The mission of OCTA is "To Promote Excellence in Community Theatre". Its goals are:
- To unite and support all community theatres, organizations and participants, in Oklahoma; and to further connect them with other community theatres in the region and nation.
- To foster communication and dissemination of ideas among OCTA members and other theatre participants in Oklahoma
- To encourage high standards of excellence in community theatre production and management
- To celebrate and promote the achievements of community theatre in Oklahoma
Sally Barnes, OCTA President
As the representative organization for community theatres in Oklahoma, OCTA has a membership of approximately 36 theatres, 5 college and university theatre departments, and 80+ individuals (adults and youth).
OCTA was the first statewide association of community theatres to be incorporated in the United States, and was the first such organization to hire a full-time director. OCTA was founded with assistance from 14 theatre groups (13 of which are still actively producing plays each season). Founding theatres were located in Ardmore, Bartlesville, Claremore, Clinton, Duncan, Elk City, Enid, Lawton, Miami, Oklahoma City, Ponca City, Stillwater, Tahlequah, Tulsa, and Woodward. Founding individuals involved in establishing the organization were Bill Crawford (Lawton), Jeanne Adams Wray (Stillwater), Curt Schwartz (Oklahoma City), and Lil Williams (Ardmore).
OCTA is governed by an elected Board of Directors and an appointed Advisory Council.
Since incorporation, membership has grown from 16 founding theatres and 30 individual members. During the time of greatest membership expansion in the '80's, O.C.T.A.'s membership involved almost 80 theatres over 400 individual members. At that time O.C.T.A. established 11 regions and a system of Regional Representatives for better communication and support.Amended by-laws in 1982 provided that the O.C.T.A. board of directors would appoint these representatives, who would then become advisorsand sitting members on the O.C.T.A. board.The by-laws were again amended in 1993 to omit the regional representative process to streamline the board structure.
In its role of supporting theatre arts at the state, regional and national levels, O.C.T.A. is a dues paying member of the American Association of Community Theatres.
Since 1977, when O.C.T.A. first opened its centralized office, operations have been housed in four locations. Mona Poehling, the first executive director, operated the O.C.T.A office at 400 W. Sheridan in the Oklahoma Theatre Center (currently known as Stage Center). Since that time, the office has located at Park Harvey Center, 200 N. Harvey ('86-'92), 4501 N. Classen Blvd. ('92-'95), First National Tower, Robinson Ave. (November '95- August '05) and from August '05 to the present in the City Place Building, 204 N. Robinson Ave., Ste. 1950. During the 1993 financial crisis, due to a "disastrous" fund-raising event and an "over-spent" series of workshops, O.C.T.A. operated without a full time staff person or Administrative Assistant as it was known at the time and survived with a move to smaller office space and dedicated volunteers conducting office business. The Executive Director position was re-established in May 1994, with the hiring of Kay Armstrong.