|Our Humble Beginnings
|ACT began in the spring of 2007 as a group of friends who came
together to do a children's show at the Auburn Community Center,
using the Auburn stage at the end of the gym. The show was so
summer of 2008, this time as an adult comedy. Both of these
productions were paid for completely by the Auburn Community
Center and all proceeds went back to them. The friends had so
much fun that they decided to form an actual on-going organization.
To accomplish this goal, the group produced a fund raiser which
was a musical review of Broadway show tunes. Admission was
on a free-will donation basis and all of the money was reserved to
pay origination fees which included incorporating as a not for profit
community theater with the State of Kansas. ACT was born. In
November of 2008. The arrangement that was made with ACCA
(Auburn Community Center Association) was that ACCA would
provide space (storage, office and performance) for ACT as well as
allowing access to the facility for rehearsals, meetings, construction
and performances. In return and to "pay the rent" ACT would sell
tickets and dinners for the shows and split the profit (after expenses)
with ACCA. ACT took on all financial responsibilities for paying for
scenery, costumes, lighting, and royalties for the shows. ACCA took
on responsibility for allowing ACT the use of the space and provided
utilities (light, heat and water). ACCA still maintained their facility but
ACT was responsible for cleaning up after a show (removing
scenery and returning the facility back to the condition it was found
in, or better). This partnership between the two organizations was
originally a verbal agreement, but later put into a written contract.
ACT's first actual production as the new organization was "For the
Troops," a Veteran's Day, USO style show in November of 2008
featuring vintage comedy and music.
In 2009, ACT offered its first actual "season" of live theater. Seven
shows were scheduled throughout the year. Season tickets were
advertised and sold. Those shows included "My Funny Valentine"
three one act plays, "Breath of Spring" a comedy, “Once Upon a
Mattress" a musical, "Red vs. the Wolf" a children's show; "Love
Rides the Rails" a melodrama; "Steel Magnolias" a drama-comedy,
and "For the Troops 2009" another Veteran's Day, USO style variety
The second season, 2010 saw "Jerry's Girls" a musical revue,
"California Suite" a comedy, "Curious Savage" a comedy,
"Pinocchio 3.5" a children's show, "Two by Two" a musical, "The
Case of the Malted Falcon" a humorous mystery, and "G.I. Jukebox"
a musical revue.
The third season in 2011 we dropped the children's show as it was
so poorly attended and lost money. That year included "Isabelle" a
comedy by a Lawrence playwright, "On Golden Pond" a dramatic
comedy, "The Kitchen Witches" a farce, "The Fantasticks" a
musical, "Murder at the Class Reunion" an original comedy, and "G.I.
Holiday Jukebox" a musical review.
The fourth season in 2012 had "Talking With…” a series of
monologues, “I Do! I Do!” a musical, “Every Little Crook and Nanny”
a comedy, “Love Letters” an adult drama, “Nunsense” a musical,
“Blithe Spirit” a comedy.
The fifth season in 2013 had “Divorce Southern Style” a comedy,
“Perfect Wedding” a farce, “Noises Off” a farce, “Jesus Christ
Superstar” a rock opera, and “Death Trap” a murder mystery.
The sixth season in 2014 had “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” a
musical, “Butterflies Are Free” a comedy drama, “Station KACT’s
Old Time Radio Show” an original musical farce, “Blame it On the
Movies” a musical revue.
The seventh season in 2015 had “Godspell” a rock musical, “Boeing
Boeing” a comedy, “Nunsense II” a musical, and “Night Watch” a
Our eighth season in 2016 included “Celebration” a musical, “Two
For the Show” two one act plays, “Bingo the Winning Musical” a
musical, and “Let’s Murder Marsha” a farce.
During the 2016 season a major scheduling conflict arose between
the Community Center and the theatre so the Community Center
Board canceled the theatre’s lease. Following the last show of the
2016 season, Auburn Community Theatre moved from Auburn to
Topeka and legally changed its name to ACT Theatre Company.
In 2017, ACT opened its ninth season at the prestigious Topeka
Performing Arts Center with the musical “Side by Side by Sondheim.”
The next performance was a revival of “A Candle on the Table,” one
of the one acts presented in “Two For the Show” in 2016 as the
Kansas entry to the AACT Region V festival in Minnesota. This was
followed with “Greater Tuna” at TPAC and finally a presentation of “The
Hysterical History of Cleopatra” for the Aaron Douglas Art Fair.
In 2018 ACT once again was on the move. Our new home became
The Break Room in downtown Topeka with an additional
performance location of Grace Episcopal Cathedral.
Our 2019 season again brought change with new opportunity. The
Forest Park retreat center on east 10th Street was in the process of
adding new events to their schedule. ACT was given the opportunity to
move our storage items (set pieces) from a monthly expense storage
facility in Meriden KS to free storage at Forest Park. In turn we agreed
to partner with the Park to produce some of our shows in their facilities
and to hbox ofelp with maintenance and income for the Park. Not
wanting to leave our excellent downtown facilities in The Break Room,
ACT decided to split the 2019 season between the two venues with
hopes of some permanence at each location.