Amateur theatre, also known as amateur dramatics, is theatre performed by amateur actors and singers. Amateur theatre groups may stage plays, revues, musicals, light opera, pantomime or variety shows, and do so for the social activity as well as the artistic side. Productions may take place in venues ranging from the open air, community centres or schools to independent or major professional theatres and can be simple light entertainment or demanding drama.
Amateur theatre is distinct from the professional or community theatre simply in that participants are not paid, although this is not always the case, even though the productions staged may be commercial ventures, either to fund further productions, to benefit the community, or for charity. Amateur actors are not typically members of actors’ unions, as these organisations exist to protect the professional industry and discourage their members from working with companies which are not signatories to union contracts.