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 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 and MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/UnderdogThe 365 Plays/365 Days Project, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess) comes an explosively powerful and lyrical new play inspired by the Odyssey and set amid the American Civil War.

Hero’s master offers him a terrible choice: earn freedom by fighting for the Confederacy, or stay with the woman he loves and remain enslaved. Acclaimed as “funny and tragic, whimsical and lacerating, poetic and poignant” (The Hollywood Reporter), this haunting play fuses classical Greek drama, contemporary wordplay, and the soaring spirit of blues, belonging, heroism, and freedom. A mythic and music-infused journey of one man’s soul—and of a nation at war with itself—this “provocative, rich, and irreverently funny” (New York Post) new play reaffirms Parks as one of America’s most important voices.

Master of Fine Arts Program Performances

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 Fuente Ovejuna 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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