About Us


The Association of Community Theatre Inc was formed in the early 1990's after a visit to Sydney from members of the Executive of the Federation of New Zealand Operatic Societies - now called Musical Theatre New Zealand.

A steering committee was formed and in the mid 90's a band of about 20 theatre groups almost all in Sydney became founding members of the organisation.

At first ACT struggled to get groups interested and attendance was poor at seminars. Then in 1996 ACT began a period of rapid expansion.

In 1996 the first launch of SHOWLINE took place in Sydney. ACT released a brochure which listed the performances of 40 theatres in Sydney - all linked to a central telephone number with booking details - Showline 1902 260 xxx (55c per minute). A function with speakers including representatives of State Government was held and the combined initiative lifted membership to about 50 theatres over the next few years.

Telstra discontinued the 1902 phone service we used for Showline so ACT changed the Showline name to "What's On" and has produced a booklet of shows in Australia every year since 2001 and also created a list on the ACT website.  The 2007 brochure contained 74 productions on 6 pages. The 2020 booklet contained 240 productions on 32 pages

In 1998 ACT was successful in gaining a grant from the Australia Council to host the first ever State Conference of Amateur Theatre. It was a great success and more than 100 delegates came from all over Australia to attend seminars at the National Institute for Dramatic Arts.  The Stagecraft Conference has, since 1998, been held at NIDA every second year.

 (Pictures - above launch of Showline in 1997. Below the 2020 Zoom AGM.)


Additional information