EMACT was founded in the late summer of 1985 by an emergency gathering of individuals concerned with the cancellation of an annual community theatre festival, which had run uninterrupted since 1954. Evidenced from the initial outpouring of concern, a state organization was seen as a necessary means of assuring the continuation of the nation's oldest festival.
It was also apparent that such an organization would provide a valuable means of communication among individuals and theatre companies by collectively addressing their needs and concerns. Educational programming such as workshops and the establishment of a consulting program were adopted that same autumn; as well as other supportive activities, such as a monthly newsletter to promote member company auditions and productions. It was also made clear that groups wanted individual and company recognition for productions performed in their own theatre spaces and from that an annual achievement event was included in the organization's first season.
The organization worked closely with NETC (then the festival hosting organization), to assure that the festival continued until such time as EMACT could take sole sponsorship. By 1992 the organization was ready to transition sponsorship of the Annual Drama Festival and completed the task in 1993. The festival continued on the campus of Brandeis University until 2003, when it moved to Babson College. The festival is now held every other year at Tewksbury High School.
The member groups of EMACT are community theatres of all sizes located in eastern Massachusetts. Our membership extends from Boston to Worcester and from Braintree to Marblehead. Member groups must have a Board of Directors from the community the group serves.
In its 30 years, EMACT has worked to improve its communication and programming. And true to its theatrical nature, it has found opportunity to celebrate its members' achievements, through an annual awards event, culminating in an entertainment filled gala, and presentations of annual award trophies in over 45 categories of excellence.