Jill MacLean Named Young Conservatory Director at American Conservatory Theater

Jill MacLean Named Young Conservatory Director at American Conservatory Theater

Today, American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) Artistic Director Carey Perloff announced the appointment of Jill MacLean as the company's new Young Conservatory Director. MacLean succeeds Craig Slaight, who recently retired after 29 years at the helm.

MacLean begins her role today as the inaugural holder of the newly endowed Craig Slaight Young Conservatory Directorship established by A.C.T. trustees and Young Conservatory parents, with a lead gift made by Laurie and Jeff Ubben.

Says Perloff: "We are delighted to welcome Jill MacLean to American Conservatory Theater! Aside from being one of our favorite teachers in the Young Conservatory, Jill has a wealth of experience working in theater and education, including distinguished tenures at Lincoln Center Theater and the Playwrights Foundation. We feel confident that Jill will honor the outstanding legacy of the Young Conservatory and lead us forward in new and exciting ways as we seek to make the experience of theater accessible to all young people in the Bay Area."

"I am thrilled to join the A.C.T. family in my new role," adds MacLean. "Combining my love of education and theater, while tapping into the rich artistic resources in the Bay Area and beyond, is a dream come true. The Young Conservatory not only provides young actors with stellar theater training from some of the best teaching artists in the industry, but it also creates lifetime theater advocates and audiences. We want students who come to A.C.T.'s Young Conservatory to discover and experience new perspectives that empower them. I'm excited to work with the talented staff and faculty at A.C.T. and to build on the incredible vision established by Craig Slaight."

With more than 20 years' experience in theater and education, MacLean is passionate about bringing theater into the lives of young people. She holds a multicultural teaching credential in Spanish and a master of fine arts degree in musical theater, and has experience as a director, actor, producer, and arts program administrator in New York and the San Francisco Bay Area. At Lincoln Center Theater, MacLean served as the Directors Lab Assistant for five years, in addition to working as a teaching artist, Education Associate, and Interim Associate Director of Education. She also was an Adjunct Professor of Musical Theater at Marymount Manhattan College and has served as Adjunct Theater Professor at Las Positas College in Livermore since 2010.

As a teaching artist, MacLean has worked in many schools and classrooms with children ages 6-19, developing curriculum for multiple residencies and programs. As a public school teacher, MacLean taught Spanish, ESL (English as a Second Language), and drama for grades 7-9 for several years before pursuing graduate work in musical theater. Since returning to the Bay Area, MacLean has taught with Berkeley Repertory Theatre, StageWrite, and Word for Word. She was The Managing Producer of Playwrights Foundation in San Francisco, producing the annual Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Resident Playwrights Initiative, and Rough Reading Series. At Z Space, MacLean managed the Youth Arts Program, the educational arm of the acclaimed Word for Word theater company, where she is currently an Associate Artist.

MacLean's directing experience spans many cities and organizations, including Word for Word (Off the Page series), Playwrights Foundation, Notre Dame des Victoires in San Francisco, Mill Valley Middle School, New York University Undergraduate Musical Theater Writing Program, Bay One Acts, Sonoma State University, Stagebridge, and Las Positas College. She is a member of Actors' Equity Association.

This is the second time MacLean has held a position at A.C.T. In 2008-12, she served on the faculty at the Young Conservatory, teaching acting, musical theater, and acting workshops for all age levels.

The Young Conservatory (YC) at A.C.T. is an internationally recognized professional theater training program for young people between the ages of 8 and 19. The young actors from throughout the Bay Area, and often other states, who attend the YC develop their creative talent, perform in professional-caliber productions, and learn confidence and communication skills.

The YC offers dynamic courses throughout the year for both beginners exploring acting for the first time as well as young theater artists with previous experience. Classes are designed to develop imagination, concentration, character, professionalism, and technique, and to strengthen the student's command of his/her body and voice.

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