executive Director Jennifer Bielstein told the New York Times. “So we recorded with one or two cameras in the house. It’s more about making sure the audience gets to see the work.”

For Ticketing Services, A.C.T.’s most forward-facing department, pivoting from live performances to online streaming required flexibility and adaptability. ”We’re used to selling an experience,” says Director of Ticketing and Sales Operations Jennifer Peterian. “Customer service is usually about the shows that are happening in the theater. For virtual tickets, we had to become technical troubleshooters.”

The cast and creative team of A.C.T.'s Gloria watch…

A.C.T. Conservatory Classes Go Online

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By Claire L. Wong
The world is still adjusting to sheltering in place in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. In this time of uncertainty, A.C.T. Conservatory Director Melissa Smith emphasizes connection and creativity. “It’s crucial to seek joy, to find laughter and hope,” says Smith, “which happens naturally when theater artists get together and play.”

 A.C.T. San Francisco Semester Spring class students make the most of remote learning with Studio A.C.T. Director Mark Jackson (center top).
How are theater artists getting together? All of A.C.T.’s Conservatory classes for students in the MFA Program, Young Conservatory, San Francisco Semester, and Studio A.C.T. are now online through Zoom video conferencing. It was challenging for faculty and staff members to figure out how to quickly adapt classes for a live performance art form to something digital, but they found solutions. “They worked with remarkable speed, agility, thoughtfulness, and flexibility,” says Director of Studio A.C.T.…