Arizona Curriculum Theater Inc.
ACT Inc. was founded in 2009 by a troupe of professional teaching artists with a background in classical theater. Specializing in Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe, the company grew to include more than two dozen programs, workshops, and performances on every major course of study in the curriculum.
Truly awesome! Students keep coming up to me to tell me how much they enjoyed the performance. You offer an entertaining and educational service with your high quality programs. -Maricopa County Library District
The troupe has crafted innovative ways of connecting the arts and the curriculum. Math is taught through music, science through dance and movement, history through reenactments, and literature through performance.
PoeFest is ACT Inc.'s annual fundraiser. Thanks to an administration and board that is all-volunteer, 100% of all proceeds go directly to our mission of putting artists into classrooms.
PoeFest Main Stage features actors performing the short stories of Poe in character as inmates of Poe's fictional Maison de Sante asylum. These are not readings. Our actors have memorized Poe's stories and will perform them in character. PoeFest uses a rotation of eight short stories and each show typically features two stories. Audience members can attend multiple shows and see entirely different stories in each one. PoeFest Main Stage takes place every Friday and Saturday night at 8PM in the Ghost Lounge of the Hotel San Carlos.
PoeFest Seance features a night of paranormal, metaphyiscal, and preternatural experiments culminating with an attempt to contact the lost soul of Edgar Allan Poe himself. Not for the faint of heart, PoeFest seance is an entertainment seance. Any possessions, hauntings, poltergeists, phantoms, specters, or restless spirits are strictly coincidental
The Raven at Rosson House Museum
The Raven at Rosson House serves as PoeFest's yearly grand finale. On Halloween night, Edgar Allan Poe's poem 'The Raven' will be performed every twenty minutes between 7:30PM and 9:30PM from the grand staircase in the front hall of the historic Rosson House Museum in Heritage Square. The show also includes a short tour of the lower level of the Stick-Eastlake Queen Anne-style Victorian mansion. Numerous items of Victorian-era mourning are featured for the Halloween season, as well as a look at a 19th Century doctor's examination room and all its crude instruments.
Sensitivity to the Mental Health Community
ACT Inc. and PoeFest actors are acutely aware of the stigmas associated with mental illness in our society. In order not to perpetuate those stigmas, our actors are careful not to portray any recognizable symptoms of modern mental illnesses. Our performances remain strictly rooted in the fictional world of Edgar Allan Poe and all traits and behaviors are derived directly from the text.
PoeFest by the Numbers
-More than 7,500 people from all over the world have visited PoeFest since 2009.
-Twenty-six winners of PoeFest's various raffles & contests having taken home prizes valued in excess of $12,000.
-PoeFest has raised over $120,000 for ACT Inc. and 100% of that money has gone directly to our mission of putting teaching artists in Arizona classrooms.
-ACT Inc. has visited more than 400 Arizona schools, over 8000 classroom hours, and 357,000 schoolchildren reached with the arts.
Not Your Grandpa's Poe
PoeFest artists strive to apply the best of modern acting techniques to the classical language of Edgar Allan Poe. Our setting is Poe's fictional Maison de Sante Asylum from his short story 'The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether'. All actors in PoeFest have classical training and experience bringing classical literature to life for modern audiences.
Location! Location! Location!
The elegantly restored historic Hotel San Carlos in downtown Phoenix has its storied past. Through its restored halls in the Italian Renaissance style, visitors can walk in the footsteps of Hollywood stars from yesteryear. Marilyn Monroe, Mae West, Clark Gable, Ingrid Bergman, Spencer Tracy, and more all stayed at the San Carlos. Rated the number one most haunted hotel in America by TheMost10.com.
The Rosson House Museum is a fully-restored Stick-Eastlake Queen Anne-style Victorian mansion sitting on its original foundation in downtown Phoenix's Heritage Square. The show includes a short tour of the lower level as well as items of Victorian-era mourning. Performances of The Raven from the grand staircase in the front hall of a 19th Century mansion is the most fitting way of concluding the biggest Edgar Allan Poe Festival in the world.
Student Writing Competition Sponsored by Bookmans
Each year, PoeFest teams up with Bookmans Entertainment Exchange to conduct a student writing competition. Open to students in grades 7 through 9, the competition features contests in both short stories and poetry. Short stories must be in the genres of horror and/or mystery. Poems must be in the genres of love, horror, and/or death. Complete rules can be found on the main PoeFest website https://poefest.org/#main-contests
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