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ACT Executive Director Ellen Richard to Depart

A key figure in the theatre’s recent expansion projects, the American Conservatory Theater leader will leave after five years in the post.

Ellen Richard
Ellen Richard

SAN FRANCISCO: American Conservatory Theater‘s executive director, Ellen Richard, has announced her departure from the Bay Area theatre this spring.

“I am very proud of what American Conservatory Theater has accomplished during my five-year tenure,” said Richard in a statement. “I will always be grateful for the honor of helping lead this organization through an exciting period of growth and financial success.”

Richard, who stepped into the position in 2010, has led the company through a string of financial successes. She brokered the purchase of ACT’s newest space, the Strand Theater (to open in May). She was also a key member in the fundraising team for the $34 million capital campaign. The Strand will feature a 283-seat theatre, a 120-seat event performance space and a cafe.

In 2011, just a year after she arrived, Richard also oversaw the opening of the 49-seat black-box Costume Shop, which is currently used as a no-cost rehearsal and performance space for local companies.

In addition to real estate, Richard also created a variety of educational initiatives, such as the San Francisco Semester, a study-abroad program that brought international students to ACT; Stage Coach, a community-based theatre program (created with ACT’s director of institutional giving and strategy Stephanie Mazow); and the Women’s Leadership Project, a partnership with Wellesley Centers for Women to conduct a study about gender breakdowns on the leadership level at nonprofit American theatres (created with artistic director Carey Perloff).

Richard’s last big creation at ACT was the American Musical Theatre Conservatory, a new musical theatre training program launching this summer.

“Ellen has done a remarkable job of growing our institution and taking it to a new level,” a.d. Perloff said in a statement. “Her passion and dedication for the arts will have a lasting impression on ACT and the San Francisco Bay Area community at large. We are grateful for her leadership at ACT and wish her the very best in her next artistic endeavor.”

Prior to her ACT tenure, Richard was the executive director at Second Stage Theatre in New York City, where she oversaw the acquisition of the theatre’s new Broadway space, the Helen Hayes Theatre.

ACT will soon begin a search for Richard’s replacement.

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