The Festival Experience

' Fun, engrossing, fabulous'

Move cursor over the photo above & click on the red button for the AACTFest Experience!


Festivals are amazing

by Gil Savage (after attending his first national AACTFest)

The curtain goes up and there are up to three 10 by 10 foot squares on an otherwise bare stage. In each square is everything that can used for a show - set, props, and costumes. The signal is given, and the first show is off and running. The actors and production crew hustle to set up their show in 10 minutes - because that’s when they must start. And they must end their piece no later than 60 minutes later. Then they have 10 minutes to put it all back in their box and leave the stage bare again.

Adjudicators present their opinions, offering insight and constructive ideas - it is always fascinating and stimulates great dialog. Then show number two is off and running.... And so it goes, until all the entrants have given it their best.

It is truly an inspiring and exciting experience. Not to mention the incredible celebrations and parties. Plus lots of time to network with other theatre people, and chat with play publisher and companies specializing in lighting, costumes, box office, member & donor software, and much more.

What does it take to enter?

Basically, you need a show that runs no longer than 60 minutes, with a set that can be erected in ten minutes or less, and resources to get your company to the festival site. You need a team to organize the production, travel, and entry requirements. You need a copy of the  current AACTFest Handbook. You need a company excited about sharing their work, meeting other theatre people, and willing to learn. If your group does not belong of AACT, you will need to join by the time your show reaches the regional level.

Of course, there are a lot of details, but isn’t that true with any theatre production? You need to schedule, select a play, budget, obtain rights to perform (not difficult), select a cast that is available for both local and national performances, and pack your bags for a wonderful adventure.

Lots of great reasons to enter

Publicity and Excitement

  • Theaters that go to festivals typically get enthusiastic support from their community. Promote to your community that you are representing them in a state / regional level event. They love it!
  • It can be a terrific fund-raising and profile raising opportunity.
  • Fire up the imagination and interest of your group - get everyone thinking in new directions.

Great Ideas and Contacts

  • See some of the best theater around. Get great ideas for next season.
  • Meet terrific people who are doing excellent theater
  • Inspire yourself and your group that gets everyone reaching for the next level.
  • Meet and chat with play publishers, and providers of theatre-related products and services

Bring Home the Bacon and Reap Rewards

  • It brings prestige, publicity, excitement. The media loves to cover a winner!
  • Awards from festivals can help with grants and donations.
  • Theaters that take honors at festivals get support from their communities and audiences.

Festivals are an exciting experience for everyone who attends

  • The great shows, terrific people and great parties make festivals a habit forming experience. There are a hundred good reasons why 40 years of festivals have spread to 43 states, with thousands of productions.
  • Be a part of history. Join the theaters and many theater folks who are making our own unique traditions.

Visit our AACTFest page for more information and insights.

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