AACTFest 2021 Invitational

The new invitational process & application

Applications to perform at AACTFest 2021 are now being accepted.  Final date for submission is November 1, 2020

AACT is restructuring the AACTFest festival system in response to the COVID-19 pandemic—and to better support the mission of the National Festival. Scheduled for June 14-19, 2021, in Louisville, Kentucky, AACTFest is where we'll gather to learn, trade stories, and see compelling theatre from across the nation.

To search the nation for outstanding productions worthy of sharing at a national festival,  AACT will use an invitational system to choose the 12 featured productions at AACTFest 2021.

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The new structure has been put into place because the state-to-regional process that normally chooses 12 productions to be featured at nationals—has been compromised because so many state and regional festivals have been cancelled or postponed. And while some festivals may be possible, the cost of producing a festival and/or participating in one may be prohibitive for many AACT-member theatres.

Application Process

Applicants must:

  1. Be a current AACT-Member Theatre
  2. Obtain the support of your Board, Executive Committee, or President
  3. Submit two letters of support from persons unrelated to your theatre, illustrating the support of your community for your theatre, and/or testifying to your theatre's creative and artistic abilities.
  4. Before completing the online application, both read and understand the changes in the AACTFest Handbook, which has been adapted for the 2021 invitational format. (You can find the handbook HERE.)
  5. Complete and submit the application below with support materials by November 1, 2020


  • AACT will accept applications from member theatres who are willing to produce a play to be evaluated by traveling adjudicators within a set timeline.  A theatre must also be able to demonstrate financial capability, and (should it be selected) support from its governing body to attend AACTFest 2021 in Louisivlle, Kentucky.
  • Theatres may choose to do a full-length production within their season, or present a cutting specifically for the festival.  If a full-length production is viewed, the theatre must also have a 60-minute cut version of the play, along with permission to do so.
  • Applications will be accepted from July 1, 2020 to November 1, 2020.  From the field of applicants, 50 theatres will be chosen to be interviewed. 
  • Interviews will be conducted between August 1, 2020 and November 15, 2020, based on the order in which applications are received. 
  • From the field of interviewed theatres, 25 will be chosen to showcase a performance for adjudication.  Showcase notification will be issued no later than November 30, 2020. 
  • Adjudicators will travel to those chosen theatres from December 15, 2020, to March 31, 2021. Five sets of two adjudicators will attend each production. Each set will see a roster of five productions, and from that field will nominate two of the top fully realized performances.  If fewer than two productions on a roster are not completely realized, an adjudication team may opt to pass its vote to another set.
  • The adjudication team will be available to meet with the production director and/or company for an extended feedback session, following the adjudicated performance
  • Region X will have a production selected.  Because Region X is composed of companies for U.S. Armed Forces in Europe, it will have a separate set of adjudicators
  • The list of AACTFest 2021 Producting Theatres will be announced in April 2021. 
  • Questions? See FAQs, below.
How to Apply

Step 1:  Read/Download the AACTFest 2021 Invitational Festival Handbook

Step 2:  Review the Invitational FAQs for answers to most questions

Step 3Complete & submit the online Invitational Application form


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