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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Children & Youth, Performing Arts, Performing Arts Schools, Youth Development Programs

Mission: The purpose of acme theatre company is to provide youth in and around the city of davis, california with exposure to the theatre arts as well as educational programs.

Programs: During the tax year a group of students produced and presented four theatrical productions to the davis community. During the tax year a group of students taught summer drama classes for elementary and middle school students through the davis art center. Acme members staffed the entire program, wrote and directed the plays, provided all the technical expertise, and taught the younger students to present their own theatrical productions. Approximately 70 high school students gained skills and experience in theatre arts and operations and acquired general life skills in time management, teamwork, and personal accountability.

Community Stories

10 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love Acme so much. When I first joined Acme, I knew no one. When my first show was over, I didn't want to leave. Acme has changed my life for the better. I'm a lot more outgoing, far less shy, and I learned a lot while working with them. The people are amazing, the atmosphere is professional, and the experience is life-changing.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Acme Theater Company is a theater company run by and for teenagers and its motto is "serious theater for the fun of it." I have been in Acme for 3 years now and I have worked as an actor, lighting designer, and served on the Acme Council of Executives as member-at-large. Acme allows teenagers to assume positions of leadership with many responsibilities that teenagers are hardly ever trusted with. I have grown as a person due to my involvement in Acme and I have learned many valuable life skills such as time management, working in groups, leading a team, working with children during Acme's summer camp, and serving on a board. Acme is my home away from home, my family and the place that I most want to be.

Frances D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I got involves with Acme this year in their production of Cyrano De Bergerac. It was my fist play with them and I was super nervous but they all immediately made me feel at home. They were all so welcoming and kind that I right away started feeling part of the family and made tons of new friends. We had rehearsal all the time but far from being tedious or getting in the way of other activities, it just seemed like the more time we put in, the more we wanted to. The plays at acme are done almost exclusively by the kids, that means all the costuming, publicity, sound, lights, set and props are all designed and executed by us. It created a space where we are all eager to do more because the more you put in the better it comes out. I don't think I have ever worked on anything harder in my life and the results couldn't have been more rewarding because it was ours. It really is a wonderful thing to work with so many people who absolutely love what they are doing.

Millisant F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started acting in eighth grade when I was pulled to a drama club meeting by a friend. Being new to the world of theater, I had no idea how the whole thing worked, and I didn't know anything about theater. It was fun, I knew that much. I was in four shows in Jr. High (two were musicals) and figured it was just something fun I was going to do on the side of the rest of my life. However, one day in ninth grade, my mother mentioned how two of the girls I had been acting with at school had started working with Acme Theater Company, and she had thought that since I enjoyed theater, I should try out for their spring show. Now, while I happen to be one of the weirdest people around (which I enjoy being) and did like theater, I have always been kind of shy around new people, and I didn't have many friends. I also wasn't sure if theater was something I really LOVED. So, I told my mother I would think about it. I didn't audition for the show, but I did go and see it. It was As You Like It, and it was great. It looked like it had been so fun to do, and I was extremely sore with myself for not auditioning for a very long time. I learned that Acme would be doing the Three Musketeers during the summer, and I knew that there was no way I was going to miss out on that. I showed up to auditions, and it seemed everyone knew everyone else, or at least knew someone there. Except me. I was close to turning around when I saw some people I knew in the corner, and made a quick cross over there. They went around and talked to people, and I quietly followed, wondering what I had gotten myself into. But I met some really cool people that day, and ended up having loads of fun. Over the summer, the fun continued and I fell in love with Acme and acting. I started working with the company through the new season, working stage management, ushering and acting. I can't help but think sometimes what my life would have been like if I hadn't stepped out of my comfort zone. I'm no longer afraid of walking into a new situation where I don't know anyone, I have something to do after school and during the summer, and I've become friends with people I would have never met if I hadn't walked into the DHS vocal room that summer day. More importantly, I've found a passion for something that I never would have, and with that new doors were opened to things I never knew I loved. Acme has changed my life dramatically, and for the better. I know it will continue to change my life, and I want it to. If I could type how much I loved this company, and how much it has changed my life, it would go on forever. Acme is the best thing that could have happened to my life, the people are some of the best people I could ever know, and it's an experience I will never forget.

Nick17

Volunteer

Rating: 5

At the beginning of many Acme Meetings members of the council are invited to share an "Acme Moment". The definition of Acme is the point of utmost attainment so we share experiences linked to the production process that express utmost attainment either physically or emotionally. This sort of experience seems fitting for what your asking. Once when asked I shared a story that goes something like as follows. I was sitting on the edge of the stage before my post-show clean-up job needed to be completed and listening to the various alumni reminisce about their Acme experiences. The winter show this year was the same play, although a different adaptation and different script, as one that had been performed over the summer ten years ago. One of the more prominent Acme alums pointed at me during the discussion and said "I was you, ten years ago I was you!" This particular Alum had played the same character as I in his production ten years ago and once asked most of the adults that were still there put forth some recollection of that production whether it was the set design or the 50 white shirts that had needed to be sewn or of the intricate fight choreography all of them had a different story to share. As I was walking home I couldn't help thinking that I could live a very happy and full life, in fact I would feel rather unfulfilled if i did not, return to come see the company in years to come. So my Acme moment was in that moment when I promised myself that I would need to return to see as many of the future plays as I could, as well as to pass as much of my knowledge and experience on to the future generations as possible.

Deanna G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Acme Theatre Company has changed and bettered my life so much. I remember when I first joined I was so nervous for the audition. But Emily, the Artistic Director, made me feel calm and made me smile as soon as I walked in the door. And although I didn't get in the play, there was PLENTY of opportunities to get involved. I helped tech for it and I just couldn't get enough of it. Since then, Acme has become one of my passions and I feel that without it, I'd be lost in a world of blandness and nothing but school. Not only has Acme taught me many life lessons, but I can now call pretty much everyone in the company part of my family.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had just moved to Davis and was at a completely new school. I had no friends, except for girls I knew in choir, and spent all of my spare time studying or working with animals on campus. One day, I saw an audition info sheet in the choir room for something called Acme Theater company. It was the last day of auditions for their winter show, Cyrano de Bergerac. I called the number and got an audition later that day. That was probably the best decision I have made in my life so far. Instantly, I was adopted into a family of wonderful people all working to better the community with the power of theater. Rehearsals after school and on weekends were a joy to go to, every minute spent on the production was fulfilling and worth every drop of sweat, love, and blood that went into it. Acme pulled me out of depression and gave me a sense of purpose, not to mention friends and happiness. I hope to be in future productions, but even if I can't, I will always have the friends and experiences they gave me from that one time. Please consider Acme for your donation so they can continue to help other kids in the way they helped me.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Acme Theatre Company is more than a nonprofit organization. I made more friends in my one year with this company that my 3 years of high school, both in the company and in the community we served. Acme has helped me develop myself as a person, but also helped me become a part of my community.

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am 16 years old and have been a member of Acme for 4 years. During that time I have learned far more about leadership, stress control, responsibilty, and family than I could ever have learned anywhere else. I am the Master Costumer and with this post comes duties such as designing costumes, teaching teens to sew, keeping track of all the costumes as well as fixing any of those repairs that just pop up. The skills I've learned in Acme have definitely affected my success as a leader everywhere else and I could not possibly have wished for a better company to teach me.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The nonprofit group known as Acme Theatre Company has, for 29 years, dedicated itself to bringing high quality, fun, affordable theatre to the community of Davis, Ca, in a manner that enables teenagers age 13 through 18 to take charge and become leaders both on and off the stage. The finances of Acme Theatre Company are controlled by an organization known colloquially as "The Invisible Council of Elders," or ICE. ICE does not control anything relating to the artistic direction of any of the theatrical performances, but rather, simply makes sure that Acme follows all rules and regulations such as obtaining release forms and maintaining high standards of safety at all times. The majority of the company never actually interacts with ICE (I never have), hence the "invisible" nature of the group. The more important governing group within Acme Theatre Company is the "Acme Council of Executives," or ACE, a legislative body comprised entirely of students. The members of ACE are democratically elected once a year by the general population of Acme Theatre Company, and the services they provide to the company are invaluable in making artistic conception a theatrical reality: the Production Manager handles publicity; the Stage Manager takes charge of corralling the actors and maintaining backstage safety; the Master Carpenter teaches fellow students how to operate drills, saws, and other set-building equipment in a safe and secure manner to ensure that massive sets come to life without causing any injuries in the process; the Costumer turns strips of fabric and old stuff found in thrift stores into works of art upon the actors' body; the Master Electrician programs light boards, focuses lights and finds public domain sound effects when necessary; the Properties Master manages the vast array of props at the company's disposal and makes sure none of the dangerous props (such as sabers and starter pistols) wind up causing harm to any of the actors; the Education Program Coordinator organizes the company's annual field trip to the Ashland Shakespeare Festival and runs the company's Summer Kids' Program (more on that later); and the Webmaster ensures everyone is free from harassment and foul language on the company's heavily trafficked message board. ACE also includes two Members-At-Large, whom are often considering running for one of the other positions with more responsibility and first want to experience what being an ACE member is like. In charge of this whole show is the Artistic Director of the company, an adult appointed by ICE to choose, conceptualize, cast and direct the three full-length productions that Acme puts on every season. For 28 years, Dave Burmester, who founded the company in 1980, was the artistic director of Acme Theatre Company. He just recently stepped down to retire and Emily Henderson, an Acme alumna and Wellesley graduate, took over as Artistic Director. Directing all three plays for the first time this past season, Emily chose Macbeth for the Winter Show, The Beaux' Strategem by George Farquhar (Adapted by Thornton Wilder and Ken Ludwig) for the Spring Show (which is free) and Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind: 30 Plays in 60 Minutes (hereafter referred to as TML) for the Summer Show. The latter production was originated by the Neo-Futurists of Chicago, but Emily chose to allow the entire cast the opportunity to generate its own two-minute plays in celebration of TML being Acme's 100th show. Thus, TML contained entirely original material developed by students age 13 through 18; the company generated a total of 80 plays and split them in rotation amongst two unique casts. Perhaps the most valuable service Acme Theatre Company provides for the community is the Summer Kids' Program, the one and only aspect of the company which is also run through the City of Davis (although some feel that since the company is independent of City finances in all other areas, the Kids' Program should also be under Acme's full dominion since Acme members [colloquially called Acme-ites] actually do all the work in the Kids' Program with nothing more than legal ties to the City). I wrote three plays for the Kids' Program, one of which I directed, and have helped out with the shows every summer in which I have been a member of the company. Working with the elementary and junior high school-age children is a wonderful learning experience not only for the kids, but for the high school students who work with them as well. One summer, three plays were set to be performed (one of which I wrote), but not enough kids signed up for the program, so I was allowed to direct full-fledged Acme-ites in my play, which rehearsed alongside the kids. This experience was very encouraging to the children in the Kids' Program who hoped to perform in full productions of Acme shows once they were older as they could see the "big kids" going through the same process they were. I wrote one of my two college essays about this experience, and it got me into UC Berkeley, which I currently attend. For more information about Acme Theatre Company and the Summer Kids' Program, please read this article, of which the following is an excerpt: http://www.davislifemagazine.com/Content.aspx?m=5/1/2008&cId=1214 "One of Acme’s enduring legacies to the city of Davis is its summer program which began 25 years ago. This is a theater program that introduces kids to theater, starting with opportunities for children in kindergarten and first grade with the Drama Potpourri program. This is an introduction to some of the elements of drama – getting kids used to expressing themselves through pantomime and wearing costumes. The Introduction to Drama course is for students entering the third and fourth grades, and focuses more intensely on the elements of stagecraft and performing. The course ends with an evening of short plays, which the class presents. Drama Production is for children entering fifth through eighth grades, and focuses on elements of acting, as well as the more technical aspects of a theater production. This course culminates in one-act plays, entirely coordinated by the members of the Acme Theatre Company. While on the surface, this sounds like a fairly standard drama program, keep in mind it is run entirely by the members of the Acme Theatre Company – these are teenagers, taking the skills they’ve learned and teaching them to younger kids. Many of the children in the programs go on to become members of the Acme Company." While I listed myself as "Volunteer" under the section that asks for my role in the company, I just as easily could have listed myself as a "Client Served." Being a volunteer for the company actually provided a service not only to the community, but to myself as well. For instance, when I helped to rebuild the stage at the local Davis Art Center (the decrepit stage upon which Acme had traditionally performed its Spring Show), I both contributed to the company and improved the community in which I lived. Of all nonprofit organizations, Acme is the most highly sophisticated (most especially considering how little resources we have) and most valuable for mental, emotional and physical health of the average American teenager. I only wish that Acme were in more locations than just Davis, Ca. Perhaps someday it shall be. -Alex Kravitz Visit Acme's website for information about the our 30th Season (09-10), in which we will perform Eurydice, As You Like It, and The Three Musketeers: http://www.acmetheatre.net/