ACT Theatre Company, formerly known as Auburn Community Theater, is evolving into a new entity. The organization 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 much fun that the friends decided to put on another show in the 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 show.
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 murder mystery.
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 ACT had scheduling conflicts with ACCA. After dates were approved and advertised and tickets were sold the community center double booked the facility and requested ACT to remove our equipment during the day and replace it. This was contrary to verbal and written contracts and caused great hardship on the ACT staff, board and volunteers. When ACT complained about the violation of the contract, ACCA terminated their lease agreement/partnership with ACT effective December 31, 2016. Consequently, ACT decided to continue as a new organization (no longer Auburn Community Theater) and is sought a new venue to continue their efforts and mission statement of providing quality entertainment for area communities and volunteer experiences and education in the theatrical and performance arts. The Topeka Performing Arts Center presented itself as the opportunity for growth and development for the Community Theater.