The artistic directors at the Bay Area's two biggest regional theaters, American Conservatory Theater and Berkeley Repertory Theater, both have one foot out the door, meaning we're on the eve of a potentially very different era for the local theater scene. Quickly following on the announcement by Berkeley Rep's Tony Taccone that he intends to retire after the 2018-2019 season, ACT's longtime artistic director Carey Perloff makes the announcement that she'll take her leave even sooner, after the end of next season.

Perloff has led San Francisco's most well funded and biggest theater operation since 1992, and many credit her with pulling ACT through the difficult period following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in which their home, the Geary Theater, sustained heavy damage and required a years-long fundraising and rebuilding effort. ACT has emerged in the last decade as a successfully funded and popular repertory company that has brought some important work to San Francisco — notably, in my opinion, 2004's The Black Rider, 2005's The Overcoat, Kneehigh Theater's Brief Encounter in 2009, 2012's Scottsboro Boys, 2013's Black Watch, and 2015's A Little Night Music and Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play.

Perloff, 58, tells Broadway World, "Serving as artistic director of A.C.T. for the past 25 years has been the greatest joy of my life," and she says "A.C.T. now has multiple state-of-the-art performance spaces, a significant endowment, the only freestanding M.F.A. Program in the country, and a legacy of renowned classics and ambitious new work to look back upon. Most of all, it has an audience that any artistic director could only dream of: adventurous, supportive, diverse, generous, and loyal."

But, now she tells the Chronicle "I'm dying to write another book," after her 2015 memoir Beautiful Chaos, and she's looking forward to directing shows elsewhere, like Ontario's Stratford Festival, and working on her play, titled Fit.

For the 2017-2018 season Perloff will, as she has some 50 times over 25 seasons, direct a couple of her favorite plays from the canon, including the one announced so far, Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party.

Perloff has directed a number of Pinter plays over the years, as well as works by Mamet, Beckett, and Stoppard, and works adapted from Greek tragedies like 2010's Phedre, and 2012's Elektra, starring Olympia Dukakis. Her bread and butter, in other words, has tended toward the already-established canon, with the exception of a couple of new works by Stoppard, with whom she's now had a long professional friendship since first directing Arcadia in 1993.

ACT will now begin the task of putting together a search committee for its next artistic director, just as they are also searching for a permanent executive director. In the meantime, interim executive director Peter Pastreich says he'll remain in the role until Perloff's replacement is found.