The Secret Acme History (Burn After Reading)


Our Roots


Dave Burmester originated the role of Acme’s Artistic Director in 1981 when he founded Acme with a group of enthusiastic teens. The company’s first production Bare Stage/Blue Jeans was a simple performance of a series of one-acts on a bare stage. The production cost $250 to produce and was financed through generous donations from Davis’ downtown business community.

For the next twenty-eight years, Dave and his wife, Libby, operated the company and engaged several thousand young people in the process of creating “serious theatre, for the fun of it.”

Free Comedy!


In 1983, the company presented a free Shakespeare performance as a gift back to the Davis community. This free production was the beginning of an annual company tradition. Each Memorial Day Weekend, Acme presents “Free Comedy in the Park” and invites the community to come celebrate!

Acme’s Summer Drama Program


In 1984, Acme began teaching summer drama classes for elementary and middle school students through the City of Davis’ Community Services Department. Acme members staff the entire program, write and direct the plays, provide all the technical expertise, and teach the younger students to present their own theatrical productions.

Creating an Invisible Council


In 2005, Dave Burmester called together a group of Acme alumni, parents and supportive community members to begin discussing his retirement and the company’s future. This group assumed the title of The Invisible Council of Elders or ICE.


A Time of Transition


At the end of the 2008 season, several large transitions occurred. ICE shifted from being an advisory and discussion group to being elected, active members of Acme’s non-profit board. Dave and Libby retired from their roles as Artistic and Managing Director, although Dave continues to serve as board member of the Invisible Council of Elders and holds the position of Artistic Director Emeritus. And Emily Henderson, stepped into the role of Artistic Director.