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 Qui Nguyen
Directed by Jaime Castañeda

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

Grades 8–12

Bold, vivid, and utterly fresh, Vietgone is an irreverent new comedy from one of American theater’s most innovative and lauded new playwrights. In this contemporary twist on the classic story of boy meets girl, three young Vietnamese immigrants leave their war-torn country for an eye-opening road trip across the bewildering and foreign landscape of 1970s America.

A vibrant mash-up of audacious language, pop-culture references, and kick-ass romance, Vietgone is an action-packed road trip that shifts gears instantaneously from hilarity to heart-wrenching drama.

Following sold-out houses at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and New York’s Manhattan Theatre Club, this sexy, sassy, freewheeling ride, backed by original hip-hop and Motown rhythms, will roll into The Strand in an all-new production this February.

by Simon Stephens
Directed by Hal Brooks
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.

*There is no designated SMAT performance of Heisenberg, but we are happy to coordinate school group attendance at any of our public performances where there is availability. Please email or call Elizabeth Halperin at 415.439.2306 to arrange a group booking.

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

Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by David Mendizábal

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

The next case on the docket in downtown Purgatory: God versus Judas Iscariot. Featuring a witness list that includes a hard-of-hearing Mother Teresa, a sarcastic Satan, and a hot-headed Sigmund Freud, this darkly comedic story from Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis explores faith and forgiveness in all its foul-mouthed, complicated glory.


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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