PACT was founded in Pretoria on 3rd January 1963 with P.P.B Breytenbach as the first director. It was founded under the same principle as the Cape Performing Arts Board (CAPAB), the Natal Performing Arts Council (NAPAC) and the Performing Arts Council of the Orange Free State (PACOFS) other three organisations to serve what was known then as the Transvaal Province which included Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Northern Province (Limpopo). PACT was a quasi-governmental culture administration, that remained the pillar of support in the art and culture sector of South Africa with the democratic government coming into power.

PACT inherited the assets of the NTO, including the National Theatre in Moerdyk Street and the Marais House in Rissik Street, which served as their first office building. They later moved to Weavind Park and would subsequently move to the administration wing of the State Theatre in Pretoria.

They staged 484 plays and had an attendance of almost 4,5 million people between 1963 and 1981. Many of these plays were original work or new translations, while others included major productions of the classics and modern international repertoires. Some of the works that were staged included The Marriage of Figaro, as well as Romeo and Juliet by the University of Cape Town’s Ballet.

PACT also made an agreement with the Johannesburg Civic Theatre which saw them embarking on a long-term partnership to host its major productions at the Civic Theatre

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