American Association of Community Theatre
The American Association of Community Theatre (also known as AACT) is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1986 to be the voice of community theater in the United States. Located in Fort Worth, Texas, the AACT represents over 7,000 theaters and 1 million volunteers. These theaters produce over 45,000 productions each year, entertaining over 7.5 million people, and also provide educational and community outreach programs.
The AACT groups member theaters into ten regions, many of which have their own state or regional theater organizations, such as the Eastern Massachusetts Association of Community Theaters (EMACT) which represents over 40 community theaters in eastern Massachusetts.
Every year community theaters throughout the United States participate in local competitions, known as festivals. These competitions provide a way for the theaters to stage short productions that are adjudicated by professionals in the theater industry. These productions are typically cuttings, or scaled down parts of a production that the theater staged during its current season. The winners of these local competitions are invited to participate in regional festivals.
Every two years the AACT hosts a national festival, known as AACTFest, where the regional winners compete. These festivals are always open to the public, and provide an excellent way to watch a number of amateur productions over a period of a few days. The AACT publishes a strict set of rules for participation in AACTFest, and these same rules have been adopted by most of the regional and local festivals. The rules are designed to ensure that the festivals are run efficiently and safely.
At the end of each Festival awards for a number of categories, similar to the Academy Awards, are presented. Winners for the awards are based solely on the votes of the adjudicators.
AACTFest 2017 will culminate in a national community theatre festival June 26-July 1, 2017 in Rochester, Minnesota at the Mayo Civic Center, with performances in the Rochester Civic Theatre, also located in the Civic Center complex.
aactWorldFest is a week-long international community theatre festival, sponsored by AACT and held every four years. aactWorldFest 2018 is scheduled for June 18-24, 2018 at Venice Theatre in Venice, Florida.