The Association of Community Theatre Inc was formed in the early 1990's after a visit to Sydney from members of the Executive of the Federation of New Zealand Operatic Societies - now called Musical Theatre New Zealand.
A steering committee was formed and in the mid 90's a band of about 20 theatre groups almost all in Sydney became founding members of the organisation.
At first ACT struggled to get groups interested and attendance was poor at seminars. Then in 1996 ACT began a period of rapid expansion.
In 1996 the first launch of SHOWLINE took place in Sydney. ACT released a brochure which listed the performances of 40 theatres in Sydney - all linked to a central telephone number with booking details Showline 1902 260 527 (55c per minute). A function with speakers including representatives of State Government was held and the combined initiative lifted membership to about 50 theatres over the next few years.
ACT has released a SHOWLINE brochure every year since.
In 1998 ACT was successful in gaining a grant from the Australia Council to host the first ever State Conference of Amateur Theatre. It was a great success more than 100 delegates came from all over Australia to attend seminars at the National Institute for Dramatic Arts. Two other successful conferences have since been held in 2000 and 2002. More than 160 delegates enjoyed the two-day conference in the Wharf Theatre Precinct.