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The Association of Community Theatres of Manitoba (ACT) Inc had its beginnings in the Fall of 1976. At that time, several active theatre patrons perceived the need for a Community Theatre Festival program. This program was sponsored by the Manitoba Theatre Workshop (now Prairie Theatre Exchange) and supported in its development by the appointment of a Director of the Outreach Program to the Festival Advisory Board. In 1978-1979, the Community Theatre Festival was realized. In 1982, the Board changed its name to The Association of Community Theatres of Manitoba Inc. to encompass the growing scope of the program from a local, to that of a provincial organization. December of 1987, however, found the Association with a depleted executive and eroded rural participation. It was then that a steering committee was formed and a new executive was elected in February of 1988. The new executive acted quickly and in the 1988-89 term initiated new memberships, appointed regional representatives in all regions and co-ordinated Regional Workshops. This began the renewal of the Association's relationship with community theatre groups. ACT is now a strong, non-profit organization that represents amateur theatre groups throughout the province, and actively pursues the goals and objectives outlined in the Association's mandate. Since 1991, ACT has been a registered charity with the Province of Manitoba.
Member Groups benefit by representation from their region. There are five regions defined throughout the Province. An elected or appointed Regional Representative maintains a liaison between the member groups and the Board. In addition, member groups are invited to nominate one active member of their group for representation at the Association's General Meetings and Annual Meeting. These individuals serve as a vital communication and information link between the Association and the member group.
The ACT Newsletter is distributed twice each year to keep member groups informed on local and provincial developments in community theatre. Member groups are invited to contribute articles on their activities and a calendar of their events, as well as any articles of general interest.
The Association presently offers travel assistance to its member groups to attend the Provincial Festival, theatre development programs, conferences and meetings.
ACT offers financial assistance in the form of two initiatives: the Scholarship Fund for individual members of ACT, and the Theatre Development Fund for member groups. Both funding initiatives enable the membership to participate in programs specific to their needs. This assistance may include registration fees for individuals, travel and expenses for a qualified instructor, as well as other expenses incurred by a host group. Guidelines and application forms have been developed to assist individuals or groups wishing to utilize either or both of these initiatives.
Once a year the Association sponsors a non-competitive provincial community theatre festival. Each year a different Manitoba community hosts the festival. The festival entries are from the membership and are adjudicated by theatre professionals from across Canada. Entrants can benefit by having their piece workshopped following adjudication. The festival is usually a 2-day event. [ACT Festival History]
ACT offers assistance to new or developing groups through the Regional Representatives and Board Executive.
The promotion, training and financial assistance provided to member groups has been in the neighbourhood of $20,000 each year.
The activities created through our efforts have been the result of many volunteer hours by the Executive and our members. To
substitute the economic value of theatre arts for their creative and spiritual value would be a severe distortion. The enrichment of
community life and cultural standards within the community through collective volunteer effort is the real point of focus.
Financial support of the Association is derived through membership fees and
earned revenue from programs and fund-raising.
The Association gratefully acknowledges the funding provided by