ACT raises $31M, establishes first endowment

ACT San Francisco

ACT San FranciscoAccording to the Los Angeles Times, American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) in San Francisco—one of our favorite theaters in the Bay Area—has raised close to $31M via its first ever endowment. Called The Next Generation Campaign, the effort took 5 years.

It’s great news, and a welcome start to 2010. Last year, ACT had to cut its budget by $1.5M and eliminate three high-level positions the story reports.

The 44-year-old company boasts several prominent alumni, including Annette Bening, who served as chair of the Campaign Artistic Advisory Committee. The Oscar-nominated actress’ photographs were featured prominently on literature and promotional material used during the campaign, according to the company.

Hopefully 2010 brings renewed hope to theater houses across the country. Even in the best of times, theater and the arts is a challenging, often neglected, industry.

Artistic Director Carey Perloff Photo by Kevin Berne
Artistic Director Carey Perloff Photo by Kevin Berne

For example, 2009 saw mega-size bailouts of epic proportion (in other words, insanely large) for the banking and auto industries. But, as Rick Lombardo, artistic director at the San Jose Repertory Theatre, told us in an interview last year, there was no bailout for the arts. And with ticket sales covering only 1/3 to possibly 1/2 of costs, donations and external support is essential.

Speaking of ACT, don’t forget this Saturday (Jan. 9th) to drop by for “A Landmark Celebration” at the theater. It’s an open house that celebrates over 40+ years of donor support. For more information, visit the ACT web site.

ACT, A Landmark Celebration

On Saturday, January 9, we will throw open the doors of the American Conservatory Theater from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a FREE daylong celebration of craft, design, and performance. The first half of the day (10 a.m.–1 p.m.) will be dedicated exclusively to A.C.T. subscribers and donors, to honor your generous, steadfast support over the past 40+ years. In the afternoon the festivities will be open to the general public, and everyone is welcome to join in the fun.

During both sessions, the entire building will be open from top to bottom for self-directed walkabout tours, with A.C.T. staff on hand at every turn to tell the behind-the-scenes story of San Francisco’s grandest playhouse. This is a great chance to explore all the nooks and crannies most never get to see, from the uppermost lighting catwalk to the depths of the trap room beneath the stage—as well as a rare chance to have your moment in the spotlight standing on one of the most glorious stages in U.S. history.

A host of entertaining activities are also scheduled throughout the day, including:

A reading by actors in A.C.T.’s core company and Master of Fine Arts Program of George Ade’s Father and the Boys, the play that inaugurated the theater (then known as the Columbia) on January 10, 1910

An inside look at the magic of the theater, featuring demonstrations by A.C.T. professionals of the tricks of the theatrical trade, including stage combat, wigs, makeup, costumes, and stage technology

An open Young Conservatory cabaret rehearsal, where you can observe A.C.T.’s talented young students in the process of creating a musical performance

Historical displays honoring the people, productions, and artistry of the theater over the decades

Prize drawings and other opportunities to win A.C.T. subscriptions and memorabilia

Complimentary light refreshments and birthday treats, served in Fred’s Columbia Room in the lower lobby of the theater
A.C.T. subscribers and donors will also be treated in the morning to an exclusive sneak peek at our upcoming production of The Tosca Project, as San Francisco Ballet legends Lorena Feijoo and Pascal Molat perform a beautiful pas de deux from this remarkable interdisciplinary work. The performance will be followed by a gathering of all A.C.T. subscribers and donors, who are invited to a group photo and celebratory toast honoring the centennial birthday of San Francisco’s splendid dramatic dame.

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