Geary Theatre

ACT / American Conservatory Theater
(originally the Columbia Theatre)
415 Geary St., San Francisco, CA 94102

Opened in 1910, just four years after the devastating San Francisco earthquake of 1906 destroyed all of the city’s downtown performance halls,
the Geary Theater is the oldest theater in the “City by the Bay.” Originally known as the Columbia Theatre, the venue has played host to such notable
stars as Boris Karloff, Ethel Barrymore, Alfred Lunt and more recently, Sammy Davis Jr., Annette Bening and Olympia Dukakis. The Geary Theater since
1965 has been the home of the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.), which presents a variety of theatrical productions.

1995 reconstruction

The Geary Theater was an important step in San Francisco’s recovery from that 1906 quake, one of the worst natural disasters in United States history.
But the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake collapsed the Geary Theater’s proscenium arch and left a 2,000-square foot hole in the ceiling. Luckily, the disaster
occurred about two hours before the A.C.T. season opener and no one was hurt. After a $28.5 million restoration and seismic stabilization, the Geary reopened in 1996.

restored interior

A.C.T.'s founder's vision was for it to be both a theater company and acting school. The conservatory currently offers a wide range of classes and is
accredited to grant Master of Fine Arts degrees for actors. Its MFA program is extremely competitive, admitting only eight students per year among hundreds
who audition. It was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top five actor training programs in the U.S., along with schools like Carnegie Mellon,
Juilliard, Yale, and NYU. The current director of the conservatory is Melissa Smith.

Among the many notable alumni of the MFA program are Denzel Washington, Annette Bening, Benjamin Bratt, Carlos Bernard, Amy Irving, Wynn Harmon,
Elizabeth Banks, Anna Belknap, Dileep Rao, Marsha Mason, Danny Glover, Isiah Whitlock, Jr., Tom O'Brien, Anna Deavere Smith, Omar Metwally, Steven W. Bailey,
and Anika Noni Rose. In addition to the MFA program, ACT offers training through the Studio A.C.T., the Summer Training Congress, and Young Conservatory programs.
Alumni of these programs include Nicolas Cage, Teri Hatcher, Milo Ventimiglia, Winona Ryder, Camryn Manheim, Darren Criss, and Chris Pine.

Programs available from this theatre:

  • Cabalgata (1949)
  • Oklahoma! (National touring company/1952)
  • Antonio and the Ballets de Madrid (1964)

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