Student Matinees

Welcome, Educators!

Download the Student
Matinee order form

Fax your completed form
to 415.749.2291 or mail it to:

   A.C.T. Student Matinee  
   30 Grant Avenue
   San Francisco, CA 

Call 415.439.2306

Directions to the theaters

We are delighted to introduce A.C.T.’s 2017–18 Student Matinee (SMAT) Program.

Whether you’re new to A.C.T. or have made our productions a regular part of your school year for decades, we invite you and your students to experience our insightful, engaging, and transformative upcoming season. Read on for your exclusive opportunity to order advance tickets.

One of the first companies in the nation to offer low-cost performance tickets to schoolchildren, A.C.T. has brought the power of live theater to hundreds of thousands of students since the company’s arrival in San Francisco in 1967. Each year, our SMAT Program introduces the joy of theatrical storytelling to young audiences from all over the Bay Area and beyond, many of whom would not otherwise attend theater. Join us for the highest-quality productions and unique ACTsmart workshops customized for your students—all at very affordable prices. Only at A.C.T. can you experience theatrical storytelling in its most dynamic expression as we strive to bring you large-scale, multidisciplinary productions of our culture’s greatest classic and contemporary dramatic literature.

To kick off the 2017–18 season, Shakespeare returns to The Geary Theater with Hamlet, and John Douglas Thompson (Satchmo at the Waldorf) returns to A.C.T. to take on one of Shakespeare’s most complex and heartbreaking characters. Next we explore reflection and self-discovery at The Strand through Bess Wohl’s wickedly sharp Small Mouth Sounds, set during a weeklong not-so-silent retreat. And this December the Bay Area’s beloved holiday favorite, A Christmas Carol, returns to The Geary with humbug-busting Yuletide festivity.

We’ll start 2018 with the mysterious Pinter classic The Birthday Party at The Geary, and Qui Nguyen’s irreverent road-trip comedy Vietgone about three young Vietnamese immigrants who take an eye-opening journey across the bewildering and foreign landscape of 1970s America. In spring 2018, we’ll explore the polar magnetism of opposites attracting with Simon Stephens’s Heisenberg, and take a mythic journey through the American soul and our slave history with Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan Lori-Parks’s Father Comes Home from the Wars, a music-filled new play set against the backdrop of the American Civil War.

A.C.T.’s 2017–18 season is filled with big, bold, highly theatrical work that unites timeless classics with the most vigorous contemporary artists. This is a season you and your students simply must see!

Thank you for being such a vibrant and integral part of the A.C.T. community. See you at the theater!


Elizabeth Brodersen
Director of Education


Please review the play selections below. Student matinee performances sell out quickly, so act now to guarantee your seats at these prices.


A.C.T. Mainstage Productions

by Charles Dickens
Adapted by Carey Perloff and Paul Walsh
Music by Karl Lundeberg
Choreography by Val Caniparoli
Directed by Domenique Lozano
Based on the Original Direction by Carey Perloff

Dec 5, 2017 at 1 p.m.     
Dec 6, 2017
at 1 p.m.   
Dec 7, 2017
at 1 p.m.
A.C.T.'s Geary Theater

Grades 1–12

“A smash hit! Holiday traditions don't get any better.”
Stark Insider

“The best Christmas Carol ever . . . a guaranteed good time!”
Jan Wahl, KCBS AM & FM

Featuring a lively cast of dozens, gorgeous costumes, and those deliciously spooky ghosts, the Bay Area's favorite holiday tradition returns with a sparkling, music-infused production of A Christmas Carol. Bring your family, bring your friends, and check your “humbugs” at the door!

Running time: 2 hours, including a 15-minute intermission

by Harold Pinter
Featuring Marco Barricelli, Judith Ivey, and Scott Wentworth
Directed by Carey Perloff

Jan 19, 2018 at 1 p.m.
A.C.T.’s Geary Theater

Grades 8–12

In an undisturbed English seaside town, the inhabitants of a ramshackle boarding house react to the arrival of two unsettling strangers. Where do the mysterious Goldberg and McCann come from? Who sent them? And why do they keep asking about the sole boarder, piano player Stanley? As the party guests, including flighty Lula and flirty landlady Meg, gather for Stanley’s birthday, the desperate pianist is forced to confront a surreal interrogation. Seething with mystery, danger, and sudden humor, this is signature Pinter, a play of “tantalizing theatricality” (The New York Times).

by Simon Stephens
Directed by Hal Brooks

Mar 23, 2018 at 1 p.m.
A.C.T.’s Geary Theater

Grades 8–12

In a bustling London train station, free-spirited American Georgie unexpectedly kisses mid-70s British butcher Alex, and sets his world reeling. When she turns up in his shop a few days later, he is suspicious. Is she really attracted to him, or is there a longer con game on the cards? As Alex is drawn into Georgie’s anarchic world, his conventional life becomes chaotic, uncertain, and undeniably richer. In this “vibrant and emotionally charged” (The New York Times) new play, Tony Award–winning playwright Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) crafts a comedy that rethinks the polar magnetism of opposites attracting, as well as the conventions of modern-day playwriting. With its perfect collision of strangers and strangeness, Heisenberg was an electric hit on Broadway from one of theater’s most original voices.

by Qui Nguyen
Directed by Jaime Castañeda

Apr 18, 2018, at 1 p.m.
A.C.T.’s Strand Theater

Grades 8–12

A hit off Broadway and at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Vietgone is a modern twist on the classic story of boy meets girl. In this irreverent new comedy, three young Vietnamese immigrants leave a war-torn country for an eye-opening journey across the bewildering and foreign landscape of 1970s America. A vibrant mash-up of pop culture references, audacious dialogue, and an action-packed road trip that instantaneously moves from hilarity to heart-wrenching drama, Vietgone played to sold-out houses at 2016’s Oregon Shakespeare Festival and New York’s Manhattan Theatre Club. This sexy, sassy, freewheeling ride, backed by its hip-hop and Motown rhythms, will roll into The Strand in an all-new production.

by Suzan-Lori Parks
Directed by Elizabeth Diamond
A coproduction with Yale Repertory Theatre

May 4, 2018, at 1 p.m.
A.C.T.’s Geary Theater

Grades 8–12

From Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog) comes an explosively powerful and lyrical new play set against the backdrop of the American Civil War. In this epic take on the Odyssey, Southern slave Hero faces a terrible choice: to earn his freedom by fighting for the Confederacy alongside his master, or to stay home with the woman and family he loves but remain enslaved. This poignant and musical-infused journey mixes contemporary wit, folk ballads, and classical traditions to tell a timeless story of freedom, heroism, and belonging. By turns comic and heartbreaking, Father Comes Home from the Wars is a mythic journey through the American soul from one of our most accomplished contemporary playwrights.

Master of Fine Arts Program Performances

A.C.T.’s Master of Fine Arts Program presents

by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley
Directed by Nancy Benjamin

Thu, Nov 16 at 1 p.m.
The Rueff at A.C.T.’s Strand Theater
1127 Market Street

What would you do for love? Hide your feelings? Become someone else? Commit murder?

In this timeless tragedy of passion and betrayal, Beatrice spins an ever-deepening web of manipulation and lies—all in the pursuit of love. But how far is she willing to go to fulfil her deepest desires?

In The Changeling, love is beautiful—and deadly.


A.C.T.’s Master of Fine Arts Program presents

Written by Jeremy Cohen and Dipika Guha
Directed by Jeremy Cohen

Thu, Mar 1 at 1:30 p.m.
The Rueff at A.C.T.’s Strand Theater
1127 Market Street

San Francisco, 1973. Amid a crowd of men in suits and a psychiatrist in a Nixon mask, 10-year-old Peter witnesses a landmark moment in gay rights and reaches out to grab the hand of Oakland boy Deshawn. Specially commissioned by A.C.T. and Z Space for the M.F.A. Program class of 2018, this is an epic story about love, queerness, and what we can’t help looking at.


A.C.T.’s Master of Fine Arts Program presents

by Lope de Vega
Directed by Domenique Lozano

Wed, May 9 at 1:30 p.m.*
The Rueff at A.C.T.’s Strand Theater
1127 Market Street

Resistance. Dishonor. Torture. Power. The citizens of Fuenteovejuna are fed up. Their commander is raping their women, and murdering anyone who stands in his way. In a small town caught between two armies, who can the citizens turn to except each other? An exploration of honor, morality, and leadership from Renaissance Spain’s most beloved playwright.

*This is a public performance accepting bookings from school groups


A.C.T.’s Master of Fine Arts Program presents

by Euripides
Directed by Stephen Buescher

Thu, May 10 at 1:30 p.m.*
The Costume Shop Theater
1117 Market Street

Don’t cross a Greek god, especially Dionysus. He might just whip the women of Thebes into a frenzy to get his own back. Pitting reason against desire and driven by duplicity, slander, and revenge, this is a tragedy of Greek proportions from one of western theater’s greatest playwrights.

*This is a public performance accepting bookings from school groups


Student Matinee Basic Information

  • Student matinees begin at 1 p.m. Following each performance there will be a brief, lively conversation between the cast and students (attendance is optional).
  • A.C.T. provides one complimentary ticket for every ten purchased tickets.
  • Teachers receive an electronic copy of Words on Plays, A.C.T.'s nationally acclaimed performance guide, approximately two weeks before each scheduled performance. Packed with fascinating articles and interviews, intriguing study questions, and essential background information, these guides are the perfect way to prepare your students to engage with the world of each play.
  • If the student matinee you request is sold out, orders may be placed on a waiting list. Waiting list orders will be confirmed at least two weeks before the performance. Payment must accompany waiting list orders but will not be processed unless your seats are confirmed.
  • Seating priority is based on receipt of full payment.
  • A.C.T. also offers affordable student-group rates for regular performances of these productions.


ACTsmart Workshops

A.C.T. also offers innovative workshops, led by master teaching artists, designed to enhance your student matinee experience. Whether you want to introduce your students to a play's plot and characters in advance, connect its themes to your classroom curriculum, or prompt discussion and debate after the show, we can create a workshop that addresses your particular classroom needs. Reasonably priced workshops (discounted for Title I schools) are available for groups of up to 30 and can take place at an A.C.T. venue or in your school. 

For more information about workshops, contact School & Community Programs Coordinator Vince Amelio at 415.439.2450 or

Plays, artists, theaters, and schedules subject to change.

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