Craig Slaight (director/acting teacher/writer) was a Resident Artist and the Director of the Young Conservatory at American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) from 1988-2017. During his time at A.C.T., Craig taught in all of the Conservatory programs, served as a resident director on the Geary Theater mainstage and was a member of the senior team of the company. Slaight began the Young Conservatory’s New Plays Program (now the Grace Magill New Plays Program) in 1989 with the mission to develop plays by outstanding professional playwrights that view the world through the eyes of the young. To date over 40 new plays have been developed and produced, twenty of which are collected in publications by Smith and Kraus publishers, New Plays from the A.C.T. Young Conservatory, Volumes I, II, III, IV and V. "Volume II" received recognition from the New York Public Library as an Outstanding Book for the Teenage in 1997. Slaight is also the author of the book for five musicals (Across the Universe, I’m Still Standing, Fields of Gold, Beautiful Child and Homefront) each of which had their premiere in the Grace Magill New Plays Program. By special request of the Noël Coward Foundation, Slaight created Bright Young People, a musical revue featuring youthful characters and songs from Coward's oeuvre. In 1999, Slaight forged a collaboration with the prestigious Royal National Theatre in London, working on developing new plays for young people (UK writers have included Bryony Lavery, Sarah Daniels, Sharman Macdonald, DC Jackson, Ursula Rani Sarma and Jodie Marshall). In 2000, Slaight’s Young Conservatory production of Time on Fire by Timothy Mason was the first production by a young American company to ever play the Royal National Theatre. In 2003 the international collaboration was expanded to include co-commissions and shared productions with Theatre Royal Bath. Subsequent collaborations have been done with The Hocschule of Musik and Drama in Zurich, Switzerland and His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen, Scotland. With A.C.T. 's Jack Sharrar, Slaight has published numerous acting and play anthologies for young actors (Smith and Kraus Publishers).
Prior to coming to A.C.T., Craig was an award-winning professional director in Los Angeles (directing such notables as Julie Harris, Linda Purl, Betty Garrett, Harold Gould, and Robert Foxworth). As a master acting teacher, notable former students have included: Anthony Anderson, Beth Behrs, Darren Criss, Adam Jacobs, Brie Larson, Tom Mison, Chelsea Peretti, Winona Ryder and Milo Ventimiglia. Slaight has been a consultant to the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, the National Theatre of London, Theatre Royal Bath, Ten Chimneys Foundation and is a frequent guest artist throughout the country. In August of l994, Slaight received the President's Award from The Educational Theater Association for Outstanding Contributions to Youth Theater. In January of 1998, he was chosen to receive the first annual A.C.T. Artistic Director's Award. In 2008, in recognition of his contributions to American Conservatory Theater, The Craig Slaight Young Conservatory New Play Fund was established to endow the continued development and production of new theater writing for young people. In 2015, Slaight was nominated for a Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre Education.