AACTFest 2007

by Stephen Peithman

More than 1200 people attended AACTFest, the national theater festival sponsored by the American Association of Community Theatre, June 18-24, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Hosted by The Metrolina Theatre Association, the event featured keynote speaker Ben Cameron, past executive director of Theatre Communications Group. Organizers were pleased that event registrations were up nearly 30 percent from the previous festival, according to AACT Executive Director Julie Angelo at AACT. 

The festival included workshops, lecture-demonstrations, and panel discussions led by arts professionals from all over the United States, along with a fundraising Endowment Dinner featuring Broadway veterans Terrence Mann and Charlotte d'Amboise. The focus of the festival, though, was the presentation and adjudication of productions from AACT’s 10 regions. First-place award went to the Denton (TX) Community Theatre production of Crowns (by Regina Taylor), which also won for Best Ensemble. Second place went to the Spokane (WA) Civic Theatre production of Assassins (by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman) and third place to the Aberdeen (SD) Community Theatre production of Honk! (by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe).

New to the festival was professional adjudication to recognize excellence in the set design, costume design, graphic arts (season or event materials, logos), and Web site design.

“This biennial AACT event rotates between different cities,” notes Jim Sohre, U.S. Army entertainment director and AACT Region 10 representative, “and this was without doubt the most exceptional National Fest I have attended. Our official show entry was from the U.S. Army Community Theatre in SHAPE, Belgium, and we were all not only treated to Southern hospitality at its finest, but also outstanding technical production support from local theatre practitioners who are at the top of their game.”

Complete information on AACTFest ’07 is available at the Web site www.aact.org.