Community Theatre

Layout 1We would like to welcome all of you to the Community Division page for the Alabama Conference of Theatre (ACT). We are so pleased to have so many wonderful community theatre groups spread out across this great state of ours. ACT has identified over 65 active groups in the state and is always on the lookout for more. Actors, stage directors, musical directors, choreographers, and musicians collaborate with scenic, lighting, sound, costume, and property artists — often just for the love of theatre – producing critically acclaimed productions from musicals to dramas, and everything in between.

We encourage all Alabama Community Theatres to become organizational members  of ACT (just $60 per year and includes one adult membership), attend the annual ACT Summit, and either enter a show in ACTFest (see below) or send a delegation to attend ACTFest to see great theatre and participate in educational workshops!

The Annual Alabama Community Theatre Festival (ACTFest)

ACT’s Community Division produces the annual Alabama Community Theatre Festival (ACTFest), at which community theatres from throughout the state bring their best work to share with their colleagues and to be adjudicated.  Because ACTFest is the first step on a journey to an annual regional and the bi-annual national community theatre festival,  participating companies follow guidelines established  by the American Association of Community Theatres.

Festival shows must be no more than 60 minutes in length.  They can be cuttings of full-length shows or one-acts.  They can be any genre or style including musicals.  The set for festival shows must be mobile, and the components must fit in a 10-foot x 10-foot square backstage, and the cast and crew must be able to set it up and break it down during 10-minute windows immediately before and after the performance.  Immediately following each performance, experienced adjudicators provided constructive feedback to each company, which all audience members are also welcome to hear.

ACTFest also hosts educational workshops on a wide variety of theatrical topics (acting, directing, stage managing, designing, etc.) that are open to all ACT members.  ACT membership also grants access to all the ACTFest performances and the final award ceremony.  Non-ACT members are able to purchase tickets to attend performances.

Following the final ACTFest performance, the annual ACT Community Division meeting is held, and a new vice chair is elected.  Then the awards for acting, directing, and production are announced, followed by the naming of the “Best of Show.”  When four or more productions participate in the festival, up to two may be named Best of Show and continue on to the American Association of Community Theatre Region IV Festival, which is held each spring at the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC).  To help with travel expenses, ACT awards a stipend to those theatres that continue to SETC.  In even-numbered years, SETC is the final destination, but in odd-numbered years, the Region IV Best of Show will advance to the national American Association of Community Theatre Festival (AACTFest).  Alabama has a proud tradition of representation at both SETC and AACTFest, and our community theatres have won both regionally and nationally!

Great reasons to enter a festival:
  • Fire up the imagination and interest of your group, and motivate them to think in new directions.
  • See some of the best theatre around, and get great ideas for your next season.
  • Meet terrific people who are doing exciting theatre.
  • Stimulate creativity in your group, and get them to reach for higher ideals.
  • Make the festival experience fun by producing and watching great shows, meeting wonderful people, and attending great parties.