A.C.T. Strand Theater - Lobby
Lobby of A.C.T.'s Strand Theater on inaugural opening night.

American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) today announced the lineup for its first-ever New Strands Festival. Running January 21-24, the festival features “new theatrical pieces, works in progress, readings, and experimental work.” In other words, it sounds very much in line with what artistic director Carey Perloff told us she envisioned for the newly renovated Strand Theater on Market.

Performances are free, and the schedule currently includes about fifteen different events (see below for complete lineup). There should be something here for everyone.

With the idea of connecting artists with community, the New Strands Festival gives us a view into early works, some unfinished, as they take shape — similar to other “early works” type festivals across the San Francisco Bay Area, such as the New Works Festival at TheatreWorks and the Sandbox Series at the San Francisco Playhouse.

ALSO SEE: The story behind San Francisco’s re-born, iconic Strand Theater

If you haven’t stopped into The Strand yet, this is a perfect opportunity. Drop by after work, and check out that soaring lobby, and enjoy a cocktail with friends, and people watch. Also, the massive LED screen in the Strand lobby will be screening various animations, dance works, and music videos during the festival.

Tip: NSF seating is general admission, so get there early if possible.

Last year, Loni Stark met up Carey Perloff at the Strand Theater during construction. You can watch that video here to get glimpse of the new space, and the vision behind its operation:

San Francisco Arts & Culture news, stories, videosA.C.T. New Strands Festival 2016

How to Catch Creation
by Christina Anderson
Directed by Daniella Topol

An exploratory reading of a new commission by playwright Christina Anderson, investigating the desire for fatherhood in an ex-con shackled by his past.

Late-Night DJ After-Party
with DJ Lady Ryan

Bay Area DJs rock The Strand’s lobby

Open Class with Joanna Haigood,
Artistic Director of Zaccho Dance Theatre

Participants explore the relationship of movement to site. Any shape, age, and level welcome. Max 25 participants.

A Conversation with the New Strands Artists
A dialogue about creative process with the artists in this festival.

Conceived by Carey Perloff, Sheldon Smith, and Stephen Buescher, with performers Peter Anderson, Stephen Buescher, Bruce Turk, Basil Twist, Gregory Wallace, and sound designer Darron L. West

An open rehearsal of the devised work in progress Fatherville, land of lost fathers, wishful sons, shooting gallery machismo, and funfair parenting.

by Federico García Lorca
Adapted by Melinda Lopez
Directed by Melia Bensussen

A contemporary retelling by Melinda Lopez of Federico García Lorca’s masterpiece about a woman’s obsessive need to create a new life.

Late-Night DJ After-Party
with DJ Decibel

Bay Area DJs rock The Strand’s lobby

Turbulence Lab Space (Open Class) 
Based on the piece Turbulence (a dance about the economy)
Instigated by Keith Hennessy of Circo Zero with Larry Arrington, Hana Erdman, Jesse Hewit, Empress Jupiter,Emily Leap, and Julie Phelps. In collaboration with CounterPulse

A collaborative process of shared dancing and performance research about (systems of) money and power and value. Any shape, age, and level welcome. Max 25 participants.

A Thousand Splendid Suns Q&A with Music Excerpts
with author Khaled Hosseini and composer David Coulter

Excerpts from the novel A Thousand Splendid Suns, accompanied by contemporary music by composer David Coulter, and followed by a Q&A with author Khaled Hosseini. The novel is being adapted for A.C.T. by Ursula Rani Sarma.

Contemporary Music Experiments
with Byron Au Yong, Dohee Lee, and Luciano Chessa

As Byron Au Yong creates Port City, a new musical commissioned by A.C.T., he and Dohee Lee experiment with paint, paper, fingerprints, and buckets of water. Composer Luciano Chessa acts as ringmaster on the bullhorn. Port City will be developed in collaboration with playwright Chris Chen and animation artist Miwa Matreyek.

How The World Made Itself 
Created and performed by Miwa Matreyek

A multimedia live performance combining projected animation and the artist’s own shadow silhouette; a magical journey through the history of the earth.
Family-friendly performance.

Late Night After-Party
Hosted by the creators of The Unfortunates

by Lachlan Philpott
Performed by A.C.T.’s Master of Fine Arts Program class of 2017

Australian playwright Lachlan Philpott and the M.F.A. class of 2017 interweave a real and mythological San Francisco, looking at loss and connection in the city.

Banda Sin Nombre concert
World Folk music by a five-piece street band from San Francisco’s Mission District, inspired by Catalan rumba, Appalachian old time, and cumbia.