Amelia Community Theatre was chartered in 1981 as a nonprofit organization to be operated as a community benefit. Forty-one years later, ACT has met and far exceeded its founding principles. Through the dedication and generosity of hundreds of volunteers and donors, ACT has produced more than 300 shows for adults and children...and is still a successful, volunteer-based, nonprofit organization!
For the first 10 years, most of ACT's performances were presented in the Fernandina Beach High School auditorium, which is now the middle school. The first ACT play, "Butterflies Are Free," a Tony Award-winning drama, was produced in May 1981 at the Woman’s Club. ACT’s second production, in October 1981, was "Duet Macabre," two one-act plays: "The Monkey’s Paw" and "The Rocking Chair," produced at St. Michaels Church Parish Hall. ACT began a regular season of four main stage shows in 1982 that were presented at the high school, including ACT's first musical, "Li'l Abner." It was also the venue for "Arsenic and Old Lace," which kicked-off the 1983 season.
The school auditorium and several other local buildings served as performance spaces until ACT purchased a vacant school board building at 209 Cedar Street in 1988, which became ACT’s first permanent home and is now named Studio 209. The first show in this building was "Dracula" in 1990. Renovations were completed in time to present the 1992-1993 season shows.
The Studio 209 theatre building was quickly drawing near-capacity audiences for every performance. In 2004, a capital campaign was launched to raise funds for a new performance space to be built on ACT-owned property adjacent to ACT’s 209 Cedar Street property.
In April 2010, the beautiful 7,500 sq. ft. building called the Main Stage, with an auditorium capacity of 170 seats, welcomed patrons to watch the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta "Pirates of Penzance." The Main Stage now holds up to 186 patrons. In 2020, capabilities for creating professional quality video broadcasts were added.
In 2020, ACT’s six-show Main Stage season had limited in-person seating due to the pandemic. Every performance was livestreamed to provide live theatre to at-home audiences during these difficult times. ACT's resilience and ability to pivot throughout the pandemic is a testament to the ACT staff, volunteers and community's commitment to preserving the future of our beautiful theatre. Thanks to the continued support from our members, donors and volunteers. ACT is excited and proud to present six productions on the Main Stage in the 2021-2022 season and welcome back audiences to enjoy live, in-person theatre once again!