Founded in 1972 by John Houseman and Margot Harley with members of the first graduating class of Juilliard's Drama Division, The Acting Company is now America’s most important touring classical theater company having performed 148 productions for over 4 million people in 48 states and 10 foreign countries. The Company has given more than 400 actors in two generations the opportunity to master their craft by playing challenging repertory roles early in their careers. Alumni include Kevin Kline, Rainn Wilson, Patti LuPone, David Schramm, Jesse L. Martin, David Ogden Stiers, Frances Conroy, Jeffrey Wright, Harriet Harris, Hamish Linklater, Roslyn Ruff, and Keith David, all of whom began their careers on tour with The Acting Company.
Our education programs — Learning Through Theater Residencies, Student Matinees, Workshops, Master Classes, Primary Shakespeare and Shakespeare for Teachers — reach students in disadvantaged schools where achievement levels are considerably below average. Our New York City school tours bring free Shakespeare performances into Title I public schools in some of the city's poorest neighborhoods, reaching some 5,000 middle and high school students each year. For the past decade, our annual residency on the Jicarilla Apache reservation of Lumberton, NM has brought free arts education programs to students grades K-12, enabling children to study Shakespeare's plays while developing valuable communication, writing, and analytic skills.
Promoting theater and arts education through rotating repertories of classical and new works, The Acting Company performs to as many as 20,000 audience members each year and reaches an additional 5,000 students with its arts education programs, particularly in areas where live performance and theater education opportunities are limited.
- Builds a discerning audience for the theater by playing exceptional productions in New York City and on tour for diverse audiences.
- Educates students in under-served and disadvantaged communities, which have little or no access to the arts and have been hardest hit by cuts in arts education.
- Develops the best young American actors by giving them an opportunity to practice their craft in a repertory of classic plays and new works.
The Acting Company has been honored with numerous awards including the Obie, Audelco, and Los Angeles Critics Circle Award, and a special Tony Honor for Excellence in Theater.