A perspective of aactWORLDFEST from Stacy Howell Executive Director, Mississippi Theatre Association Theatre Standards Co-Chair, Mississippi Department of Education Contractor, Mississippi Whole Schools, Mississippi Arts Commission Board Member, Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one … Continued
Unfortunately we, along with our partners at AACT, have made the difficult decision to postpone aactWORLDFEST ’24 due to catastrophic damage from Hurricane Ian. We had hoped to have repairs completed by then, but that will not happen in time to host the festival. AACT Executive Director Quiana Clark-Roland says,
“The AACT theatre community is deeply saddened that we cannot gather in Venice next summer to experience aactWORLDFEST. This festival never fails at bringing us the most exceptional and thought-provoking theatre from all over the world. This will be a considerable loss for our international and local theatre communities.
During this time however, we will do all that we can to support Venice Theatre and its community towards rebuilding. We hope that you will consider supporting those efforts as aactWORLDFEST works to re-open in 2026!”
What is aactWORLDFEST?
A world-wide week-long community theatre festival featuring shows from around the globe, parties, workshops, and more!
Delightful dinners, after-glow gatherings, impromptu drum circles, and “lobby gabs” make up the recipe for life-long, global friendships!
Enjoy a variety of learning experiences involving an array of theatre forms. Workshops vary from the care and styling of theatrical wigs to mindfulness for actors.
Lots of Theatre!
Delight in performances from top-quality theatre troupes from around the globe. Many perform in their native language, but it’s easy to follow what’s happening because the language of theatre is universal!
Twelve countries shared performances with us in 2022: Armenia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Central African Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, United Kingdom, a virtual performance from Ukraine, and the United States!
If you have questions or would like further information about any area of the festival, please contact the Festival Coordinator, Alyssa Goudy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also encourage you to go to the American Association of Community Theatre’s website at www.aact.org for more information about AACT.
“Les Perroquets de Bangui” translates from French to “Parrots of Bangui,” and the troupe has flown from Bangui, their nation’s capital, landing in Venice, Florida to present what is surely one of the most innovative, disturbing, and – yes, amusing — presentations ever of a history marked by foreign and domestic oppression, human rights abuses, … Continued
It starts Scottish enough, what with the fog billowing over the stage and all, but trust me, Teatro delle Ombre’s production is not your father’s Macbeth. Clan Macbeth is something you might dream if you spoke Italian. And a fascinating dream it would be! No witches stirring the pot, but a joker energizing the plot … Continued
– By Alison Guerrero-Heidman – Poland’s production of Symbiosis is what I would describe more as a performance art piece rather than a traditional play. Combining stylized movement, dance, music, singing and some dialogue, a story is woven together about women, what we carry with us, and what we pass on to the next generation. … Continued
– By Alison Guerrero-Heideman – The thing that comes to mind when I see a show like the United Kingdom’s A Man of No Importance is “specificity.” In a pantomime play like this one, your movements have to be so specific and deliberate that there can’t be any question as to what action you are … Continued
– By Lisa Hamilton In a world in which it’s often difficult to determine the moment when the sublime becomes ridiculous, when the ordinary becomes extraordinary, when the good goes wrong, it’s both satisfying and disturbing to see a performance depicting the vast variety of human experience and emotion as 1930s Germany slid into Hitler’s … Continued
– By Lisa Hamilton The Fabulous Journey is a fabulous piece of tiramisu: sweet, but not cloying; traditional, but fresh; and perfectly Italian through and through. The commedia dell’arte Maner Manush of Rome brings to aactWORLDFEST salutes the traveling theatre troupes of the 14th -17th centuries that likely originated with the Carnival of Venice (Italy), … Continued
– By Evan Farrar The one-hour riveting play, “The Mountain Top,” begins with prophetic words from Martin Luther King, Jr’s final speech given in Memphis, TN on April 3, 1968, from which the play derives its name. But the unique power of this play begins to emerge when it quickly transitions from that high point … Continued
Meet our adjudication team!
One of our favorite parts of festival is the “adjudication” after the show. Hearing experts share their reactions to the piece helps us better understand what we just experienced.
The job of the adjudicator at an international festival is a challenging one. Shows are often in languages the adjudicator does not speak. Other shows may use types of theatre not often performed in the United States, so a broad knowledge of world theatre is needed. Still others may have little dialogue, telling the story through movement and dance. Many scripts are original, unpublished, and not translated. The adjudicator may only have a short synopsis of the play to read before the performance; so the adjudicator may be no more prepared for what appears on the stage than the audience.
Manuel Ortiz is a Latinx theater artist, educator and producer based in New York. He holds a Bachelor in the Arts with a major in Acting from University of Chile. After graduating, he studied at the Laboratorio Permanente in Italy, and the Grotowski Institute in Poland, on a state grant from the Chilean Ministry of Culture.
He has worked as a director and playwright at the Chilean National Theater, as well as many other theater companies in Chile and the US. He has directed 15 plays, ten of them written by Ortiz himself. In 2015 he wrote and directed Pichanga, a one-man-show about soccer and politics. Pichanga was presented in festivals in Spain, Italy, Germany, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and México and received many awards. Pichanga also toured the US and was presented at AACT WorldFest, Fort Worth Fringe Festival, Atlanta Black Theater Festival, among other venues. The play was published in Spain in 2019.
Manuel worked as a drama teacher at The University of Chile, The University of Cordoba in Argentina, and many other educational institutions. He has also taught several workshops in the USA, Spain, Brazil, Chile and Argentina. He led the colloques at the Mondial du theater in Monaco 2017.
In 2014, he founded the Corredor Latinoamericano de Teatro, a Latin American theater platform that works to bring Latin American theater to new audiences across the world. Until 2022, this organization has produced more than 12 International Theater Festivals in different countries in Latin America and Europe. Manuel was the director of 5 of these festivals.
He moved to New York City in 2019, since then he has directed two shows for American theater companies and one show for his company in Chile. His latest work was a stage reading of his play “American Dream” at Teatro Latea in New York, which was funded by the “City Arts Corp Grants”. Since then, the play was picked up by Latea Theater and will be fully produced in September 2022, with Manuel as the director.
Jan Palmer Sayer
B.Ed., MA, GoDA
Jan studied at Trent Park College and at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance. Eight years ago, she retired as Headteacher of Hertswood, a Specialist Arts College, featured in a BBC’s autumn education series with Professor Dylan Wiliam. In 1998, she was awarded an MA in Theatre and Performance Studies at the same time as running her own theatre company – Shattered Windscreen. Her theatrical exploits have taken her as far afield as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where her production of The Fall of the House of Usher was awarded 5 stars by The Scotsman. In 2015, at the other end of the country, her production of The Grapes of Wrath, the Steinbeck classic adapted by Frank Galati, was one of a sequence of regular appearances by her theatre company at the famous cliffside Minack Theatre and it gained the company another 5-star review as well as the coveted Minack Trophy for the best production of 2015. In 2014, Jan was commissioned by the Arts Council, Isle of Man to direct a community passion play at Easter as the island celebrated its year as the first Island of Culture. Jan’s directing credits include a promenade production of Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde, Our Man in Havana, Alfie and, most recently, Pressure by David Haig which won the British All Winners Festival in July 2021. In 2016, she directed The Frontier Trilogy by Jethro Compton as a piece of immersive theatre and followed this with Compton’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance at the Company of Players, Hertford. In 2019, her company returned to the Minack Theatre with a 5* production of I, Don Quixote, by Dale Wasserman, named runner-up for the Minack Trophy and playing (when it wasn’t rained off!) to full houses. At the moment, she is preparing a production of The 39 Steps for the Minack for September 2021. Recently, she also trod the boards once again, playing Hanna Kennedy in Peter Oswald’s adaptation of Mary Stuart and Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter. 2020 and 2021 has been a rather lean year for all, but Jan has kept herself busy directing Zoom and stage productions and finally managed to tread the boards herself in July 2021 as Mathilde in Horovitz’s My Old Lady.
Jan was appointed as a GoDA adjudicator in 2001. She returned to GoDA’s Council in 2014 to organise the 2015 National Festivals Conference, held in London. She is a past Chairman of the Guild of Drama Adjudicators, and one of the its busiest members. Over the last four years she has adjudicated festivals in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Gibraltar and the USA. For now, she is very much looking forward to returning to Florida and the aactWorldFest – fingers crossed!
While you’re here
Venice, Florida, is a resort city on the Gulf of Mexico, with a population of only 25,000. Most of the city is located on Venice Island, across one of three drawbridges from the mainland.
Venice’s Sandy beaches lie just a 15 minutes’ walk from the theatre. You’ll stroll along Venice Avenue—lined with palm trees and banyan trees—to one of Florida’s most beautiful beaches. While the weather is hot in the summer, you’ll enjoy the cool Gulf breeze as you stroll.
Dozens of restaurants, bars, and shops await you. The shops are as eclectic as the restaurants, and they all look forward to serving you!
Venice is also called The Sharks Tooth Capital of the World. Due to the gulf stream and its oddities, most of the world’s fossilized sharks’ teeth wash up onto the Venice area beaches. A popular low-tide pastime is hunting and collecting a wide variety of them, and making them into ornamental items such as necklaces and bracelets.
Old Florida rivers and creeks lie just a few miles away; you can take a boat ride down the Myakka River. Travelers often encounter alligators and manatees along their way.
Like to golf? There are many courses in the Venice area to choose from, including the championship Plantation G&CC courses, where the Ladies PGA Q-school tournament is held.
Trust us: you’ll find plenty to do.
- Sarasota (just north of Venice) is consistently hailed as one of the nation’s top-five cities for the arts. There is always a wide variety of local theatre, Broadway tours, ballet and orchestra performances, art galleries, and local flavor (such as the world-famous Selby Botanical Gardens and Historic Spanish Point) to enjoy.
- The Ringling Museum, with a huge collection of classic masterpieces—as well as the world’s largest collection of circus art — only 35 minutes away.
- Tampa Bay Rays major league baseball games, just one hour away
- Busch Gardens Amusement Park and Zoological Gardens, just 75 minutes away.
- Walt Disney World, just two hours away
- Universal Studios and SeaWorld, just over two hours away
- Florida Everglades airboat rides, just two hours away
- Kennedy Space Center, just three hours away
- and much, much more. Come early, and stay a few days after. Enjoy all of Florida.