ACT’s first play was, as playwright Arthur Kopit described it, “a pseudoclassical tragifarce in the bastard French tradition.” Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feeling So Sad opened on June 29, 1965, filling a niche in the Seattle market. ACT (A Contemporary Theatre) founder Gregory Falls believed Seattle needed an alternative to the Seattle Repertory Theatre, which emphasized the classics. Seattle also needed a summer theater season. ACT immediately thrived on producing plays that addressed racial, political and cultural themes. This, they continue today. As they state, ACT is there, under artistic director Kurt Beattie and executive director Gian-Carlo Scandiuzzi, “serving a population of curious-open-minded and brave audiences.”
Their 2013 season highlights this, with a world premiere of Assisted Living by Katie Forgette and an American premiere of Sugar Daddies by Alan Ayckbourn (who also directed the show). Other recent productions at ACT In the Next Room, or the vibrator play by Sarah Ruhl, The Lieutenant of Inishmore by Martin McDonagh, Rock 'n' Roll by Tom Stoppard and The Underpants by Steve Martin.
ACT, with a history of engaging the community for over 40 years, does this with more than simply putting on award-winning productions on their stages at Kreielsheimer Place, downtown. Their Young Playwrights Program, ACT’s flagship education program, sends professional playwright teaching artists into area schools to teach the basics of playwritings to students. This culminates every March with the Young Playwrights Festival showcasing some of the best from their program, allowing select students to see their playwriting come to life with the help of professional theater artists.
For more information about the theater, its season and its programs, please visit www.acttheatre.org.