Altoona Community Theatre is a not-for-profit organization with one full-time employee who oversees the administration of the group’s activity, supported by a part-time Administrative Assistant and a part-time Wardrobe Supervisor. All production work onstage and backstage is performed by over 200 volunteers who donate their time and talents.
ACT produces four mainstage productions annually in the historic Mishler Theatre, a restored 1906 vaudeville-burlesque house seating 800 people that is rented by the group for the final two weeks prior to each production. The shows – presented in September, November, February and May — are given for four performances each.
ACT averages about 1,300 subscribers for the season from a geographic base of up to 60 miles away. Some subscribers come from as far as Indiana, Johnstown, Bedford, Huntingdon, State College, Boalsburg, Clearfield and Philipsburg. Typical attendance for individual productions rages from 1,600 for non-musicals to 3,000 for musicals. ACT productions are budgeted around $8,000 for a comedy, drama or mystery; $20,000 for a small
musical and $30,000 for a large-scale musical. ACT’s typical expenses for producing musicals include royalties $9,000; orchestra $5,500; sets $2,000; costumes $4,000 and sound $2,500. ACT pays Blair County Arts Foundation nearly $25,000 annually to rent the historic Mishler Theatre for its shows.
In 1983, ACT purchased the former Downtown Elks Lodge operations headquarters, converting the once-vacant building into an administrative office, rehearsal hall, set construction and storage area and costume construction and storage area. Annual operating cost for the facility is $15,000.