Grand Rapids welcomes a celebration of community theatre

Grand Rapids is hosting the National Community Theatre Festival, AACTFest, from June 23- 27 at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel and Grand Rapids Civic Theater.

It's a pretty big deal.

Jill Patchin, AACT conference coordinator, says AACTFest will be welcoming hundreds of visitors from around the country to Grand Rapids, all in celebration of community theatre.  "We will have twelve theater companies from all over the United States and the U.S. Armed Services," she says.

Patchin estimates that somewhere between 400-500 people will be taking part in the conference in various roles, the majority of whom are visiting Grand Rapids for the first time.

AACTFest is a program of the American Association of Community Theatre and features the winning theatre productions from across the country and U.S. Armed Services, educational experiences, workshop opportunities and networking opportunities for theatre enthusiasts.

Patchin says the winning productions had to advance through a series of competitions to reach the national event. Now, the companies will be competing against each other in a very unique format. "There is not enough time for a complete production, so the the group starts in a 10x10 space and they have ten minutes to build a stage, 60 minutes to perform, 10 minutes to strike the set." The shows are then judged by three national theatre experts.

All community theatre performances are open to the public and continue throughout ACCTFest. Patchin says the performances will be family friendly, but some might be challenging for younger children.

For a full schedule of performances and to purchase tickets, visit

Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor
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