American Conservatory Theater Reviews | Glassdoor

American Conservatory Theater Reviews

Updated June 26, 2017
7 reviews

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  1. Helpful (2)

    "Good internship"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at American Conservatory Theater as an intern

    Pros

    Reputable theater, education internship allows you to be an active part of the classroom/rehearsal settings. Lots of responsibility available if you're interested in taking it.

    Cons

    Interned in the education department which does not give you any exposure to the main theater office - hard as an intern who might want to see different departments interacting.

    Advice to Management

    Interns are left to fend for themselves and don't necessarily even get to meet each other or receive much oversight; more cohesion and structure could be useful


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Please read reviews before losing time, money, and a part of your soul at ACT!!!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Fellow in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Fellow in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at American Conservatory Theater full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great opportunity in terms of learning and gaining work experience. Because they are understaffed and the middle and upper management doesn't help or guide you in any way, there is a real opportunity to learn and work in different departments. The downside to this is that if you try to make that opportunity for yourself, you will be verbally abused by your higher ups and bullied into staying silent about how thoroughly you don't enjoy working here.

    Cons

    Too many of their employees (myself and my peers included) have quite literally lost the passion for theater and for the arts directly due to ACT. This is unforgivable!!! So many wonderful, talented artists and individuals have changed their life paths to something non art related as a direct result of how unenjoyable the work environment and management are.

    It is a clear issue when ACT needs to "deal with" (legally cover their behinds) several issues EVERY YEAR concerning past and current employees threatening lawsuits. In my particular circumstance, I was forced to threaten a lawsuit when I was forced to work more hours than is legally allowed by the state of california, all while being paid well UNDER the minimum wage!!

    Save yourself, do not join ACT

    Advice to Management

    Get it together ACT! You used to be a place to foster art and creativity, now all you do is stifle art and creativity, all while trying to make a quick buck and fire anybody who dares ask, why?

  3. "Not the same"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in San Francisco, CA
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at American Conservatory Theater as a contractor

    Pros

    Great opportunities to learn a cross section of positions within the company.

    Cons

    Talent level has gotten mediocre. Enthusiastic people but nothing exceptional. Seems to be a preference for average. A lot of theaters have younger workers but here they seem to be more concerned about looking good and keeping their jobs than having an extra gear.

    Advice to Management

    Recent changes in executive management have seen more people who were secure with themselves leave. Now, less experienced are running the asylum. Hire more people with interesting background and experience.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Has changed a lot"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at American Conservatory Theater full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great people in the rank-and-file...a close knit community of artistic people...opportunities for working in other departments...dynamic: you get to see many different aspects of the company, and interact with a wide range of personalities (good and bad)..used to be easy to take time off, now, not certain...part of the history of West Coast theater...

    Cons

    Around 2011, ACT hired an executive whose primary function was to acquire real estate for the company. One of the ways of paying for the new properties seemed to be the systematic alienation of every employee who made over $40K per year. The other source of funding was soliciting handouts from "new tech money". The result was fewer skilled people (and more unpaid interns) doing more work, much of which was prestige-oriented, and non-essential. Simultaneously, or perhaps because of this, the artistic quality of the productions dropped, which fueled a decline in morale. To add to the insult, the appointed General Management was of the Machiavellian variety, and attempted to rule by fear and misinformation. Many of ACT's long time staff left for greener pastures in this period.

    As of 2015, the company's financial goals have been met in certain key ways, and the executive in question has departed, but my sources tell me the legacy of disfunction remains. Upper management is largely disorganized, out of touch with the day-to-day issues, and expends much of its energy squabbling. The important decisions in the organization are made at the board level, and "buy in" is not a word that exists for the people who actually have to do the work. My observation was always that it was possible to love your job and the company (I did), but realize that it was hurting you and holding you back. There was no employee development to speak of; there exists the very real possibility that you will not gain any appreciable job skills at ACT. If there was ever such a thing as an employer that "holds you down", this is it. That said, Marketing and Development always seemed to be well taken care of, and even increased their number, unlike most every other department.

    Advice to Management

    There's nothing that I can say that will change how management behaves. If there were, I would still be working there.


  5. Helpful (2)

    "Employees are not valued"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at American Conservatory Theater full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    There are learning opportunities in nearly all aspects of creative and business areas.

    Cons

    Planning and communications are completely lacking from upper management. They do not value their staff or treat them well. I can't imagine that the board of directors is kept informed. I wonder if they know how inept management is at setting priorities, communicating with the staff and executing plans to increase revenue and patron loyalty.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to the staff. Respect the people who talk to the customers and do the daily work.


  6. "Right hand, meet left hand..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at American Conservatory Theater full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Young, enthusiastic staff... Dynamic performing arts environment...

    Cons

    Senior management out-of-touch with needs of organization at-large...cronyism and one-upmanship create environment of mistrust and misinformation....

    Advice to Management

    Learn to listen and put your egos aside.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "ACT is an amazingly fun, creative and worthy organization"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Box Office in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Box Office in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends

    Pros

    The artists on the stage, to the artistic director, to the development team, to the concessions employees, everyone works together to make this the best theatre experience on the west coast.

    Cons

    The pay is never as good in a not for profit as you would like, but the overall benefits package and the ability to see the best live theatre on the West Coast if not the US makes up for this, even though SF is an expensive city to live in.

    Advice to Management

    Continue with your strategic plan and continue including all staff in the strategic plan workshops. this is such an important facet of making the next generation of ACT even better.