Amelia Community Theatre was chartered in 1981 as a non-profit organization to be operated as a community benefit. Nearly 40 years later, ACT has met and far exceeded its founding principles!
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 presented at the high school, including ACT's first musical, "Li'l Abner." The now-middle school auditorium was 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 the purchase of 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-turned-theatre was "Dracula" in 1990. Renovations were completed in time for presenting the 1992-1993 season shows.
The theatre was drawing near-capacity audiences for every performance and, in 2005, 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."
Today, in 2019, ACT’s six-show Main Stage season plus the six-show Studio 209 season offer a wide range of fully staged productions from quirky, dark comedies to thought-provoking dramas to family musicals.