AACTFest 2017: Productions

Companies Performing at the National Festival

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The AACTFest festival process culminates in the national theatre festival held in odd-numbered years. Community theatres from AACT's 10 regions enter productions for adjudication and advancement from the state to regional and finally, to the national level. (Some regions are eligible for two productions.)

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Region I
Windham Actors Guild
Windham, New Hampshire

Windham Actors Guild, located in Southern New Hampshire, has been producing theater since 2010. The organization strives to make quality theatre accessible to both actors and audiences alike. Each season includes a large main stage musical, a more intimate straight show, and a musical youth production. Windham Actors Guild values a process that fosters personal and organizational growth in the theatrical arts, while executing an end product of which all those involved can be proud.

Windham Actors Guild production of "The Most Massive Woman Wins"The Most Massive Woman Wins by Madeleine George
Challenging, brutal and hilarious, four women of various shapes and sizes sitting in the waiting room of a liposuction clinic explore their perceptions of body image. The women reveal their experiences dealing with their weight issues through monologues, short scenes, and even schoolyard rhymes. [Photo by Angela Sanscrainte]

Performance Session 4 (2nd to perform): Friday, June 30, 3 pm and 7:30 pm

Region II
Erie Playhouse
Erie, Pennsylvania

Erie Playhouse produces 20 productions a year: eight Mainstage, five Youtheatre, concerts, and special events. 2016-17 marked the Playhouse’s 100th season, and its participation in the 2017 AACTFest cycle commemorates the company’s past (one of the oldest community theatre in the country), celebrates its present, and embraces its future. Erie Playhouse has been away from competition for over 30 seasons, last participating in 1986 with the drama Bent, which competed at the national level.


Erie Playhouse production of "The GloriousOnes"The Glorious Ones by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty
Both slapstick and serious, The Glorious Ones tells how an Italian acting troupe came to be, capturing the public's adoration with its bawdy comedy and improvisation. In their search for glory and fame, the troupe struggles with the possibility that they may not be remembered. La Commedia! [Photo by Rick Klein Photography]

Performance Session 4 (3rd to perform): Friday, June 30, 3 pm and 7:30 pm

Region III
Center Stage Theatre
Midland, Michigan

Midland Center for the Arts' Center Stage Theatre is a national award-winning volunteer theatre program with a performance season that draws tens of thousands of theatregoers from across the Great Lakes Bay Region, and includes comedies, tragedies and musicals, from popular favorites to lesser-known titles.  In addition to main season shows, its Off-Center Stage productions are works on the cutting edge, and the Peanut Gallery and Interim Theatre programs feature the talents of youth, ages 10 through 21.

Midland Center for the Arts production of "Venus in Fur"Venus in Fur by David Ives
Thomas is desperate to find an actress to play Vanda, the female lead in his adaptation of the classic sadomasochistic tale, Venus in Fur.  Into his empty audition room walks a vulgar and equally desperate actress—oddly enough, named Vanda. Her strange command of the material piques Thomas's interest, and soon the line between play and reality blurs, feeding an increasingly serious game of submission and domination that only one can win.

Performance Session 2 (3rd to perform): Wednesday, June 28, 2:15 and 7 pm


Region III
Kokomo Civic Theatre
Kokomo, Indiana

Kokomo Civic Theatre (KCT) was established in 1949 in the central Indiana community of Kokomo, approximately 50 miles north of Indianapolis. KCT produces a four-to-five-show season of musicals, comedies, and dramas, primarily at Havens Auditorium on the campus of Indiana University Kokomo. KCT offers acting classes for the community, and has hosted the Indiana Community Theatre Association State Festival three times in recent years. Its production of Freud’s Last Session received the Best Show Award at the AACTFest 2015 National Festival.

Kokoma Civic Theatre production of "PassingNotes"Passing Notes by Joe Cameron
A man tells the story of his first love through old, hand-written notes he and his girlfriend sent to one another. Together they discover love, experience the joy of infatuation, laugh and fight, share a first kiss, learn to dance, and, most important, they forge an unbreakable friendship. [Photo by Jason Dick]

Performance Session 1 (2nd to perform): Tuesday, June 27, 2:15 and 7 pm

Region IV
Starkville Community Theatre
Starkville, Mississippi

Starkville Community TheatreStarkville Community Theatre (SCT)is one of Mississippi’s most award-winning community theatres Founded in 1978 when 50 people attended an interest meeting announced in the local newspaper, SCT’s success is based on strong community involvement and support. The theatre has produced over 100 successful productions including dramas, comedies, one-acts, musicals and musical revues. SCT has advanced to the regional level of competition at Southeastern Theatre Conference numerous times and is now the first theatre in the state to advance to the AACTFest national festival for a second time. Next year SCT will celebrate its 40th season.

Photo from "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike"Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang
Siblings Vanya and Sonia share a home where they bicker and complain. When their movie-star sister swoops in with her boy toy, resentments flare up and threats ensue. Toss in a sassy maid who predicts the future and an aspiring actress whose prettiness worries the imperious Masha and anything can happen. [Photo by Jennifer R. Eaton]

Performance Session 2 (1st to perform): Wednesday, June 28, 2:15 and 7 pm

Region IV
Theatre Winter Haven
Winter Haven, Florida

Fulfilling its mission, “We inspire, challenge, entertain and educate our community by creating exceptional theatrical experiences”, Theatre Winter Haven offers five Mainstage productions, a complete Theatre Academy program, in-school and after-school classes, a touring program for young adults, a touring program for senior citizens, a summer musical, and staged readings of contemporary plays. A professional staff of eight oversees the programming and professional theatre artists are brought in from around the state and country to design, direct, and perform.

Theatre Winter Haven production of "The Amish Project"The Amish Project by Jessica Dickey
The Amish Project is a fictional exploration of the Nickel Mines schoolhouse shooting in an Amish community, and the path of forgiveness and compassion forged in its wake. [Photo by Bryce Seckinger]

Performance Session 4 (1st to perform): Friday, June 30, 3 pm and 7:30 pm


Region V
Dassel-Cokato Community Theatre/FungusAmongus Players
Dassel-Cokato, Minnesota

Founded in 2008, the company performs in a museum that was formerly an ergot processing plant. (Ergot is a toxic fungus used in pharmaceuticals--hence the name "FungusAmongus.") This is the company’s second time representing Dassel-Cokato, Minnesota, a tiny rural community of 2,800 residents, at the AACTFest National Festival, having presented The Romancers in 2015. The Fungi collaborate with the Dassel Area Historical Society to stage shows that attempt to reflect a warm sense of nostalgia and positive ethical values.

FungusAmongus Players production of "Voice of the Prairie"The Voice of the Prairie by John Olive
Set in the American Midwest in the early days of radio, The Voice of the Prairie is the story of Davey Quinn, an orphaned teen, and his companion, Frankie the Blind Girl, who travel the country hopping freight trains, seeking both freedom and invisibility. [Photo by Jox Metcalf]

Performance Session 2 (2nd to perform): Wednesday, June 28, 2:15 and 7 pm

Region V
The Minnesota SkyVault Theatre Company
Rochester, Minnesota

Founded in 2013, The Minnesota SkyVault Theatre Company creates and tours high-energy, audience-immersive, original performances developed through collaborative musical and dramatic improvisation. Accepting their youth as a strength, they embrace and celebrate the non-linear, multi-tasking split focus of electronic devices, social media, and the “messiness” of spontaneous interaction. SkyVault performances play with the forces that cause the inexplicable, often contradictory, motivations and self-destructive actions of characters on (and off) stage.

Minnesota SkyVault Theatre Company production photoOn the Road to Verona by The Minnesota SkyVault Theatre Company
A juvenile band of minstrels abandoned on the road decides they don’t need middle-aged actors pretending to be teenagers to portray Shakespeare’s comic romances. The SkyVault ensemble collaboratively developed their Shakespeare-inspired script and music for this immersive experience, where cast and audience post to Facebook throughout the performance. [Photo by Craig Madsen]

Performance Session 1 (3rd to perform): Tuesday, June 27, 2:15 and 7 pm

Region VI
Katy Visual and Performing Arts Center
Katy, Texas

Established in 2001, Katy Visual and Performing Arts Center (KVPAC) provides training in visual and performing arts to people of all ages through classes, performance and exhibition opportunities. KVPAC is home to Encore Players, the award-winning community theatre. Additionally, KVPAC provides off-site arts programs that focus on enriching education within Houston-area school systems, therapeutic artistic experiences serving patrons in area hospitals, and community arts events that transcend differences, foster cultural awareness and encourage community cohesiveness.

Katy Visual and Performing Arts Center production of "Answers"Answers by Tom Topor
Answers focuses on a man detained and questioned for a crime that he claims to know nothing about.  He is grilled by two persistent police officers, who call him "Byron" (although he insists this is not his name) as they attempt to force a confession. Ultimately, they succeed—but have justice and truth been served? Or has another victim been sacrificed to society's inexorable need for retribution at any cost? [Photo by Linda M. Lee]

Performance Session 3 (3rd to perform): Thursday, June 29, 2:15 and 7 pm

Region VII
Theatre Esprit Asia
Aurora, Colorado

Theatre Esprit Asia (TEA) is the first and only Asian-American theatre in the entire Rocky Mountain region. In its four-year history, its 13 productions have won critical acclaim and 20 awards, including sweeping the 2014 and 2016 Colorado AACT Festivals with People's Choice, Best Actress, and Best Lighting; also in 2014 for Best Original Play, Choreography, and Directing Excellence; and in 2016 for Best Production and Set Design Excellence. TEA's mission is to present original works on the contemporary Asian diaspora; provide creative opportunities for Asian-Western actors, playwrights, and directors; and function as an agent for social justice and change.

Photo from TEA production of "Coming to America"Coming to America by Maria Cheng & Peter Trinh
Coming to America tells two immigration stories, filled with tragedy and humor. Boat Person is a harrowing tale of a Vietnamese braving the high seas and combating starvation and marauding pirates. Antecedents is a Chinese family's journey from surviving the Japanese occupation of China to the election of America's first black president. [Photo by Brian Miller]

Performance Session 1 (1st to perform): Tuesday, June 27, 2:15 and 7 pm

Region IX
Tacoma Musical Playhouse
Tacoma, Washington

Tacoma Musical Playhouse (TMP) was founded in January 1994 to fulfill a need in Tacoma for a theatre company that specializes in the uniquely American art form of musical theatre. Mr. Rake's artistic leadership of the company, supported by a need in the community and an availability of excellent local talent, are the driving forces of its success. The primary artistic team of Jon Douglas Rake, Managing Artistic Director, and Jeffrey Stvrtecky, Music Director, provides stability to the productions at TMP.  This stability has assured a level of quality from production to production. TMP is now the largest community theatre in the Northwest region.

Tacoma Musical Playhouse production of "The Addams Family"The Addams Family, Act 1 by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice
Wednesday Addams has grown up and fallen in love with a respectable young man. Wednesday confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother. Gomez must do something he has never done– keep a secret from his wife, Morticia. Chaos ensues for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for the "normal" boyfriend and his parents. [Photo by Kat Dollarhide]

Performance Session 3 (1st to perform): Thursday, June 29, 2:15 and 7 pm

Region X
SHAPE Performing Arts Centre
Mons, Belgium

The SHAPE Performing Arts Centre and its Performing Arts School provide diverse theatre, music, and dance program­ming to stimulate, educate, and enter­tain the SHAPE international community. (SHAPE—the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe—is located in Mons, Belgium.) The SHAPE Players serve the 28 NATO members of the SHAPE community, offering a season of four plays and three sessions of classes each year, culminating in three recital/performances.  A five-time Re­gion X winner, SHAPE has performed at National Festivals in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2015, and now in 2017.


SHAPE production of "Counting the Ways"Counting the Ways, A Vaudeville by Edward Albee
In a series of blackout sketches, "He" and "She" probe the nature of their love for one another. Long married, but aware that time has wrought changes in their relationship, the two spar and thrust at one another in exchanges and reminiscences that are sometimes lighthearted, sometimes poignant, sometimes almost brutal. In the end, a mosaic of their experience illuminates the nature of human love and the gathering indifference that can beset those too closely aligned in the sharing of years.

Performance Session 3 (2nd to perform): Thursday, June 29, 2:15 and 7 pm



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