aactWORLDFEST 2022: June 20-26, 2022

Featuring shows from around the globe, parties, workshops, and more!


What is aactWORLDFEST?

A world-wide week-long community theatre festival in Venice, Florida, USA on Florida’s beautiful southwest coast.

“For theater lovers in our region, there really is nothing quite like the AACT WorldFest, which concluded its third run at Venice Theatre Saturday after a week of international theater productions that were alternately stimulating, thrilling, perplexing and colorful.” ~ Jay Handelman, Herald-Tribune (read more)


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!

Ten countries will share performances with us in 2022: Armenia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, United Kingdom, a virtual performance from Ukraine, and the United States!


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. Stay tuned for a complete listing!


Delightful dinners, after-glow gatherings, impromptu drum circles, and “lobby gabs” make up the recipe for life-long, global friendships!

Who can attend?

Anyone with a love of theatre! You’ll have the time of your life at this Festival in Paradise!

Register Now


We will need volunteers in the following areas. We will also need leaders to help coordinate and organize each area.

  • Distribute posters and make merchants aware of the festival
  • Clean and decorate the theatre
  • Airport pick-up for various people
  • HOME HOSTING (Requires you to have space and actively host your guests. May need to provide breakfast and daily transportation to/from theatre.)
  • Production Building
  • Registration pick-up at hotel (The Venezia)
  • Food Set-up/Food Service for lunch and dinner starting on Saturday
  • Local Transportation (Make-a-Wish Drivers)
  • Information Desk
  • Food Set-up/Food Service (Daily for lunch and dinner)
  • Cleaning Crews (all times of day)
  • Set-up Afterglow Parties (Mon-Wed and Fri-Sat)
  • Translators
  • Set-up / reset space for meetings and workshops
  • General Errand Running
  • Miscellaneous assisting throughout festival
  • Ushers / Crew
  • Airport Transportation
  • Returning the theatre to normal

This is not meant to be a comprehensive list; as we proceed, we will certainly identify additional opportunities and needs.


  • Help you make life-long friends from all over the world
  • Provide a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
  • Provide a few perks:
    • HOME HOSTS. If you are a Home Host, we will give you a full MainStage festival registration. This will include all of the performances in the Jervey Theatre and the ability to attend workshops and parties. If you are hosting a company performing in the Pinkerton Theatre, we will make sure you get to see your company’s performance.
    • FRONT-OF-HOUSE. We will make every attempt to get you in to see shows, depending on availability. Ushers will be welcome to shows the day they work, depending upon availability.
    • ALL OTHERS. We will make every attempt to get you in to see the shows on the day you are working, depending upon availability. Evening shows will be more attended than daytime shows.  If we cannot get you in to the evening performance, we will make every effort to get you in to see the shows the next day.


Please complete a volunteer interest form and return it to Madeline McGrail madeline@venicetheatre.net or in box #72 at the theatre. If you have trouble accessing the form below, please email Madeline to let her know of your interest. Thank you!

Volunteer Interest Form


Armenian Puppetry Workshop

A rare opportunity! This unique workshop will focus on using puppets and marionettes, physical theatre, and aspects of the Stanislavski method. The workshop will result in short performances that will be presented during the aactWORLDFEST closing ceremony.

An afternoon session is being offered for students ages 8-12 and an evening session for students ages 13 through adult.

Learn more & register


  • There will be physicality and movement involved.
  • Students may need to purchase white long sleeve shirts, long pants, white socks and shoes.
  • Housing is available for out-of-town registrants.
  • Scholarships are available.


Samson Movsesyan

Samson Movsesyan

Lead Instructor

Samson lives in Yerevan, Armenia.  He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in direction of dramatic theatre at the Yerevan State Institute of Theater and Cinematography, where he is now a stage director and lecturer. An ongoing project of Samson’s is the Bim Bom TV show which is the Armenian version of Sesame Street, bringing entertainment to children with “dolls made with love coming to life and bringing goodness to the world!”  Samson’s numerous credits include founder of UP Theater, stage director at ACCEA, National Academic Theatre, and the State Marionette Theatre. Samson is also an accomplished actor, author and translator. He holds numerous national and international nominations and awards including, twice winning the Best Young Director ARTAVAZD National Theater Award, Best Director nomination at the ARTFEST International Festival and Best Direction at the Ukrainian Golden Medall of Ministry of Culture for his State Puppet Theatre’s production of Witch, Best Performance for Children at the Armenian National Festival and Best Direction for Christofer at the Krakov WSXID-ZAXID international festival. Samson’s body of work holds special passion for Children’s Theatre.

Karine Onanyan

Karine Onanyan

Puppet Maker

Karine lives in Yerevan, Armenia. She is a puppet maker, and has produced more than 100 puppets for Yerevan State Puppet Theatre. Additionally, she is one of the creators of the muppet TV show Bim, the Armenian version of Sesame Street, which spreads delight to children across Armenia. She enchanted audiences with the creation of Thumbelina’s shadow puppets during Venice Theatre’s 2018 aactWORLDFEST. Karine’s love of puppetry art extends to mask art and sculpting.

Monday, June 20

  • 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
    Opening Ceremony
  • 8 – 9 p.m.
    Performance from Brazil in the Jervey Theatre
  • 9:20 – 10:20 p.m.
    Performance from the USA in the Jervey Theatre
  • 10:20 p.m. – 1 a.m.
    Afterglow Party in the Park

Tuesday, June 21

  • 1 – 2 p.m.
    Performance from the USA in the Jervey Theatre
  • 1 – 2 p.m.
    Commedia performance from Italy in the Pinkerton Theatre
  • 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
    Performance from Brazil in the Jervey Theatre
  • 2:30 – 3:30
    Performance from USA in the Pinkerton Theatre
  • 4 – 5 p.m.
  • 7 – 8 p.m.
    Performance from Germany in the Jervey Theatre
  • 7 – 8 p.m.
    Performance from USA in the Pinkerton Theatre
  • 8:20 – 9:20 p.m.
    Performance from France in the Jervey Theatre
  • 8:30 – 9:30 p.m.
    Commedia performance from Italy in the Pinkerton Theatre
  • 9:40 – 10:40 p.m.
    Performance from Armenia in the Jervey Theatre
  • 10:20 p.m. – 1 a.m.
    Afterglow Party in the Park

Wednesday, June 22

  • 1 – 2 p.m.
    Performance from Armenia in the Jervey Theatre
  • 2:20 – 3:20 p.m.
    Performance from France in the Jervey Theatre
  • 3:20 – 4:20
    Performance from Germany in the Jervey Theatre
  • 5 – 6 p.m.
  • 7:30 – 11 p.m.
    Beach Party at Sharky’s on the Pier

Thursday, June 23

  • 1 – 2 p.m.
    Commedia performance from Italy in the Pinkerton Theatre
  • 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
    Performance from USA in the Pinkerton Theatre
  • 4 – 5 p.m.
  • 6 – 6:50 p.m.
    Documentary: The Best Show in Town in the Jervey Theatre
  • 7:15 – 8:15 p.m.
    Performance from Poland in the Jervey Theatre
  • 8:35 – 9:35 p.m.
    Performance from UK in the Jervey Theatre
  • 9:50 – 10:30 p.m.
    Performance from Switzerland in the Jervey Theatre
  • 10:30 p.m. – 1 a.m.
    Afterglow Party in the Park

Friday, June 24

  • 12:30 – 1:10 p.m.
    Performance from Switzerland in the Jervey Theatre
  • 1:50 – 2:50 p.m.
    Performance from UK in the Jervey Theatre
  • 3:10 – 4:10 p.m.
    Performance from Poland in the Jervey Theatre
  • 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
  • 7 – 8 p.m.
    Performance from Armenia in the Jervey Theatre
  • 8:20 – 9:20 p.m.
    Performance of Clan Macbeth from Italy in the Jervey Theatre
  • 9:40 – 10:40
    Video presentation from Ukraine in the Jervey Theatre
  • 10:40 p.m. – 1 a.m.
    Afterglow Party in the Park

Saturday, June 25

  • 12:20 – 1:20 p.m.
    Video presentation from Ukraine in the Jervey Theatre
  • 1:50 – 2:50 p.m.
    Performance of Clan Macbeth from Italy in the Jervey Theatre
  • 3:10 – 4:10 p.m.
    Performance from Armenia in the Jervey Theatre
  • 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
  • 6:30 – 8 p.m.
    The MTI Red Carpet
  • 8 – 9:30 p.m.
    Closing Ceremony
  • 9:30 p.m. – 1 a.m.
    Afterglow Party in the Park

How do I get to aactWORLDFEST in Venice, FL?

We have three official “ports of call.”

  • Tampa International Airport (TPA), located approximately 65 minutes north of Venice .
  • Somewhat closer (approximately 35-40 minutes) and also available as a port of entry is Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ).
  • Fort Myers (RSW) is 80 minutes south of Venice.

Those attending aactWORLDFEST generally will find more connections and less-expensive rates through TPA.

Also within driving distance are PIE (St. Petersburg/Clearwater-75 minutes) and MCO (Orlando-2 hours-plus).  Miami and/or Ft. Lauderdale are not recommended; they are a 3-4 hours’ drive.

Let us know when you are arriving and departing. Our festival coordinator will help you get to Venice at a minimal cost. Or you can rent a car at the airport and enjoy traveling freedom for the entire week. U.S. car rentals are very reasonably priced.

Where do I stay?

Our partner hotel is Hotel Venezia. Rates are $129 for a room or $159 for a suite. Call 941-308-7700 and mention aactWORLDFEST when making your reservation. Or reserve online now.

Welcome to Venice, Florida, USA!

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVenice’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 gulfstream 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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOld 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.

Deep-sea fishingcanoeing, kayakingparasailingbikingand bird-watching are also popular pastimes in this paradise on the gulf.

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.

For more details about the local area, enjoy browsing these Web sites.

Meet our adjudication team!

One our 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

Manuel Ortiz

Manuel Ortiz holds a Bachelor in the Arts with a major in Acting from University of Chile. After graduating, he studied in a theater laboratory in Italy on a state grant. He has worked as an actor and director at the Chilean National Theater, as well as many other theater companies. He 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 and Argentina. He has directed 10 plays, six of them written by Ortiz himself, including Pichanga, which was published in Spain in 2019. He has presented his plays in festivals in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, México, the US, Spain, Italy and Germany.  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. In September 2019, he will direct the first play of the season for the World Stage Theater Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Jan Palmer Sayer

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!

For more information about how you cansponsor or make a donation to aactWORLDFEST, please contact Festival Coordinator Lori Chase at lorichase@venicetheatre.net. Thank you!

PARTICIPANT Rules and General Procedures 

General Information

aactWorldFest 2022 will be held June 20–26, 2022 in Venice, Florida, USA at Venice Theatre.

The festival brings together performances, workshops and networking during the week.  There is a social gathering each day.

Each company will receive a participation award.  Other awards will be determined by a panel of adjudicators.

Conditions of Participation

Each company will present a complete theatrical performance.  The performance may not run longer than 50 minutes, unless approved in advance by the festival organizers.

All groups will be chosen based on how well their play transcends language barriers.  Plays that rely solely on text to convey their message will not be accepted.

Each company must bring costumes, props, specialized sets which are required for their performance.  The festival will assist you, provided we receive requests at least two months in advance of the festival.  Any requests must be detailed and specific.

For publicity and archival purposes, aactWORLDFEST will photograph and record video footage of participating companies during rehearsal/performance/set up or in workshops.

Travel expenses to the festival will be the responsibility of the participants.  The preferred airport is Tampa, Florida or Sarasota, Florida. We will provide transportation from those airports.  Any other airport must be approved in advance. The festival will provide housing for all members of your group in private homes.  All of these homes are offered by our trusted volunteers in the community. The host will provide breakfast. The festival will provide lunch and dinner.

Venice Theatre provides a professional technical staff.  Please keep non-actors to a minimum.

Application Process

Festival will apply for required VISA applications.

All companies requesting participation will submit the following to the festival organizer:

  • A description of the group, its history and its activity
  • A complete synopsis of the play in English
  • A script of the play in English.
  • Details of technical design and requirements
  • Detailed design requirements needed to be provided by the host theatre.
  • A detailed list of anything that cannot be brought or shipped by your company.
  • A list of the personnel wishing to participate with the group
  • Photos of the performance
  • A link to view the performance, or a large portion of it, online
  • Upon receiving invitation to perform, a copy of every member’s passport.

All companies will be expected to meet any deadlines established by aactWORLDFEST.  Failure to do so could result in invitation being withdrawn.


If you have any further questions, please direct them to the festival coordinator, Lori Chase.


We look forward to hearing from you.

If you have questions or would like further information about any area of the festival, please contact the Festival Coordinator, Lori Chase, at lorichase@venicetheatre.net.  Or call 941-488-1115 extension 271.

Thank you.

We also encourage you to go to the American Association of Community Theatre’s Web site at www.aact.org for more information about AACT.

Contact aactWorldFest

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