In 1987, when financial difficulties forced the Brunswick City School District to
introduce severe cutbacks in educational programs, several Brunswick graduates approached
the high school administration with a proposal to assist the high school theatre
program. A "pay to participate" fee for extra curricular programs threatened
the ability of many students to take part in the high school plays and in the activities
of the International Thespian Society, the honorary organization for high school
drama students. These graduates felt that their high school education had been significantly
enriched by their theatre activities, and they were concerned for those who might
lose such opportunities because of financial restrictions.
Janice Gerda, Bryan Lewis, and Eric Berken, members of the BHS class of 1985, approached
Pete Goulis, the assistant principal in charge of student activities, to ask if
they and other graduates of the theatre program might put on a production to raise
money for a fund to cover the "pay to participate fee" for students who
could not afford it. The idea found support from Mr. Goulis, Principal Jim Hayas,
and other administrators who then asked Theatre Department head Nancy Sprowls for
her cooperation in the project.
Early in the fall, before these college students returned to campus classes, they,
and others who had appeared in BHS productions, organized and presented a production
of The Good Doctor. The profits on the show were turned over to the school
district and provided assistance for six students who otherwise could not have participated
in the theatre program.
In 1989, several of the community residents who had appeared in the 1987 production
approached Nancy Sprowls to see if a summer production with a cast of BHS alumni
and community members could be produced. The positive experience they had had in
the previous 1987 production had made them eager to continue theatre as a recreational
and educational activity. The Brunswick Entertainment Company no longer existed,
so Brunswick had lost its community theatre. There was a void in community life
that could be filled by the reestablishment of an adult community theatre. An Alumni
Community Theatre Committee was established to coordinate this summer production
with the high school theatre program and with community activities. The members
of the committee were Elizabeth Ann Kiraly, Jeffrey League, and Nancy Sprowls.
Each summer in the following years the group organized and produced a full length
show. Summer productions included: See How They Run, The Matchmaker, George Washington
Slept Here, Harvey, Noises Off, Rumors, Steel Magnolias, God's Favorite, Murder
at the Vicarage, Inspecting Carol, Moon over Buffalo, Crimes of the Heart,
and in recent years, Fools (2001) and Heaven Can Wait (2002). A "company
of young actors" directed and managed a production of Of Mice and Men
in February of 2003 as a benefit for The Brunswick Education Foundation. In July
of 2003, ACT staged its first full length musical,
1776, on the high school Performing Arts Center Stage.
With the opening of the Brunswick Rec Center with its Multipurpose Room stage, the
theatre company was able to expand and add a second production to its season, a
musical review. For the first three years a "Cabaret" show, focusing on
music from the theatre, was presented in March at the Rec Center. Cabaret IV was
presented on the stage of the Visintainer Center in cooperation with the YM. The
company returned to the Rec Center in 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000 for Cabaret productions.
In March of 2001, ACT staged a published musical review, Red, Hot, and Cole.
In addition to assisting the Rec Center in hosting annual touring children's theatre
productions of the Magical Theatre, ACT produced its own children's show in December
of 1996 - The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and staged another children's show
of two one-acts in December of 2000. "The Actor's Nightmare" for Bravo
Brunswick was staged in January of 2002. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever began the
2002-2003 Season in December of 2002. In March of 2003, ACT produced The Auction,
a Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre at
Along the way, the original "Committee" was expanded to a
Board of Trustees, and the process of incorporation was completed in December