Acme Theatre Company is an independent theatre group for ninth through twelfth grade artists. Founded in 1980 by Davis High School teacher David Burmester and a group of motivated students, Acme has been passed down through generations of youth and adult mentors for over 40 years. The company is now operated under the artistic direction of Acme alumna Emily Henderson in cooperation with a youth leadership team of current company members, and supported by an adult board of alumni, parents, and community members. Acme's mission is to present plays of high literary quality while providing opportunities for young people to learn acting and technical theatre skills and, above all, accountability, responsibility, and teamwork.
Acme produces three mainstage productions and several smaller shows and events each year. In addition, every summer, Acme's youth members organize and teach a series of drama classes for approximately 75 K-8 thespians. In Acme's summer drama classes, K-8 actors and technicians are exposed to all aspects of theatre creation and have an introduction to the kind of responsibility and accountability that Acme productions demand.
Acme's youth membership takes the lead in all of the company's theatrical operations, with as-needed mentorship from a small cadre of adults. This mandate for youth leadership is what gives Acme its unique value. Teens who participate in Acme don't just act, or design and create technical elements: they work toward a common goal and learn accountability to themselves and each other. The success of every production is entirely up to the young people themselves.
For over 40 years, Acme has provided hands-on training in theatrical and life skills for youth in and around Davis. This program has always been available at absolutely no cost to company participants. Acme is financially sustained through ticket sales, fees paid for the K-8 drama camp, individual donations, fundraiser events, corporate sponsorships, and grant funding.