The Federation of Amateur Theatrical Societies of South Africa was founded in 1938 in Krugersdorp by the representatives of 20 amateur dramatic societies in South Africa. The Federation was led by the head of the Krugersdorp Municipal Dramatic and Operatic Society, Petrus Philippus Benjamin Breytenbach. The aims of the Federation was the promotion of co-operation and collaboration between the theatrical societies, establish scholarship funds to promising members within the societies and assist with academic facilities, costumes and scenery. From 1939, the Federation encouraged playwriting through competitions, as well as drama and music festivals and stood for the rights of royalties and performing fees being paid to the performers and play writers.
The 20 societies under the Federation were all English spoken, while later, many Afrikaans groups became affiliated with them and were soon known as an influential bilingual national organization. The Federation ran in 30 districts with each district being run by representatives of the affiliated theatrical societies that also represented the central executive committee of the Federation. Each of the 8 Provinces elected a vice-president at an annual conference held in Krugersdorp by the Federation, which promoted indigenous playwriting and one-act plays – two of which were Afrikaans plays that were published under the sponsorship of the society. By 1950, over 150 companies were affiliated with the Federation totaling the combined membership around 15,000. The Federation staged over 500 productions throughout their existence. In 1955, a decision was made by the central committee to decentralize the Federation and in the 1960s it was disbanded.