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Jun 5, 2018

We are thrilled to announce that Jennifer Bielstein will join us as A.C.T.’s next executive director. Bielstein is currently the managing director of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and president of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT), an organization that represents 74 theaters nationwide.

“On behalf of the board of trustees, I am delighted to welcome Jennifer Bielstein as A.C.T.’s new executive director,” says A.C.T. Board of Trustees President Kay Yun. “Her passion and dedication to the arts make her one of the most respected and sought-after arts leaders in the country.”

As executive director, Bielstein will work closely with A.C.T.’s incoming artistic director, Pam MacKinnon. “I am thrilled Jennifer will be stepping into A.C.T. with me,” says MacKinnon. “Her knowledge of, commitment to, and passion for theater is unparalleled. I cannot wait!”

Bielstein is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, received an MBA from Bellarmine University, and attended Stanford's Graduate School of Business Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders in the Arts. During her time at Bellarmine, she received the MBA Faculty Merit Award and was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, the honor society for business programs.

In 2006, Bielstein moved to Louisville, Kentucky to become the managing director of Actors Theatre of Louisville. She also served on the boards of Theatre Forward, the Louisville Downtown Development Corporation, the Arts and Cultural Attractions Council, and Greater Louisville Inc., as well as the National Endowment for the Arts as a review panelist. After ten seasons with Actors Theatre of Louisville, Bielstein joined the Guthrie Theater as its managing director. Prior to relocating to Minneapolis, Bielstein worked in Chicago as the executive director of Writers Theatre and with many other organizations, including Steppenwolf Theatre Company, About Face Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Apple Tree Theatre, and the Lincoln Park Zoo. She also served on the board of the League of Chicago Theatres.

“A.C.T. could not have made a better choice,” says Joseph Haj, artistic director of the Guthrie Theater. “Jennifer is tireless, smart, collegial, and skilled.” Actors Theatre of Louisville Artistic Director Les Waters agrees: “Jennifer is one of the finest people working in the theater today. She is a consummate professional—dedicated, creative, and passionate about the art. I loved working with her at Actors Theatre of Louisville and look forward to the magnificent work that she and Pam will make at A.C.T.” 

During her distinguished career, Bielstein has received many awards, including the Pyramid Award of Excellence in Leadership from the Center for Nonprofit Excellence. She has been recognized as one of Louisville’sBusiness First’s 40 Under 40 and Today’s Woman magazine’s Most Admired Woman in the Arts. She was named by Twin Cities Business as a Person to Know in 2017, and by Minnesota Business magazine as a Real Power 50 member in 2018.

“I am honored for this opportunity to lead American Conservatory Theater alongside Pam MacKinnon,” says Bielstein. “I look forward to becoming a part of the San Francisco Bay Area community and working with the board of trustees, the staff, the artists, and all the theater’s stakeholders to build upon and expand A.C.T.’s impressive legacy.”