INFO The American Conservatory Theater of San Francisco (A.C.T.) was founded by William Ball circa 1965 in Pittsburgh, PA before San Franciscan philanthropists invited Ball to relocate his company to the Bay Area. His company... ... read more
415 Geary Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
The American Conservatory Theater of San Francisco (A.C.T.) was founded by William Ball circa 1965 in Pittsburgh, PA before San Franciscan philanthropists invited Ball to relocate his company to the Bay Area. His company then bought what was known as the Columbia Theater, a theater which had been designed and built in 1910. In 1967 the A.C.T opened its inaugural season with Tartuffe starring Rene Auberjonois.
Though the original theater went through a series of management teams, each renaming the building; the building was finally named the A.C.T. in 2006, honoring the company's 40th-anniversary season in San Francisco.
During his first season in 1967, William Ball mounted an impressive 16 productions, which marked it as one of San Francisco's first theater companies to produce performances year-round. In the twelve years that followed, A.C.T stormed the thespian scene and solidified its ongoing success, winning a Tony Award for outstanding theater performance and training. Over the past 40 years, more than 300 productions at the American Conservatory Theater have played to a combined audience of nearly 7 million people, entertaining 250,000 people every year in the Bay Area. Its theatrical offerings range from classical works (like Tennessee Williams and Samuel Beckett) to new explorations of contemporary playwriting. The A.C.T boasts a lengthy lineage of 20th-century drama bigwigs, including George Arliss, Ethel and Lionel Barrymore, Boris Karloff, Paul Robeson, Alfred Lunt, Fanny Brice, Helen Hayes, Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Gregory Peck, and Tallulah Bankhead, among many others.
The A.C.T had a tumultuous past, but has risen like a phoenix from the ash. Fewer than two hours before the 1989 performance of George Coates's Right Mind, the Loma Prieta earthquake struck, collapsing the proscenium arch and leaving a gaping two-thousand-square-foot hole in the ceiling. The theater was able to obtain the $28.5 million to complete the renovation, through donations from various charitable organizations and foundations. The theater reemerged in 1996 and now houses approximately 1,000 people, including balcony, mezzanine, orchestra, and premiere seating sections, each with approximately 500 seats.
Parking is available for A.C.T at the Mason/O’Farrell Garage at the corner of Mason and O'Farrell streets. Theater patrons can park for up to five hours for $12 if you show your ticket stub.