For Teachers

For Teachers

"The entire ACTsmart experience supports, complements, and supplements what I do in the classroom. It has always been a terrific experience for my students, and the opportunity to see live, professional theater at A.C.T. and have a professional come into class is wonderful!"

Valerie O'Riordan
Archbishop, Riordan High School

One of the first theaters in the nation to offer low-cost performance tickets to school groups, A.C.T. has brought the power of live theater to hundreds of thousands of students and educators since our arrival in San Francisco in 1967. From our special school-audience Student Matinee (SMAT) performances, Will on Wheels touring productions of Shakespearean classics, in-depth Words on Plays study guides, and customized ACTsmart workshops to our deeply discounted Educator Subscriptions and acclaimed Back to the Source summer educator institute, A.C.T. offers a rich array of opportunities to connect you to the art of the theater, helping you bring the power of "play" into your classrooms, your lives, and the hearts and minds of your students.

Student Matinees

A.C.T.’s SMAT program—one of the oldest such programs in the United States—brings the highest-quality productions to your students, at very affordable prices. Only at A.C.T. can you experience theatrical storytelling in its most dynamic expression as we bring you large-scale, multidisciplinary interpretations of our culture's greatest classic and contemporary dramatic literature.

From epic dramatic spectacles in our 1,000-seat theater to up-close performances in our more intimate venues, we're committed to bringing you rich, thrilling productions that will engage your students and spark conversation in the classroom. Each teacher receives a complimentary copy of Words on Plays, our nationally acclaimed in-depth study guide, to help you help your students prepare for and reflect on the production they attend. In addition, each SMAT performance is followed by a SMAT Chat, during which the cast interacts with students during a brief Q&A session. To further enhance your students’ theatergoing experience, consider adding pre- and/or postshow ACTsmart workshops—see below for details.

Explore the student matinee season at A.C.T. and download an order form here.

If your group can't make it to a designated SMAT performance, discounted tickets may also be available for student groups at Wednesday matinee performances throughout the run of each mainstage production. Learn more.

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ACTsmart Workshops

A.C.T. offers innovative, customized workshops, led by master teaching artists and designed to enhance your students’ theatergoing experience. Whether you want to introduce your class to a play’s plot and characters in advance, connect its themes to your curriculum, or prompt discussion and debate after the show, we can create a workshop that addresses your particular classroom needs. Reasonably priced workshops ($75 per hour; discounted for Title I schools) are available for groups of up to 30 and take place in your school or at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater.

For more information and to schedule a workshop, email

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Words on Plays

A.C.T.’s in-depth study guide series offers insight into the plays, playwrights, and productions of the season. Each issue contains a synopsis, glossary, artist interviews, articles about historical and cultural context, questions for discussion or reflection, and a bibliography for the play—a wealth of resources for educators.

Teachers who bring students to a SMAT receive a complimentary copy of Words on Plays. Full- and partial-season subscriptions to Words on Plays, as well as individual issues, are available in a collectible print edition and in PDF format. 

Learn More

Will on Wheels

Each spring, actors in A.C.T.’s top-ranked Master of Fine Arts Program take an abridged (60–80 minutes) production of a Shakespearean classic, adapted and directed by a distinguished professional director and followed by a postshow Q&A with the cast, to Bay Area schools and public spaces. In 2014, we performed for more than 3,500 students at 22 sites around the city.

Previous shows include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, and Romeo and Juliet. To find out how to bring Will on Wheels to your school, email us at Spaces fill quickly, so contact us “swifter than arrow from the Tartar’s bow”!


This activity is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more at

Professional Development: Back to the Source


Launched in 2012 to great acclaim, Back to the Source is A.C.T.’s dynamic training program specially designed for teachers and teaching artists who use theatrical techniques in the classroom (or who want to learn how). Taught by A.C.T. professional artists, faculty from our conservatory, and leading arts educators, this comprehensive, intensive course is your chance to take creative risks, bring new insight to your classroom practice, and (re)ignite your passion for theater. Academic credit, CEUs, and scholarships are available. 

Learn more

“After completing A.C.T.’s Back to the Source program, I feel inspired, overwhelmed, refreshed, reinvigorated. I feel less alone. I learned so much about myself, about teaching, about learning, about life.”

Kim Taylor, Piedmont High School



Educator Subscriptions

Subscription Discount

We know how hard teachers and school administrators work—sometimes you may want to enjoy a night at the theater on your own or with a family member or friend. You can order up to two half-price subscriptions per valid educator ID: four-play packages start as low as $12 per play, any day of the week. As an A.C.T. subscriber, you also enjoy a wide variety of perks, including free ticket exchanges, exclusive restaurant discounts, pre- and postshow events (wine tasting!) and discussions, and much more. Learn more.

Rush Tickets

Beginning two hours before curtain, a limited number of discounted tickets are available to seniors (65+), educators, administrators, and full-time students. Valid ID required—limit one ticket per ID. Not valid for Premiere Orchestra seating. All rush tickets are subject to availability.

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