Aldersgate Church Community Theater has been entertaining Fairfax County audiences for three decades. Founded in 1990, the company originally mounted just one or two shows per year. Today, it does four, including an annual children’s production.
“Our mission is to provide residents of our area with the ability to experience quality theater at affordable prices,” said Marg Soroos, an ACCT veteran who has produced and stage managed multiple productions, while also often serving as master electrician, sound designer, and lighting designer. “We try to have interesting shows that are family-friendly.”
The current season will open with William Inge’s “Bus Stop,” opening on March 29. Director Eleanore Tapscott is helming her third production for ACCT, and says the company’s venue at Aldersgate United Methodist Church at the southern edge of Alexandria has its advantages.
“The ACCT stage has its challenges — it is very narrow,” Tapscott said. However, “one element that makes ACCT unique is the ability to rehearse on the actual stage, minimizing those instances of readjusting after moving from the rehearsal room to the stage.”
While ACCT has no official core company, Soroos said there are several performers who appear regularly, including Emily Golden, who will portray aspiring nightclub singer Cherie in “Bus Stop,” and Richard Isaacs, who will play bus driver Carl. “We are fortunate to have many people audition for shows and don’t have to ‘beat the bushes’ too frequently,” Soroos said.
One challenge in running a community theatre, according to Soroos, is finding new directors, producers, and designers. ACCT is a small company, and board members find themselves playing multiple roles. But ACCT has a loyal following, with shows often drawing 60 to 100 patrons per performance.
“We look to the Mount Vernon community to support our theater,” Soroos said. “So far, this has been a source of strength for us.” Beyond the core following, ACCT relies on social media and online ads as well as old-fashioned means like flyers and yard signs to get the word out.
Both Soroos and Tapscott say the larger regional theatre community is essential to ACCT’s success. “ACCT is one of many Metro D.C.-area community troupes producing amazing theatre,” Tapscott said.
Soroos agreed, saying, “There is a strong feeling of community within the theaters in this area.” In the Alexandria area, Little Theatre of Alexandria and Port City Playhouse share many actors and crew members with ACCT. “LTA and Port City have been a great source of support throughout the years, as we have been for them,” said Soroos.
ACCT’s season will continue with “Southern Hospitality” by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten, directed by Eddie Page in July, and Eric Coble’s stage adaptation of Lois Lowry’s novel “The Giver,” directed by Jennifer Lyman, in late September.
To learn more about Aldersgate Church Community Theater, visit ACCTonline.org.