Founded in 1965, American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.), is a Tony Award-winning theater and training institution that nurtures the art of live theater through dynamic productions, intensive actor training, and an ongoing engagement with the community. A.C.T. provides young people and educators opportunities to experience the transformative potential of dramatic storytelling—developing creativity, critical thinking, and collaborative spirit while fostering the artists and audiences of the future.
Also dedicated to lifelong learning, A.C.T. enriches the lives of San Francisco’s diverse community members by providing access to the creative process, deepening their understanding of the power of “play” to underscore our common humanity. In addition to its performances, the A.C.T. conservatory serves 3,000 students each year and its Theater in School program serves more than 8,000 students per year. Many of the schools served through the Theater in Schools program have large populations of underserved low-income students with more than 50% of students eligible for free and reduced priced meals.
In February 2012, A.C.T. purchased the Strand Theater, a ±16,000 square foot historic cinema located in the Central Market neighborhood that has been vacant since 2003. A.C.T. plans to renovate the theater to include a 280-seat performing arts theater, a 120-seat black box theater, and a ground floor café. The theater will serve as a second stage venue for A.C.T. and will enable it to stage smaller productions as wells as provide a venue for smaller non-profit theater companies without theaters of their own. The theater will also enable A.C.T. to expand its educational programs to serve more low-income youth and families living in the Central Market and Tenderloin area.
Community Vision has provided a $6 million New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) allocation towards the purchase and renovation of the theater. Community Vision’s NMTC allocation will be combined with allocations from two other Community Development Entities – Clearinghouse CDFI and San Francisco Community Investment Fund – and an equity investment from U.S. Bank.
The renovation of the Strand Theater by A.C.T. is another welcomed addition to the redevelopment of San Francisco’s Central Market. Their outreach to low-income youths and families in the area solidifies their commitment to strengthening and revitalizing the local community.