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Top-ranked professional actor training in the heart of San Francisco
20 16 –17
A C T - S F. O R G /M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M 2
A M E R I C A N C O N S E R V A T O R Y T H E A T E R nurtures the art of live theater
through dynamic productions, intensive actor training in its conservatory, and
an ongoing engagement with its community. A.C.T. embraces its responsibility to
conserve, renew, and reinvent the rich theatrical traditions and literatures that are
our collective legacy, while exploring new artistic forms and new communities. A
commitment to the highest standards informs every aspect of A.C.T.’s creative work.
04 From the Directors
12 The Curriculum
06 The City, The Theater
14 Performance Opportunities 24 Admissions and Applications
08 The Training Experience 16 Faculty
22 A.C.T.’s Shining Stars
26 Summer Training Congress
The closing date for materials in this bulletin was September 5, 2015. A.C.T. reserves the right to
withdraw or modify the courses of instruction and faculty members at any time.
For complete program information—including application forms and policies and procedures—
please visit
M.F.A. graduate Ryan Williams French (left), class of
‘15, and the cast of Mr. Burns, a post-electric play on the
A.C.T. mainstage
A C T - S F. O R G /M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M
The A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program is for
individuals who, after serious consideration and
self-evaluation, have chosen performance as
a profession. This highly competitive graduate
program offers a rigorous three-year course
of training designed to educate and stimulate
the most promising young actors, who are
selected through nationwide auditions.
FRONT COVER (L TO R) Caitlan Taylor, class of ‘16, in The Cherry Orchard; Arthur Wise, class of ‘16, in Kalos
Kai Agathos; Ryan Williams French, class of ‘15, in Hamlet. PREVIOUS PAGE (FROM TOP) The class of 2016 in
Side by Side by Sondheim; the cast of Mr. Burns, a post-electric play (photo by Kevin Berne). THIS PAGE Alexa
Erbach, Michael McIntyre (center), and Matthew Capbarat, class of ‘16, during the annual Sky Festival (photo
by Jay Yamada). All photos by Alessandra Mello, unless otherwise noted.
The M.F.A. curriculum includes comprehensive
actor training, the production of classical and
contemporary plays, and opportunities for actors
to teach and to produce work of their choosing.
The course of study emphasizes dedication
to craft, prizes curiosity and initiative, and
recognizes the potential of live performance
to effect social change. The opportunity to
teach deepens humanity and enhances actors’
understanding of themselves and the acting
process. A.C.T. believes actors who generate
as well as interpret material are uniquely
prepared to collaborate on and support the
development of new dramatic forms. They
are the individuals who will go on to energize
and advance the art of performance and who
will ensure the future of theater in America.
Our place at the center of a renowned
professional theater company, as well as our
urban location in San Francisco, enriches every
aspect of the program, bringing students of
various backgrounds into close contact with
writers, directors, designers, and actors of
many different theatrical traditions. Through
exposure to professional artists, and through
engagement with diverse audiences in and
outside A.C.T., M.F.A. actors discover how
theater reflects the life of a community and how
the life of a community inspires its theater.
A.C.T. is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senor Colleges and
Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC, 985
Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, 510.748.9001), an institutional
accrediting body recognized by the Council on Postsecondary Education and the
U.S. Department of Education.
A.C.T. is sponsored in part by the Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax
Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, and California Arts Council, a state agency.
Special support for the M.F.A. Program is provided by William Randolph Hearst
Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, and The Bernard Osher Foundation.
A C T - S F. O R G /M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M
It is our profound pleasure to welcome you to an institution where
making art is viewed as a lifelong commitment that begins in
childhood and lasts as long as we have an ounce of energy left
to play. In addition to housing a top-ranked master of fine arts
program in acting, A.C.T. is a Tony Award–winning regional
theater, a crucible for new play development, and one of the most
popular cultural destinations in San Francisco. Our training
pushes actors towards an expression of human experience that
is passionate, dangerous, amused, and expansive—all within the
context of a thriving professional theater company.
A C T - S F. O R G / M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M
By choosing to train at A.C.T., you are
participating in a program designed to cultivate
the entrepreneurial actor—an artist possessing
not only the skills and experience to succeed
in just about any professional performance
arena, but one equipped with the insights and
imagination to generate his or her own work. At
A.C.T., our focus is to empower student actors
to thrive not only as performers and interpreters
but also as creators and collaborators of vital
new dramatic material. We aim to develop
“citizen artists,” community-minded and socially
aware individuals with the potential to become
leaders of any artistic enterprise. At A.C.T., you
will stretch your creative muscles in ways you
may never have imagined, and will do so with
the support, resources, and applause of A.C.T.’s
entire artistic community behind you.
Here, you are joining a company where young and
old, master and novice, are constantly engaged
in the creation of important, magical, meaningful
art. The professionals here are your peers as well
as your teachers: during your training you will
find yourself taking classes from a resident artist
one month and rehearsing with them the next. In
turn, that synergy extends to your own mentoring
of young actors in our Young Conservatory, from
teaching opportunities during the summer to
performing alongside them in conservatory and
mainstage productions or new commissioned
work. You’ll also share your passion for theater with
the Bay Area community through engagement with
our Education & Community Programs Department.
There is no formula for creating a great actor, or
great acting. The journey is unique to each artist.
At A.C.T., we are committed to giving you accurate
maps, excellent tools, ample nourishment, and
the occasional beautiful outfit. We are your
traveling companions, and we hope to inspire in
you the imagination and courage to explore—to
risk everything when nothing is guaranteed.
Great dramatic literature invites you to jump into
the fray; good training is the net that lets you do
so without endangering every bone in your body.
Since we are all always in training at A.C.T., free
fall is frequent. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Carey Perloff
Artistic Director
Caitlan Taylor (right), class of ‘16, and Annemaria Rajala
(left) in A Little Night Music on the A.C.T. mainstage
Melissa Smith
Conservatory Director
PREVIOUS PAGE (clockwise from top left) Artistic Director Carey Perloff; Conservatory Director Melissa Smith; the
cast of Stories from the ‘Loin during the annual Sky Festival (photo by Jay Yamada). THIS PAGE Annemaria Rajala
(left) and Caitlan Taylor in A Little Night Music (photo by Kevin Berne).
A C T - S F. O R G /M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M
Thomas Stagnitta, class of ‘16, in
Hamlet at A.C.T.’s Costume Shop
Established in 1965, American Conservatory Theater is a Tony Award–winning
theater and conservatory whose work is energized and informed by a profound
commitment to developing the next generation of theater artists. A.C.T. is the
largest theater company in the San Francisco Bay Area and employs more than 800
people each season, from teachers and artists to technicians and administrative
staff. During the past four decades, more than 330 A.C.T. productions have been
seen by close to seven million theatergoers in the company’s magnificent Beaux
Arts–style mainstage theater located in the heart of San Francisco’s Union Square
theater district.
A C T - S F. O R G /M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M
T H E V I S I O N A.C.T. continues to nurture
its legacy as one of America’s most respected
regional theaters and to expand its reach to
include new areas of dramatic literature, new
communities, and new international collaborations—as well as innovative interpretations
of classical work. Central to A.C.T.’s vision is
the philosophy of lifelong education. A.C.T. is
committed to nurturing artists from diverse
backgrounds, and to embracing the challenging
dynamics of training and performance that lie at
the heart of the institution.
T H E S C E N E Famed for its energetic individual-
ism, its sophisticated cultural landscape, and its
breathtaking beauty, San Francisco is home to
more than 300 resident theater companies, from
new-play repertories to acclaimed Shakespeare
festivals to Broadway touring houses. An ideal
location for actors beginning their careers, the
Bay Area theater scene is both large enough to
be noticed nationally and intimate enough to
ensure that you’ll soon be a familiar face. Actors
in the Bay Area are involved in all levels of the entertainment industry, from developing contacts
to attending auditions and industry gatherings,
and frequently make the successful transition to
thriving theater and film careers.
T H E L O C A T I O N Located in the heart of
San Francisco’s bustling Union Square, the
A.C.T. Conservatory features seven studios
and shares its rehearsal spaces with A.C.T.’s
mainstage productions. Classrooms, studios,
and administrative offices are fully integrated—
student life is an essential part of A.C.T.’s
culture—and students have the opportunity
to interact daily with associate artists and
staff. A few blocks away is A.C.T.’s historic and
dazzling mainstage, The Geary Theater—one
of San Francisco’s famed cultural landmarks,
which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2010.
Tucked into the fifth floor of The Geary, The
Garret provides a warm, intimate space for
student cabarets and other performances. In
addition, The Costume Shop, a versatile black
box performance venue located down the street
in San Francisco’s bustling Central Market
arts neighborhood, opened in 2011 as A.C.T.’s
dedicated home for innovative M.F.A. Program
works and community partnerships. Next door
to The Costume Shop is A.C.T.’s dynamic new
283-seat theater, The Strand, which is not only
the company’s long-awaited second stage—but
also an important education complex that will
offer unprecedented learning and performance
opportunities to our students, as well as the
chance to connect with a new community of
theater lovers.
Nearby (and easily accessible via public
transportation), students can explore the theater
district, museums, parks, Chinatown, North
Beach, and the Embarcadero waterfront. On
a day off, the City by the Bay offers students
an extraordinary range of activities. Take a
hike in Muir Woods, go sail ing on the Bay,
catch a baseball game, hit a jazz club, bike
across the Golden Gate Bridge, check out a
pop-up restaurant, or soak up paintings in local
artists’ open studios. Tucked into the beautiful
landscape of Northern California, the Bay Area
also offers easy access to other unforgettable
adventures. Spend a day exploring wine country
in nearby Napa and Sonoma valleys, head down
Highway 1 to view the dramatic coastal landscape
near Big Sur, or check out the Santa Cruz Beach
Boardwalk, an oceanfront amusement park that
has operated continuously since 1907.
PREVIOUS PAGE (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT) A.C.T.’s Geary Theater (Gene X Hwang/Orange Photography); the San Francisco
skyline (photo by Philip H. Coblentz); a cable car; Thomas Stagnitta, class of ‘16, in Hamlet (photo by Alessandra Mello).
THIS PAGE (FROM TOP) The Bay Bridge at night; the lights at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater (photo by Ashley Forrette).
A C T - S F. O R G /M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M
At A.C.T., you’re not an “acting student”—you’re a “student actor.”
THIS PAGE (CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT, L TO R) The class of 2016 in their Created Movement Project (photo by Alessandra Mello); the cast of Little
D during the annual Sky Festival (photo by Jay Yamada); York Walker (right) and Dillon Heape (center), class of ‘14, with Ryan Williams French,
class of ’15 (photo by Jay Yamada). NEXT PAGE The Strand Theater (photo by Denys Baker).
A C T - S F. O R G /M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M
“The Citizen Artist component within the M.F.A. Program is an incredible opportunity to share our training with San
Francisco’s various communities and witness how theater can unite and inspire. My experience of creating theater and working
as a teaching artist with various communities has profoundly impacted my growth as an actor and human being.”
D I A N A G O N Z A L E Z- M O R E T T, class of ’17
Every day, a few doors down from the studio
classrooms, A.C.T. is conducting the business
of making professional theater. During their
training at A.C.T., M.F.A. Program students come
to think of themselves as apprentices rather than
acting students. Indeed, the A.C.T. community
doesn’t recognize a group of “acting students,”
but rather student actors; the difference is small,
but crucial. Outside of training, students are
encouraged to sit in on professional rehearsals,
listen to directors present production concepts,
and see a show at the theater more than once just
because they love an actor’s performance.
in that it employs associate and resident
artists—from actors who regularly appear on our
stages, to directors, designers, and playwrights
who continually return to create new work at
A.C.T.—and these artists are the M.F.A. Program
actors’ living link to the professional theater
world. In turn, M.F.A. Program actors serve as
mentors to younger artists in A.C.T.’s renowned
Young Conservatory through teaching opportunities or performing onstage together in various
productions, including new works commissioned specifically for them or A.C.T.’s annual
production of A Christmas Carol.
360° THE AT ER : THE M .F. A . AC TOR
T H E C I T I Z E N A R T I S T Our exciting Citizen
Artist training aids students’ understanding of the
artist’s role in society as one that has the power
to engage the larger community. The Citizen
Artist is an actor who is dedicated to craft and
committed to social change through the practice
of their art. Through a variety of programs, A.C.T.
is able to train socially aware transformative
theater artists with the tools to unleash their art
as a force for positive change wherever they may
find themselves. A.C.T.’s Education & Community
Programs Department provides theater-based
E X P E R I E N C E The essence of A.C.T.’s actor
training lies in the interplay between our professional company and our conservatory. Within
the A.C.T. artistic community, professionals
and students are constantly learning from each
other—M.F.A. Program actors audition for and
perform in A.C.T. productions and establish
valuable mentor relationships with the artists,
producers, literary staff, and other professionals who make theater happen. A.C.T. is unique
among large professional theater companies
arts education and engagement opportunities for more than 10,000 school students and
community members each year through four
central programs: Student Matinee performances,
with related pre- and postshow workshops; the
Will on Wheels tour presented by second-year
M.F.A. Program students each spring at schools
and community centers across the Bay Area; the
ACTsmart Intensive Residency Program, which
provides in-depth instruction in writing and
performance to socioeconomically disadvantaged youth in San Francisco continuation high
schools and community-based organizations;
and Stage Coach, a mobile initiative designed to
bring participatory theater experiences to underrepresented neighborhoods in San Francisco. The
Education & Community Programs Department
provides M.F.A. Program students with opportunities to acquire teaching artist training and apprenticeships in all of these programs; some of these
experiences are a formal (i.e., required) part of
the M.F.A. Program curriculum, while others are
voluntary and arranged on an individual basis,
subject to the approval of the Conservatory and
Education & Community Programs Directors.
B E Y O N D Student actors at A.C.T. perform
frequently within the program, working with
professional directors and designers in a variety
of performance venues. In the first two years of
training, M.F.A. Program actors participate in
productions at The Costume Shop and The Rueff,
as well as Will on Wheels, a Shakespeare play
that tours to schools and venues around the Bay
Area. In the third year, student actors begin their
transition to the professional world by stepping
into productions on the Geary and Strand stages,
and earning their Actors’ Equity Association
membership. Throughout their training at A.C.T.,
A C T - S F. O R G /M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M
“In my time at A.C.T., I have developed a stronger, more creative sense of self, I
have continued to explore and refine my craft, and I have joyously investigated
what it means to be a professional actor working at the highest level.”
M AT T H E W C A P B A R AT, class of ’17
student actors participate in the process of
creating new work for the theater by performing
in A.C.T.’s staged readings, festivals, and other
presentations of new and upcoming plays.
A . C . T . C O R N E R S T O N E S At A.C.T., training
requires immense physical energy, intellectual
curiosity, emotional honesty, a vivid imagination,
and a willingness to take risks. Central to the
program’s mission is its focus on an actor’s
“readiness” to perform at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater,
our demanding, 1,024-seat historic home. Success
on a stage of this caliber requires enormous
depth and agility and is vital in developing the
total actor—a performing artist possessing the
skills and experience to succeed in any professional arena, from Broadway and regional theater
to film and television. To extend these powerful
skills into the world, actor training at A.C.T. also
cultivates citizen artists—socially conscious and
community-minded theater professionals with the
passion and heart to unleash theater as a force for
sociocultural change wherever they go.
To prepare actors for these challenges, our
curriculum focuses on four cornerstones of A.C.T.
readiness: instrumental flexibility—tuning the
actor’s instrument (voice, body, and mind) to
unleash the talent within; professionalism—
understanding and embracing the responsibilities of the professional actor, from expectations
when hired to caring for a costume; transformation—synthesizing all aspects of the craft,
fusing technique and imagination, to create a
character within the world of a play; and collaboration—working with artists to make a piece
of theater, a process requiring the courage to
make bold choices and the passion to inspire
creativity in others.
C A R E E R T R A N S I T I O N At the end of the third
year of training, M.F.A. Program actors launch
their careers with a showcase presented to
industry professionals (agents, casting directors,
and artistic directors) in New York, Los Angeles,
and San Francisco. With A.C.T. alumni working
in theater, film, television, and arts education
across the nation, recent graduates continue to
experience a community of support upon leaving
the program.
C O N S E R V A T O R Y H O U R S During their training,
students have the opportunity to attend Conservatory Hours—exclusive Q&A sessions with
successful actors, directors, producers, writers,
and alumni. Previous speakers have included
Jason Alexander, Elizabeth Banks, Annette
Bening, Benjamin Bratt, James Cromwell,
Olympia Dukakis, Eve Ensler, Joseph Fiennes,
Harvey Fierstein, Brendan Fraser, Jason Butler
Harner, Woody Harrelson, Bill Irwin, Judith
Ivey, Cherry Jones, John Lahr, Baz Luhrmann,
Carl Lumbly, David Mamet, Francesco Manetti,
Frances McDormand, Suzan-Lori Parks, Estelle
Parsons, Jeff Perry, Tonya Pinkins, Mark Ruffalo,
Michele Shay, Anna Deavere Smith, Tom
Stoppard, David Strathairn, Robin Williams, and
Charles Randolph Wright.
FROM TOP (L TO R) Matthew Capbarat (right), class of ‘16, talking to students from Wallenberg High School after a performance of
A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Ryan Williams French, class of ‘15, in Hamlet; Ben Quinn and Dominique Salerno, class of ‘15, during
a performance of M.F.A. Variety (photo by Ryan Montgomery). All photos by Alessandra Mello, unless otherwise indicated.
A C T - S F. O R G /M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M
Christina Liang, class of ‘16, with
Dan Hiatt in Love and Information
on the A.C.T. mainstage
THIS PAGE (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT) Stefanée Martin, class of ‘15, performing Little D during the annual Sky Festival (photo by Jay Yamada); the class of ‘15 in
Side by Side by Sondheim; Dan Hiatt and Christina Liang, class of ‘16, in Love and Information (photo by Kevin Berne); Joel Bernard and Josie Alvarez, class of ‘15,
in The Glass Menagerie. NEXT PAGE (FROM TOP) Joel Bernard, class of ‘15, in The Cherry Orchard; Michael McIntyre (left) and Matthew Capbarat performing The
Lady and Two Tramps (photo by Jay Yamada) during the annual Sky Festival. All photos by Alessandra Mello, unless otherwise noted.
A C T - S F. O R G /M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M
All curriculum classes are compulsory, with
no elective subjects. Classes in speech, voice,
movement, acting, and text analysis are taught
by core faculty members, who guide each
student toward achieving his or her fullest
potential. Distinguished guest artists, A.C.T.
staff members, and other industry professionals
enhance the program with master classes,
seminars, and lectures on such subjects as
dance, stage combat, on-camera acting, the
business of acting, and what it means to be a
citizen artist. Associate artists perform in A.C.T.
productions throughout the season while also
teaching and directing in the M.F.A. Program.
Performances frequently combine students
with actors from all around A.C.T. Throughout
their three years in the program, M.F.A.
Program students may find themselves onstage
alongside faculty, young actors from our Young
Conservatory program, professional actors,
as well as fellow students from all years of the
program. Student actors also have opportunities
to generate their own work—as actor, writer,
director, adaptor, and more—in the annual Sky
Festival. Other performance opportunities include
musical cabarets, as well as opportunities to
work with professional actors, directors, and
playwrights on public readings of new plays under
consideration for development by A.C.T.
In addition, student actors are also invited to
serve as teaching artist apprentices as part
of A.C.T.’s growing education and community
programs. This integral part of the curriculum
connects M.F.A. Program actors with enthusiastic
students and community members from across
the Bay Area—some of whom will experience
theater for the very first time through their
contact with A.C.T.
In the first year, students focus on acting as
storytelling, learning to cultivate authenticity,
flexibility, imagination, and daring in all aspects
of the craft.
C O U R S E S Acting, voice, speech, movement
(Alexander Technique, physical theater, dance),
singing, text analysis, theater history, studies
in the San Francisco cultural landscape, as well
as special workshops in stage combat, new play
development, and citizen artist training.
P R O G R E S S First-year actors train individually in
the context of their development as an ensemble.
During extensive course work, student actors
focus on both the interpretation and generation of
material. They engage with a range of literature,
exploring the dynamics of classic and modern
texts. Particular attention is paid to identifying
A C T - S F. O R G /M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M
and playing the given circumstances in a range of
realistic plays (e.g., O’Neill, Williams, Chekhov).
Shakespeare is also introduced. By the end of
the first year, student actors possess a strong,
flexible foundation for their artistic journey, and
are equipped with skills to interpret—and tools to
devise—a variety of work.
expression (primarily classical and verse plays).
C O U R S E S Acting (scene study in Shakespeare,
Shaw, Wilde), voice, speech (including dialects),
singing, text analysis, and movement (Alexander
Technique, mask, and dance), as well as
special workshops in stage combat, new play
development, and citizen artist training.
in our popular Will on Wheels production, a
Shakespeare play that tours to Bay Area schools
and community centers in March. They also
join actors from all years of the program in the
performance of modern plays or classics in the
spring at The Costume Shop or The Rueff at The
Strand Theater.
P E R F O R M A N C E S First-semester work includes
P R O G R E S S With an increased emphasis on
the performance of a created movement project
under the direction of a choreographer and the
performance of a one-act play. At the end of
the second semester, first-year actors perform
alongside second- and third-year actors in
modern plays or classics—allowing them to apply
the first year’s practical studies.
collaboration in rehearsal and performance,
student actors expand their technical skills
and their capacity to transform and collaborate
as they work with a variety of directors in the
production of classical plays by such writers
as Shakespeare, Molière, Goldoni, and others.
Through their engagement with poetic texts,
nonrealistic theater, and their own devised work,
they gain confidence in a range of performance
styles and rehearsal processes. Students
perform for public audiences in a wide variety of
spaces, putting their flexibility, collaboration,
and professionalism to the test.
C R E D I T S 703 A&B Acting II 5.0 credits; 713
A&B Physical Theater II 5.0 credits; 723 A&B
Voice & Dialects II 7.0 credits; 743 A&B Theatrical
Imagination II 1.5 credits; 753 A&B Rehearsal &
Performance II 23 credits; 773 B Citizen Artist .05
credit; 42 credits total
C R E D I T S 603 A&B Acting 5.5 credits; 613
A&B Physical Theater I 6.5 credits; 623 A&B
Voice & Dialects I 9 credits; 643 A&B Theatrical
Imagination I 3.5 credits; 653 A&B Rehearsal &
Performance I 20 credits; 673 B Citizen Artist .05
credit; 45 credits total
The second year focuses primarily on truth
and size in acting, with particular emphasis on
the demands of dramatic texts with elevated
language and heightened emotional and physical
P E R F O R M A N C E S Second-year performances
include classical plays that demand sustained
and explosive emotion; plays or projects that
demand physically based characterization;
verse dramas that demand mental agility,
rhetorical dexterity, and imagination; and a
musical cabaret. Second-year actors perform
During the final year, students transition toward
the professional realm as they synthesize skills,
performing on A.C.T.’s Geary and Strand stages and
in school productions while continuing to stretch
themselves through intensive classroom work.
C O U R S E S Master classes in acting, clown,
and on-camera work; tutorials in voice, speech,
and movement, and special workshops on such
topics as audition techniques and the business
of acting augment the cycle of rehearsal and
performance. Interested students may participate
in additional citizen artist opportunities.
P R O G R E S S From the performance of devised
pieces to the mastery of the A.C.T. mainstage
in A Christmas Carol, student actors complete
their third year having gained professional
experience on an A.C.T. stage and possessing
a wealth of resources that will help launch their
careers, including their Actors’ Equity Association
membership. They are transparent, versatile
performers—at home with a wide range of contemporary and classical material, in theatrical
spaces vast and intimate, and with audiences
large and small. Toward the end of the third year,
the entire class is presented in a showcase for
professional theater and film directors, agents,
and casting directors in New York, Los Angeles,
and San Francisco.
P E R F O R M A N C E S Student actors perform on the
A.C.T. mainstage in A Christmas Carol—and may be
cast in a role or as an understudy in another professional production. In addition, third-year actors
perform in The Garret at The Geary Theater and join
fellow M.F.A. Program actors in productions at The
Costume Shop or The Rueff at The Strand Theater.
C R E D I T S 8803 A&B Acting III 4.5 credits; 813
A&B Physical Theater III 1.5 credits; 823 A&B
Voice & Dialects III 0.5 credits; 890 A&B Rehearsal
& Performance III 33 credits; 873 B (Optional)
Citizen Artist flexible credit; minimum 38 credits
N E W W O R K M.F.A. Program actors are frequently
cast in readings and workshops of new plays,
giving student actors a chance to become involved
in the play development process at every level
and to work with acclaimed actors, directors, and
playwrights in an intimate workshop environment.
Recent projects have included new works by Ping
Chong, David Greenspan, Christina Anderson,
Itamar Moses, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Steve Yockey,
Katie Pearl, Lisa D’Amour, and Philip Kan Gotanda,
with the participation of such guest artists as
Anne Kaufman, Eric Ting, Steven Anthony Jones,
and Brian Kulick.
O N T H E M A I N S T A G E Every year the third-year
class auditions for leading and ensemble roles
in A.C.T.’s mainstage productions. In addition to
the Bay Area favorite A Christmas Carol, M.F.A.
Program actors have appeared in recent A.C.T.
productions of Indian Ink, directed by Carey
Perloff; Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, directed
by Mark Rucker; A Little Night Music, directed by
Mark Lamos; Love and Information, directed by
Casey Stangl; The Orphan of Zhao, directed by
Carey Perloff; Napoli!, directed by Mark Rucker;
1776, directed by Frank Galati; Arcadia, directed
by Carey Perloff; the world premiere comedy Dead
Josie Alvarez (second from left) and Ryan Williams French (third
from left), class of ‘15, with the cast of A Christmas Carol on the
A.C.T. mainstage
Metaphor, directed by Irene Lewis; Sophocles’
Elektra, directed by Carey Perloff; Once in a
Lifetime, directed by Mark Rucker; the world
premiere musical Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the
City, directed by Jason Moore; Scapin, directed by
Bill Irwin; Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet, directed
by Mark Rucker; The Tosca Project, cocreated by
Carey Perloff and Val Caniparoli; The Caucasian
Chalk Circle, directed by John Doyle; and Rock ’n’
Roll, ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore, and The Government
Inspector, directed by Carey Perloff.
THIS PAGE (L TO R) Thomas Stagnitta (left) and Matthew Baldiga, class of ‘16, in Crazy for the Country; the cast of A Christmas Carol (photo by Kevin Berne). NEXT PAGE Kemiyondo Coutinho and Rafael
Jordan, class of ‘15, in The Glass Menagerie. All photos by Alessandra Mello, unless otherwise noted.
T H E S K Y F E S T I V A L This dynamic event brings
together the A.C.T. community in the creation,
rehearsal, and performance of a vibrant and
eclectic range of work. Each year students,
faculty, and artistic staff submit proposals for
projects they are personally passionate about,
offering participants an opportunity to approach
work from multiple angles, from directing to
devising to performing. Ranging from self-written
work to movement-based interpretations of
printed texts and conventional explorations
of “straight plays,” the chosen projects (11 in
2014) are developed over three weeks of intense
rehearsal and exploration, culminating in a
festival of in-house presentations.
A C T - S F. O R G /M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M
2 0 14 –1 5 M . F. A . P R O G R A M P R O D U C T I O N S
September 11–13 | Third-year M.F.A. Cabaret
D I S ·T I L · L A ·T I O N : A M U S I C A L R E V U E
Songs of personal history and discovery drawn from
various musical genres
Directed by Cindy Goldfield
Music direction by Robert Rutt
Performed in The Garret
October 16 –November 1 | Second- and third-year actors
by William Shakespeare
Directed by Nancy Benjamin
Performed at The Costume Shop
by Anton Chekhov
Directed by Mark Rucker
Performed at The Costume Shop
November 6–8 | First-year actors
Directed by Lisa Townsend
Performed at The Costume Shop
December 6–28 | Third-year actors,
associate artists, Young Conservatory
By Charles Dickens
Directed by Domenique Lozano
Performed on the A.C.T. mainstage
December 10–13 | Second-year actors
Directed by Nick Gabriel
Music direction by Robert Rutt
Performed in The Garret
January 2014
M . F. A . VA R I E T Y
Performed in The Garret
February 25–28 | Third-year actors
Directed by Ryan Purcell
Performed at The Costume Shop
May 7–16 | First- , second-, and third-year actors
An adaptation of the Villeggiatura comedies
by Carlo Goldoni
Directed by Stephen Buescher
Performed at The Costume Shop
by Thornton Wilder
Directed by Domenique Lozano
Performed at The Costume Shop
(By Invitation Only)
Tour weeks of March 2, March 9, March 16 | Second-year actors
by William Shakespeare
Directed by Giles Havergal
December 11–13 | First-year actors
by Tennessee Williams
Directed by Jeff Crockett
In-house performances in the 30 Grant Studios
March 20 in The Costume Shop | March 23 in Los Angeles
March 30 in New York City | Third-year actors
Directed by Domenique Lozano
Week of January 19 | First- , second-, and third-year actors,
associate artists, M.F.A. faculty
A festival of work proposed and generated by
M.F.A. faculty, M.F.A. actors, and A.C.T. artists
In-house performances in the 30 Grant Studios
Week of March 16 | First-year actors
Directed by Lisa Porter
In-house performances in the 30 Grant Studios
March–April | Third-year actors
In-house performances in the 30 Grant Studios
A C T - S F. O R G /M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT (L TO R) Stephen Buescher with Alex Crowther, class of ’12, in clown class; Aaron Moreland, class of ‘14,
with Jeffrey Crockett; Conservatory Director Melissa Smith in class; Carey Perloff during The Strand Theater opening week events
(photo by Karen Goldman/Orange Photography). All photos by Kevin Berne, unless otherwise noted.
A C T - S F. O R G /M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M
These faculty members provide the essential
instruction for the M.F.A. Program in Acting
during the school year. In addition, adjunct
faculty members teach courses within their
areas of specialty. Guest artists, A.C.T. artistic
staff, and other theater professionals are often
engaged on a short-term basis for master
classes, seminars, and workshops.
Core faculty members are on staff throughout
the school year to provide ongoing instruction
in their disciplines; A.C.T.’s associate artists
divide their time between A.C.T.’s mainstage
productions and teaching in the M.F.A. Program.
“By helping me recognize my old
habits and offering practical tools
to transcend them, the training at
A.C.T. has guided me toward becoming
an autonomous, multidimensional,
unique artist who is confident in her
own creative voice.”
E M I LY B R O W N , class of ’17
THIS PAGE Carey Perloff (photo by Kevin Berne). NEXT PAGE
(L TO R) Nancy Benjamin; Ryan Williams French, class of ’15,
with Michael Paller (photo by Brenden Mendoza).
M E L I S S A S M I T H (Conservatory Director,
Head of Acting) has served as conservatory
director and head of acting in the A.C.T. M.F.A.
Program since 1995. During that time, she has
overseen the expansion of the M.F.A. Program
from a two- to a three-year course of study and
the further integration of the M.F.A. Program
faculty and student body with A.C.T.’s artistic
wing. A primary acting teacher in the M.F.A.
Program, she has also taught for the A.C.T.
Summer Training Congress (STC) and Studio
A.C.T. Prior to assuming leadership of the A.C.T.
Conservatory, Smith was the director of the
Program in Theater and Dance at Princeton
University, where she taught introductory,
intermediate, and advanced acting. She has
taught acting classes to students of all ages
in various colleges, high schools, and studios
around the continental United States, at the
Mid Pacific Institute in Hawaii, NYU’s La Pietra
campus in Florence, and the Teatro di Pisa in San
Miniato, Italy. She is featured in Acting Teachers
of America: A Vital Tradition. Also a professional
actor, she has performed regionally at the
Hangar Theatre, A.C.T., California Shakespeare
Theater, and Berkeley Repertory Theatre; in New
York at Primary Stages and Soho Rep; and in
England at the Barbican Theatre in London and
Birmingham Rep in Birmingham. Smith holds a
B.A. from Yale College and an M.F.A. in acting
from Yale School of Drama.
C A R E Y P E R L O F F (A.C.T. Artistic Director)
recently celebrated her 23rd year as artistic
director of A.C.T., where she most recently directed
Monstress, Testament, Indian Ink (in association
with Roundabout Theatre Company), Underneath
the Lintel, Arcadia, Elektra (co-produced by
the Getty Villa in Malibu), Endgame and Play,
Scorched, The Homecoming, and Tosca Café
(co-created with choreographer Val Caniparoli;
toured Canada), and Racine’s Phèdre in a
coproduction with the Stratford Shakespeare
Festival. Known for directing innovative
productions of classics and championing new
writing for the theater, Perloff has also directed
for A.C.T. the American premieres of Stoppard’s
The Invention of Love and Indian Ink and Harold
Pinter’s Celebration; world premieres of A.C.T.–
commissioned translations/adaptations of
Phèdre, Hecuba, The Misanthrope, Enrico IV, Mary
Stuart, Uncle Vanya, A Mother, and The Voysey
Inheritance; major revivals of numerous classic
plays; and premieres of several new works,
including her own play The Colossus of Rhodes.
Perloff is also the author of Kinship, Luminescence
Dating, Waiting for the Flood, and Higher, which
won the 2011 Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation
Theatre Visions Fund Award and received its
world premiere in February 2012 in San Francisco.
Before joining A.C.T., Perloff was artistic director
of Classic Stage Company, which won a 1988 OBIE
Award for artistic excellence under her leadership.
A recipient of France’s Chevalier de l’Ordre des
Arts et des Lettres and the National Corporate
Theatre Fund’s 2007 Artistic Achievement Award,
Perloff graduated from Stanford University and
was a Fulbright Fellow at Oxford. She was on the
faculty of the Tisch School of the Arts at New York
University for seven years.
A C T - S F. O R G /M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M
NANCY BENJAMIN (Co-Head of Voice and
Dialects) divides her time between A.C.T. and the
Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada, where
she has been a voice, text, and dialect coach since
2000. She was a resident voice, text, and dialect
director for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in
Ashland for seven seasons. Benjamin has taught
and coached productions for numerous theaters
and training programs throughout the United
States and Canada, and at the National Theatre
School and Theatre ZaKeum in Zagreb, Croatia. She
was head of voice for the actor training program at
Illinois State University (1992–95). Benjamin holds
an M.F.A. in directing from Illinois State University
and an advanced diploma in voice studies from
Central School of Speech and Drama (London).
S T E P H E N B U E S C H E R (Head of Movement
and Physical Theater) is an actor, director, and
teacher who has taught physical theater in
various master’s programs, including Brown
University/Trinity Rep Consortium, Yale School
of Drama, the University of Connecticut, and the
University of Missouri-Kansas City. He has choreographed and coached movement for various
theaters, including A.C.T., Trinity Rep, Long Wharf
Theatre, and The Providence Black Repertory
Company. Buescher has performed nationally
and internationally with the Dell’Arte Company
and is a cofounder of Workhorse, an ensemblebased company. He is a recipient of TCG’s New
Generations Program grant and has served on the
board of the Network of Ensemble Theaters and
Trash Mash-Up. He is a graduate of The Dell’Arte
International School of Physical Theatre and
California Institute of the Arts.
J E F F R E Y C R O C K E T T (Head of Voice) has
been the primary voice teacher in the M.F.A.
Program since 1995. Other teaching includes:
Accademia Nazionale d’Arte Drammatica “Silvio
D’Amico” (Rome); Prima del Teatro, San Miniato,
Italy; Chautauqua Theater Company; Classic
Stage Company; DePaul University; California
State University, Fullerton; Stanford University;
and the Esalen Institute. He was resident voice
coach at the Children’s Theatre in Minneapolis
(1990–92) and has also coached at Theatre de la
Jeune Lune, Mixed Blood, Theatre Manoeuvres
(London), Berkeley Repertory Theatre, California
Shakespeare Theater, Word for Word, and Shotgun
Players. He earned an advanced diploma in voice
studies with distinction from Central School of
Speech and Drama (London) and is a certified
Alexander Technique teacher and practitioner of
Middendorf Breathwork. He has a private practice
in San Francisco and Rome.
M I C H A E L P A L L E R (Dramaturg) joined
A.C.T. as resident dramaturg and director of
humanities in August 2005. He began his
professional career as literary manager at Center
Repertory Theatre (Cleveland), then worked as a
play reader and script consultant for Manhattan
Theatre Club, and has since been a dramaturg for
George Street Playhouse, the Berkshire Theatre
Festival, Barrington Stage Company, Long Wharf
Theatre, Roundabout Theatre Company, and
others. He dramaturged the Russian premiere
of Tennessee Williams’s Small Craft Warnings at
the Sovremennik Theater in Moscow. Paller is the
author of Gentlemen Callers: Tennessee Williams,
Homosexuality, and Mid-Twentieth-Century Drama
(Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) and Williams in an
Hour (Smith & Kraus 2010); he has also written
theater and book reviews for the Washington Post,
Village Voice, Newsday, and Mirabella magazine.
He recently adapted the text for the San Francisco
Symphony’s multimedia presentation of Peer
Gynt. Before his arrival at A.C.T., he taught at
Columbia University and the State University
of New York at Purchase. Since then, he’s
dramaturged over 50 productions and workshops.
L I S A A N N E P O R T E R (Co-Head of Voice
and Dialects) has served on the faculties of UC
Berkeley, UC Davis, Shakespeare & Company, The
Tepper Center (New York City), Naropa University,
A C T - S F. O R G /M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M
California Shakespeare Theater, and Berkeley
Repertory Theatre. She was associate professor
of voice/acting/text in the B.F.A. program at
Syracuse University (2001–06), where in her first
year teaching, she was awarded the Most Inspirational Faculty Award. She has coached voice and
dialect in more than 60 productions nationwide.
As a professional actor, she has performed with
numerous repertory companies and Shakespeare
festivals throughout the country. Porter has an
M.F.A. in acting from A.C.T., a B.A. in theater and
American studies from Wesleyan University, and
is certified in Linklater voice training.
DOMENIQUE LOZANO is a resident artist with
A.C.T., where she directs the main stage production
of A Christmas Carol, as well as being a core faculty
member in the M.F.A. Program, and a teacher in the
Young Conservatory and Studio A.C.T. Programs.
Projects with the M.F.A. include Sueño, Happy to
Stand, Saved, References to Salvador Dali Make
Me Hot, Richard III; the Will on Wheels touring
productions of Twelfth Night, Othello, and The
Comedy of Errors; and nine graduate showcases.
Recent YC projects include Jodie Marshall’s A
Stone’s Throw, with the Aberdeen International
Youth Festival and the world premieres of Staying
Wild, Homefront, and Korczak’s Children. She
also wrote a new translation of Brecht’s The
Caucasian Chalk Circle, which premiered at A.C.T.
in 2010. Acting credits include work with California
Shakespeare Theater (artistic associate), A.C.T.,
Berkeley Repertory Theatre, San Jose Repertory
Theatre, San Jose Stage Company, and the Oregon
Shakespeare Festival.
C R A I G S L A I G H T (Young Conservatory
Director) joined A.C.T. in 1988 and has since
taught in all of the conservatory programs
and served as a resident director on the A.C.T.
mainstage and as a member of the artistic
team. Slaight began the Young Conservatory’s
New Plays Program in 1989 with the mission
to develop plays by outstanding professional
playwrights who view the world through the
eyes of the young. This program was expanded
in 2008 to include the development of new work
featuring both young actors and M.F.A. Program
actors in coproductions. To date, more than
35 new plays by leading American and British
playwrights have been developed and produced.
Before coming to A.C.T., Slaight was an awardwinning professional director in Los Angeles.
N I C K G A B R I E L (Studio A.C.T. Director) is
a Sadler Award–winning graduate of the A.C.T.
Master of Fine Arts Program. He is Resident Artist
at A.C.T., where he has appeared in Scorched,
Endgame (opposite Bill Irwin), Arcadia, Good
Breeding, Napoli!, The Orphan of Zhao, and Once
in a Lifetime. He has also played principal roles
in major productions at the Milwaukee Repertory
Theater, Capital Repertory Theatre, Brooklyn
Lyceum, California Shakespeare Theater, New
York’s Town Hall, Saratoga Performing Arts
Center (SPAC), South Coast Repertory Theatre,
Shakespeare Santa Cruz, La Jolla Playhouse, and
elsewhere. Gabriel is the Director of Studio A.C.T.
and serves on the faculties of the A.C.T. Master
of Fine Arts program, San Francisco Semester,
Summer Training Congress, Young Conservatory,
and ACTsmart education and outreach program.
He received his undergraduate degree in musical
theater from the University of Michigan and is a
Ten Chimneys Foundation Lunt-Fontanne Fellow.
A N T H O N Y F U S C O has appeared at
A.C.T. in Dead Metaphor, Elektra, Play, Race,
The Homecoming, Clybourne Park, Round and
Round the Garden, The Caucasian Chalk Circle,
November, Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo,
War Music, Rock ‘n’ Roll, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore,
The Government Inspector, The Rainmaker, The
Imaginary Invalid, Hedda Gabler, Travesties, The
Rivals, The Voysey Inheritance, The Gamester,
A Mother, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, The Three
Sisters, Night and Day, The Room and Celebration,
Enrico IV, The Misanthrope, Edward II, and A
Christmas Carol. Other Bay Area credits include
leading roles in Blithe Spirit, Candida, King
Lear, The Tempest, The Importance of Being
Earnest, Arms and the Man, A Midsummer Night’s
Dream, and The Skin of Our Teeth for California
Shakespeare Theater; My Old Lady at Marin
Theatre Company; and Traveling Jewish Theatre’s
production of The Chosen. On Broadway, he was
in Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing (with Caroline
Lagerfelt) and The Real Inspector Hound. Fusco’s
many off-Broadway credits include The Holy
Terror, Cantorial, Danton’s Death, and A Life in
the Theatre. He trained at Juilliard and The Barrow
Group School.
K A R I P R I N D L (Alexander Technique) grew
up around the world before graduating from
Oberlin College with a degree in English with a
concentration in theater. At Oberlin, she also took
cello lessons at the conservatory and was extensively involved with the dance department. After
college, she moved to San Francisco and trained
with Frank Ottiwell at the Alexander Training
Institute of San Francisco. Since her certification
in 1992, Prindl has maintained a private practice
in San Francisco and has taught at various institutions across the country, including San Francisco
State University, San Francisco Conservatory of
Music, the Community Music Center, and Henderson State University in Arkansas, as well as
in A.C.T.’s Young Conservatory, Summer Training
Congress, and M.F.A. Program.
E L Y S E S H A F A R M A N (Alexander Technique)
holds a B.A. in Dance, an M.A. in Physiological
Psychology, and Alexander Technique teacher
certification from Frank Ottiwell. She is also on the
faculty of the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre and
maintains a private Alexander Technique practice
in San Francisco and Berkeley. Her approach to
teaching is influenced by her keen interest in the
mind-body connection for both artistic expression
and health. Ms. Shafarman is currently completing
a 200-hour level certification to teach Vinyasa Yoga
and blogs frequently about Alexander Technique,
Argentine Tango, and psychophysiology.
JACK F. SHARRAR (Director of Academic Affairs/
Theater History/Accreditation Liaison Officer)
received A.C.T.’s Managing Director’s Award. He
has served as a theater panelist for the National
Foundation for Advancement of the Arts and is a
member of Actors’ Equity and the Screen Actors
Guild. His credits include roles at Michigan
Repertory Theater, Mountainside Theater, the
BoarsHead Theatre, Theatre 40, Pioneer Theatre
Company, A.C.T. (studio), numerous media roles,
and direction of more than 50 plays and musicals.
He is author of Avery Hopwood: His Life and Plays
(UMI); editor of Avery Hopwood’s unpublished
novel, The Great Bordello: A Story of the Theatre
(Mondial); contributor to the American National
Biography (Oxford) and The Gay and Lesbian
Theatrical Heritage (UMI); coeditor (with Craig
Slaight) of numerous scene and monologue
books for young actors (Smith & Kraus); adapter
of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Debutante, Hopwood’s
Fair and Warmer (Playscripts); and author of
an original play, Up in Avery’s Room (Theatre
Rhinoceros). His Better Angels, from the Civil War
writings of Louisa May Alcott and Walt Whitman,
was performed in A.C.T.’s Sky Festival. He is a
graduate of the University of Michigan and holds
a Ph.D. in theater history and dramatic literature
from the University of Utah.
THIS PAGE FROM TOP Anthony Fusco in the studio (photo by Kevin Berne); Associate Artist Nick Gabriel, class of ’10, in class with students from San Francisco’s
Downtown High School; Domenique Lozano working with students (photo by Kevin Berne). All photos by Alessandra Mello, unless otherwise indicated.
A C T - S F. O R G /M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M
A . C .T.’ S
Elizabeth Banks, class of ’96
Denzel Washington and
Anika Noni Rose
PR O M I N E N T A .C .T. A L U M N I
Celebrated alumni of A.C.T.’s training programs
include Elizabeth Banks, Annette Bening,
Carlos Bernard, Benjamin Bratt, Nicolas Cage,
Christopher Fitzgerald, Danny Glover, Harry
Hamlin, Teri Hatcher, Amy Irving, Delroy Lindo,
Camryn Manheim, Omar Metwally, Anika Noni
Rose, Winona Ryder, Anna Deavere Smith,
Milo Ventimiglia, Denzel Washington, and
Sharr White. A.C.T. has also trained such rising
talents as Heidi Armbruster (Time Stands Still on
Broadway), Steven W. Bailey (Grey’s Anatomy),
Daniel Beaty (Emergence-SEE! at The Public
Theater), Anna Belknap (CSI: NY), Neil Hopkins
(Lost, Big Love), Darren Criss (Glee and How to
Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on
Broadway), Christopher Fitzgerald (Wicked and
Young Frankenstein on Broadway), and Morgan
Spector (A View from the Bridge on Broadway and
the national tour of The Lion King).
A.C.T. is a vital talent resource for professional
theaters, theatrical agents, and film and
television casting directors—and A.C.T. graduates
grace stages and screens all over the world.
Current M.F.A. Program actors also connect with
and learn from alumni through A.C.T.’s annual
alumni events in New York and Los Angeles.
Recent acting, writing, and directing credits of
A.C.T. alumni include work on these productions
and with these companies:
T H E A T E R The 25th Annual Putnam County
Spelling Bee (national tour) • The 39 Steps
(Broadway and national tour) • Actors Theatre of
Louisville • The Ahmanson Theatre • American
Conservatory Theater • Antaeus Theatre • Arena
Stage • Arizona Theatre Company • Artists
Repertory Theatre • Asian American Theater
Asolo Repertory Theater • Atlantic Theatre
Company • Aurora Theatre Company • B Street
Theatre • Barrington Stage Company • Bay Street
Theatre • Berkeley Repertory Theatre • Berkshire
Theater Festival • California Shakespeare
Theater • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Broadway) •
Center REPetory Company • Chautauqua Theater
Company • Chicago Muse Theater • Chinglish
(Broadway) • City Theater • The Classical Theatre
of Harlem • Cyrano de Bergerac (Broadway)
Dallas Theater Center • Delaware Theatre
Company • Denver Center for the Performing Arts
Disney’s The Lion King (national tour) • East West
Players • Emergence-SEE! (tour and off-Broadway)
Ensemble Studio Theater • Eugene O’Neill Theater
Center • The Farnsworth Invention (Broadway)
Fences (Broadway) • Finian’s Rainbow (Broadway)
Frost/Nixon (Broadway and national tour) • Geffen
Playhouse • Godspell (Broadway) • Goodman
Theatre • The Guthrie Theater • How to Succeed
in Business Without Really Trying (Broadway)
Humana Festival of New American Plays
Huntington Theatre Company • Indiana Repertory
Theatre • Jersey Boys (Broadway) • Killing My
Lobster • La Jolla Playhouse • Les Liaisons
Dangereuses (Broadway) • Lincoln Center • The
Little Dog Laughed (Broadway) • Magic Theater
Malibu Stage Company • Mamma Mia! (Broadway)
Manhattan Theatre Club • Marin Theatre Company
The Merchant of Venice (Broadway) • Mint
Theater Company • MUSE Theater Company •
New York City Center • Encores! • A Noise Within
North Coast Repertory Theater • The Old Globe
Oregon Shakespeare Festival • The Other Place
(Broadway) • Pacific Repertory Theatre • Paper
Mill Playhouse • Passing Strange (Broadway)
Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival • PS 122 • The
Public Theater • Roundabout Theatre Company
The Royal Family (Broadway) • Royal Shakespeare
Company (Stratford-upon-Avon) • Russian
Transport (Off Broadway) • Sacramento Theatre
Company • San Francisco Shakespeare Festival
San Jose Repertory Theatre • Seattle Repertory
Theatre • Shakespeare Santa Cruz • Shakespeare
Theatre Company (Washington, D.C.) • Shotgun
Players • Shrek the Musical (Broadway) • The Snow
Geese (Broadway) • SOUL PROductions (New York/
student-founded) • South Coast Repertory Theatre
A C T - S F. O R G /M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M
Stratford Shakespeare Festival • Sundance
Director’s Lab • Target Marin Theater • Theatre
for a New Audience • A View from the Bridge
(Broadway) • War Horse (Broadway and national
tour) • West Side Story (Broadway) • Williamstown
Theatre Festival • Wilma Theatre Yale Repertory
Theatre • Young Frankenstein (Broadway)
F I L M 14 Women • Across the Universe American
Gangster • Avatar • The City of Your Final Destination
Dirty Tricks • Drag Me to Hell Dreamgirls • Fred
Claus • The Hunger Games Indiana Jones and the
Kingdom of the Crystal Skull • In the Electric Mist
Inception • Invincible • The Kids Are All Right • La
Mission • The Last Airbender • Love in the Time
of Cholera • Man on a Ledge • Michael Clayton
Munich • Neal Cassady • The Next Three Days •
Our Idiot Brother Padre Nuestro (2007 Sundance
Grand Jury Prize) People Like Us • Poor Things •
The Princess and the Frog • Rendition • Righteous
Kill Running with Scissors • SALT • Spider-Man 3 •
Star Trek • The Tempest (directed by Julie Taymor) •
Twilight: Breaking Dawn • The Uninvited • Viva Los
Bastarditos! (New York International Film Festival)
W • What to Expect When You’re Expecting • Zack
and Miri Make a Porno
PREVIOUS PAGE (FROM TOP) Elizabeth Banks, class of ’96, The Hunger Games (photo courtesy Lionsgate); Denzel Washington
and Anika Noni Rose, class of ‘98, in A Raisin in the Sun (photo by Bridgette Lacombe).
THIS PAGE (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT) Annette Bening, class of ’82,in King Lear (photo by Joan Marcus); Christina Elmore, class
of ‘12, with a shipmate in The Last Ship (photo courtesy TNT); Lateefah Holder, class of ‘14, in Getting On (photo courtesy HBO);
Jacob Ming-Trent, class of ‘03, in Father Comes Home from the Wars (photo by Evgenia Eliseeva/A.R.T.); Morgan Spector, class of
‘06, in Russian Transport (photo by Monique Carboni).
NEXT PAGE (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT) Rebekah Brockman (left), class of ’13, with Michael Patrick Thornton in Our Town at
Actors Theater of Louisville (photo by Bill Brymer); Heidi Armbruster, class of ’02, with Aasif Mandvi in Disgraced (photo by Sara
Krulwich/The New York Times); Alex Morf (left), class of ‘08, with Ron Cephas Jones in Broadway’s Of Mice and Men (photo by
Bruce Glikas/ ); Darby Stanchfield, class of ’98, in Scandal (photo by Danny Feld/ABC); Christopher Fitzgerald
(left), class of ‘97, with Jim Parsons in An Act of God (photo by Jeremy Daniel/Polk & Company via AP).
Annette Bening, class of ’82
Christina Elmore, class of ’12
Lateefah Holder,
class of ’14
Morgan Spector,
class of ’06
Jacob Ming-Trent (center),
class of ’03
T E L E V I S I O N 2 Broke Girls • 12 Miles of Bad
Road • 24 • 30 Rock • American Dad! • As the World
Turns • The Big C • Breakout Kings • Brothers
& Sisters • The Cleaner • Close to Home • Cash
Criminal Minds CSI: Crime Scene Investigation • CSI:
Miami • CSI: NY • Desperate Housewives • Dexter
Dirty Sexy Money • Family Guy • Fringe • Getting On
Ghost Whisperer • The Good Wife • Gossip Girl
Grey’s Anatomy • Grimm Guiding Light • Hannah
Montana • Hawaii Five-O • Heroes • Jericho
Kidnapped • The King of Queens • Law & Order
Law & Order: Criminal Intent • Law & Order: SVU
Lie to Me • Lost • Mad Men • Medium • The
Mentalist • Modern Family • My Name is Earl • Nip/
Tuck • The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency • Nurse
Jackie • Person of Interest • Private Practice • Rescue
Me • Scrubs • Shark • The Starter Wife • Three Rivers
Trauma • True Blood • The Unit • Veronica Mars
Heidi Armbruster (left),
class of ’02
Rebekah Brockman (left), class of ’13
Alex Morf (left), class of ’08
Christopher Fitzgerald (left),
class of ’97
Darby Stanchfield,
class of ’98
A C T - S F. O R G /M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M
JA N UA R Y 8, 2 016
F E BRUA R Y 11 , 2 016
E NROL L ME N T I N T H E M . F. A .
P R O G R A M is by audition and interview only.
Applicants must be high school graduates or
equivalent. Applicants who hold a bachelor’s
degree from an accredited college or university
are eligible to receive a master of fine arts degree
in acting upon successful completion of the three
years of training. Applicants who do not hold an
accredited bachelor’s degree receive a certificate
in acting upon successful completion of the three
years of training.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP (L TO R) The class of ‘17 performing
during M.F.A. Variety (photo by Ryan Montgomery); Blair
Busbee, class of ‘14, with Matthew Baldiga, class of ‘16, in Teach
for America; Dominique Salerno, class of ‘15, in dis• til• la• tion. All
photos by Alessandra Mello, unless otherwise noted.
For the class of 2018, approximately 12
students will be selected. Approximately
90% of admitted first-year students receive
some form of financial aid.
A U D I T I O N S A.C.T. holds auditions for the
M.F.A. Program each year during January and
February. Auditions are held in New York, Chicago,
and San Francisco. Final callback auditions for
qualified applicants are subsequently held in San
Francisco, with transportation and accommodation for callbacks provided by A.C.T.
New York City Jan 29–31, 2016
San Francisco Feb 6, 2016 (Bay Area residents)
Chicago Feb 9–10, 2016
San Francisco Feb 13–14, 2016 (non–Bay Area residents)
Callbacks in San Francisco Feb 26–29, 2016
Applicants must prepare two audition selections
that provide a contrast in mood and tone (one
from a classical verse play and one from a
contemporary play). Sonnets, poems, songs, and
other nondramatic materials are not acceptable.
Please limit selections to a total of four minutes
to allow time for an interview.
A C T - S F. O R G /M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M
R E Q U I R E M E N T S The master of fine arts
in acting degree may be conferred upon a
student who holds a bachelor’s degree from
an accredited college and who successfully
completes the three consecutive years of training.
R E Q U I R E M E N T S The certificate in acting
is awarded to students who do not hold a
degree from an accredited college, but who
successfully complete the three-year M.F.A.
Program. Applicants for the certificate in acting
must have graduated from high school prior to
September 1, 2012. The admission requirements
and training for the certificate are identical
to those for the M.F.A. degree. A student who
receives a bachelor’s degree after being awarded
the certificate in acting may have the certificate
converted into an M.F.A. degree upon submission
of a certified transcript from the accredited
institution awarding the baccalaureate. For
gainful employment details about the certificate
program, please visit the M.F.A. Program’s
“General Information” and “Student Right to
Know”pages at
All applicants must submit:
A completed application form (download the
application forms online at
A nonrefundable, nonwaivable application
fee in the form of a cashier’s check or money
order payable to American Conservatory
Theater in the amount of $90
A current résumé listing previous theater
training and experience
One head-and-shoulder, full-face
photograph (8" x 10" is best, but a 5" x 7"
snapshot is acceptable)
Two current confidential letters of recommendation, which may either accompany the
application or be submitted separately
Official transcripts of all college work if the
applicant has attended college, or proof of
high school graduation or equivalent if the
applicant has not attended college
An essay (no longer than one typewritten
page) describing why the applicant is
pursuing a career in theater
Upon receipt of the above materials, the
applicant will be mailed an acknowledgment
from the office of academic affairs. The applicant
will be notified at the first opportunity of his or
her audition date, time, and place. Applicants
are strongly encouraged to submit all application
materials in one packet, if possible.
Students who applied to A.C.T. last year but were
not offered admission or who declined an offer of
admission must submit a new application form
with the application fee, an updated résumé, and
one current letter of recommendation. Admission
files are maintained for one year, and materials
originally submitted will be reactivated upon
reapplication. Another audition and interview
will be required. Students who applied more
than one year ago must submit all new materials.
A student who withdraws or is dismissed must
audition again for readmission. Readmission may
occur only at the beginning of the school year.
T U I T I O N A N D F E E S * Tuition for the
2015–16 school year is $26,750. Each Master
of Fine Arts Program student who matriculates
during or after fall 2015 will be cast in one (1)
A.C.T. professional production in his or her
third year of the program, either onstage or as
an understudy, for which he or she will receive
compensation in accordance with the theneffective contract between A.C.T. and Actors’
Equity Association (AEA). Such compensation
does not include AEA initiation fees or dues, for
which the student will be solely and individually
responsible. In addition, students may also
be cast under A.C.T.’s concession agreement
with AEA, for which there is no monetary
compensation. Students are responsible for
full tuition for each of their three years. Tuition
and fees are due and payable at the beginning
of each semester. A $40 fee will be assessed
for late payment. Deferred payment plans may
be arranged at A.C.T.’s discretion. Students are
required to return a deposit of $500, applicable
to tuition, with the letter of acceptance. Fees
are as follows: first year: a Cultural Landscape
course fee of $300 is collected for tickets to Bay
Area arts programs, and a Stage Makeup course
fee of $155 is collected for materials. A $25
library fee is collected from all students each
semester of each school year.
*T he costs of tuition and fees are established annually and are subject to change.
A F I N A L W O R D The work undertaken in
the M.F.A. Program is intense. It is designed to
stretch students emotionally, physically, and
intellectually. Students who are thinking about
applying for the program should consider their
preparedness before making a commitment. The
curriculum includes a wide range of physical
activity, and students are expected to enroll in the
program in good health. Each entering student is
required to have had a complete medical checkup
prior to admission and must submit a recent
certificate of good health from his or her physician
when returning the enrollment agreement.
A C T - S F. O R G /M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M
“The STC is an opportunity for actors who want to
deepen their knowledge and technique at one of the
best acting schools in the country, and also for those
who want to experience a taste of what a graduate
program in acting might be like.”
O M A R M E T W A L LY, STC and M.F.A. Program alumnus and
Tony Award–nominated actor (Sixteen Wounded, Rendition,
Munich, Amsterdam, and Twilight: Breaking Dawn)
THIS PAGE (FROM LEFT) Students in class; Omar Metwally, class of ’97 (photo by
Mario Anzuoni/Reuters). NEXT PAGE (FROM TOP) STC Director Chris Herold teaching
a class; student in class. All photos by Ryan Montgomery, unless otherwise
Omar Metwally, class of ’97
A C T - S F. O R G /M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M
T H E A .C .T. S U M M E R T R A I N I N G
C O N G R E S S (STC) This competitive program
offers intensive professional actor training to
students age 19 and older with some prior theater
training or experience. Every year the STC attracts
hundreds of applicants from throughout the
United States and various foreign countries. The
STC offers both intermediate actors and moreseasoned performers an opportunity to take their
training to the next level; many STC students later
pursue graduate degree programs in acting or
begin their professional careers.
play for the five-week session or from a classical
piece for the two-week intensive. Sonnets,
poems, and other nondramatic materials are not
acceptable. Please limit selection to no more
than two minutes.
Each summer the STC curriculum includes a
five-week session, focusing on contemporary
acting, and a two-week Shakespeare intensive.
The two sessions may be attended together or
separately. STC sessions generally take place
from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday,
and culminate in class presentations for fellow
students, faculty, and staff. The STC teaching
staff consists of members of our regular conservatory faculty and core acting company, as
well as distinguished guests. All instructors are
theater professionals.
C R E D I T S 5-Week Curriculum: 303 Acting
Technique 3.0 credits; 313 Movement 1.0 credit;
323 Voice and Speech Dynamics 1.0 credit; 5.0
credits total. 2-Week Curriculum: 373 Classical
Acting 2.0 credits; 2.0 credits total.
P L A C E M E N T I N T E R V I E W S Interviews are
held during registration week in order to place
each student in an appropriate “company” of
classmates. Applicants who are accepted must
prepare one monologue from a contemporary
C U R R I C U L U M Upon satisfactory completion
of the STC, students receive undergraduate
credit. To receive full credit, students must
complete the entire curriculum of their chosen
session, including the final presentation. Go to for complete course listings.
F E E S $2,750 for the 5-week session; $1,150 for
the two-week Shakespeare intensive; and both
sessions for $3,250.
H O W T O A P P L Y Applications for the Summer
2015 session are due May 20, 2016. Students who
are applying for scholarships must complete their
admission and scholarship applications by
April 15, 2016. Please visit
stc for
complete application information and deadlines.
A C T - S F. O R G /M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M
E X P E R I E N C E A T A . C .T.
Are you ready for an artistic, intellectual, and personal transformation?
Embark on a study away program at one of the country’s most acclaimed
professional theater companies—in the heart of one of the world’s most
culturally vibrant and diverse cities.
A C T - S F. O R G /M F A | M A S T E R O F F I N E A R T S P R O G R A M
Grounded in a rich academic curriculum, this
dynamic program brings young theater artists
into an active, ongoing engagement with
the eclectic and energetic arts community of
San Francisco and the Bay Area. Surrounded
by some of the most creative and ambitious
theater students in the country, you’ll expand
your understanding of performance as you
define yourself as an artist. In the classroom
and at venues across the Bay Area, you’ll
explore theater from a multitude of angles—
from the page to the stage, as viewer and
performer, across a variety of artistic genres.
Through inspiring, experiential courses and
wide-ranging artistic encounters, the San
Francisco Semester will pull you into thrilling
conversations about theater as an ever-evolving
art form. Study in a professional setting while
coming face to face with some of the boldest
productions anywhere. From theater, opera,
dance, and symphony performances, to museum
and music club outings, you’ll view and discuss
a broad spectrum of cultural experiences.
By the end of the semester, you’ll know San
Francisco like a local insider—not a tourist. As
you immerse yourself in one of the country’s
most thrilling cultural centers, you’ll expand
your understanding of what theater can be.
Students will also have opportunities to interact
with Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) Program actors
while watching performances at A.C.T. and across
San Francisco, observing rehearsals and performances, and attending workshops and readings.
C U R R I C U L U M The 15-week program
features a 17-credit core curriculum, which
includes coursework in acting styles, physical
theater, voice/dialects, cultural landscapes,
and creating original work. The curriculum
will be enhanced by numerous master classes
with visiting artists, as well as meetings
with professional directors, playwrights,
designers, stage managers, and producers.
E L I G I B I L I T Y Theater majors in their
junior or senior year of college; theater minors
and second-term sophomores with special
recommendations from theater faculty;
recent college graduates (after September
1, 2012) with a theater major or minor.
F E E S $15,000 for tuition; $325 for
course fees; $50 application fee.
H O W T O A P P L Y Applications for the
Spring 2016 session are due November 1,
2015. Applications for the Fall 2016 session are
due May 1, 2016. Financial aid is available.
PREVIOUS PAGE (FROM TOP) A student in class (photo by
Jay Yamada); San Francisco’s Painted Ladies. THIS PAGE
(FROM TOP) A.C.T. students in class (photo by Jay Yamada); a
student performs in class (photo by Jay Yamada); the Golden
Gate Bridge.