American Conservatory Theater

Fall-Winter 2005
Project Type
Full team
Project Focus
Strategic Planning
Organization Type
Arts & Culture


American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.), founded in 1965, is nationally recognized for its groundbreaking productions of classical works and bold explorations of contemporary playwriting. A.C.T. nurtures the art of live theater through dynamic productions, intensive actor training, and ongoing community outreach programs. A.C.T. reaches more than 270,000 people in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Project Objectives

ACT was commissioned to help A.C.T. formulate a long-range strategic and financial overview that integrated the organization’s goals and priorities with its financial capabilities. This would include specific action steps to move the organization toward achievement of the goals and priorities it already had identified in an earlier phase of strategic planning.

Project Overview

The ACT Team advised A.C.T.’s Board and senior management on strategic issues, developed key building blocks for updating A.C.T.’s strategic plan, and developed ideas for capitalizing on A.C.T.’s upcoming 40th anniversary season.

Key Recommendations

  • Extend current facility leases but retain future flexibility to purchase a building
  • Build a financial reserve and create parameters for using it
  • Increase Board and staff focus and capacity to improve fundraising results
  • Use a strategy tradeoff matrix to increase logic and permanence in decision-making
  • Build a stronger Board-staff partnership
  • Use A.C.T.’s 40th anniversary to increase ticket sales and contributions


Strategy tradeoff matrix: assessment tool used to increase logic and permanence in decision-making