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Long Beach Playhouse Hosts the American Association of Community Theatre’s California State Festival

The Long Beach Playhouse is pleased to be the host of the American Association of Community Theatre’s (AACT) 2015 California State Festival (AACTFest). AACT is a national organization dedicated to supporting and developing community theatres throughout the United States.
While the Playhouse is not new to hosting Festivals (they produce a 24-Hour Theatre Festival and a New Works Festival annually), the AACTFest in February is a chance to broaden participation to groups outside the Southern California area, as well as the scope of the productions involved. It’s also the Playhouse’s first major collaboration with AACT. “AACT has many member theatres in California, but our state is one of the few in the nation that does not have a long standing tradition of State Festivals….We polled some of the outstanding theatres across the state and the Playhouse said they were game for it. We had some meetings and they wowed us with their energy, their focus and their commitment to help bring the Fest tradition to California. Working with them has been truly exciting”, Gil Savage, AACT’s Region VIII Representative, states.
The AACTFest will be part of the Playhouse’s Collaborative Series, appropriate for its vision of offering outside theatre companies and other performing arts organizations the opportunity to produce in the Playhouse’s Studio Theater. The Fest fits in a schedule of rehearsals, workshops, productions, adjudication, and an evening awards banquet into an entire day. All in a day’s work for Andrew Vonderschmitt, Executive & Producing Artistic Director. “The initial difference between our regular production schedule (and AACTFest) is, obviously, time. But we have extensive experience in hosting outside companies and artists with our Collaborative Season each year. We are always up to a fast paced challenge and actually look forward to them,” says Vonderschmitt.
In addition to leading the charge in managing logistics, the Playhouse holds the honor of hosting a California AACTFest at the state level for the first time in 5 years (the last CA AACTFest was in Sacramento, in 2009). The opportunity for several theatres to vie for the title of an AACTFest State winner should offer a healthy dose of competition, but more importantly, a rare chance to connect and celebrate what they all have in common: a passion for community theatre. “We’re very excited to host the AACTFest this year. Not only is it right up our alley and serves our mission, but it’s just such a fun prospect. We are going to strive to make visiting theaters feel at home, welcomed, and challenged over the course of the one day festival. This is an incredible opportunity for the Playhouse and an honor to be involved with AACT in any way we can.”
Theatres interested in participating should contact Andrew at the Long Beach Playhouse. Tickets to performances are available through the Playhouse website and box office. There are also several sponsorship opportunities for local businesses and individuals interested in supporting the Fest.

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