Student Matinees

Welcome Educators!

Click here to download and complete the Student Matinee order form.
Fax your completed order form to 415.749.2291 or mail it with payment to:

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

Call 415.439.2306.

Greetings! We are delighted to introduce A.C.T.’s 2016–17 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.

This season we celebrate A.C.T.’s 50th anniversary with a repertoire of timeless classics and bold new contemporary
work that will stretch your students’ imaginations while exploring potent issues of history, politics, science, and culture. Together we will examine the moral obligations of 21st-century monarchy in the neo-Shakespearean Broadway hit King Charles III; the intersection of war—both ancient and modern—and family in Peter Brook’s poetic Battlefield and Khaled Hosseini’s moving A Thousand Splendid Suns; the complex relationship between addiction and artistic genius in Robert Lepage’s kaleidoscopic Needles and Opium; the search for spiritual meaning in modern science in Tom Stoppard’s brilliantly witty The Hard Problem; the mysteries of haunted history in Annie Baker’s eerie John; and, of course, the joyous spirit of the holidays in Dickens’s literary masterpiece A Christmas Carol. In addition, A.C.T.’s acclaimed Master of Fine Arts Program will make its not-to-be-missed Shakespearean debut on the Strand mainstage in a rollicking production of the Bard’s debate- and laugh-provoking The Taming of the Shrew. This is a season you and your students simply must see!


Click here for directions to the theaters!

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


Written and Directed by Robert Lepage

Jazz legend Miles Davis travels to Europe in 1949 to discover the pleasures of Paris, unlock his creativity, and find his heroine in Juliette Gréco. At the same time, French filmmaker Jean Cocteau embarks on his own opium-fueled journey to New York. Individually, the stories are thrilling and heartbreaking, but what elevates this production is the extraordinary storytelling. Visionary Canadian director Robert Lepage mounts his set inside a vast suspended cube, with which he frames interlocking scenes from the different journeys. The result is not only a breathtaking dive into art and exile but also a spellbinding mix of stagecraft and visual storytelling. Depicts mature themes.


Apr 18, 2017, at 1 p.m.
A.C.T.'s Strand Theater

Written by Annie Baker
Directed by Ken Rus Schmoll

A haunting story that took off-Broadway by storm, John is the latest hit from American theater’s hottest new voice—2014 Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Baker (The Flick). Jenny and Elias show up at an old bed-and-breakfast in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—he wants to tour the historic battlegrounds; she wants to be left alone. But in the creaking house they find something unsettling. Is it the spirits of the Civil War dead? The smiling dolls that line the rooms? Or their curious landlady, Mertis, who switches their bedroom because “the Jackson Room can be a little temperamental”? A delicious nerve-jangler hailed as “a true masterpiece!” (Slate), this is a visceral ghost story with a millennial twist that will haunt the intimate Strand Theater. Contains adult language.


May 5, 2017 at 1 p.m.
A.C.T.'s Geary Theater

Based on The Mahabharata and the play by Jean-Claude Carrière
Adapted and Directed by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne

Following his stunning worldwide success with The Suit, which played to standing ovations and sold-out houses at A.C.T. in 2014, legendary director Peter Brook is back. Thirty years after Brook’s groundbreaking adaptation of the Indian epic The Mahabharata, the director has created an intimate new interpretation and staging of this timeless tale in perhaps his finest work. A newly crowned king surveys a postwar battlefield—his army has won him the crown, but at what price? Written almost 2,500 years ago, The Mahabharata’s magical story of finding tranquility in the midst of war and destruction has striking connections to modern times, and has inspired some of Brook’s most beautiful images and most transformative theatrical moments. “Like a zen master, Peter Brook refines and concentrates his theater ever more. He offers us a play that resembles a perfect and suspended movement, light as a breath” (Le Monde).

Master of Fine Arts Program Performances

Mar 6–17, 2017

Written by William Shakespeare

Our popular annual Shakespeare tour to schools continues in the 2016–17 season! If you would like information about availability for this year’s tour, please email

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 Director of Education Elizabeth Brodersen at 415.439.2475 or

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

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