1987: Don Williams was hired by UC Santa Cruz for a technical position within the Theater Arts department. At the same time, he mentored THEA 50: Fundamentals of Theater Production, which introduces students to lighting and sound.
1991: AATAT was officially founded under the leadership and direction of Williams. He also started to teach students about the production of theater arts by studying scripts and rehearsals.
May 1992: AATAT’s first performance, “Ceremonies in Dark Old Men,” ran for four days at the Stevenson Event Center. With roughly 250 people in attendance each night, AATAT was able to establish the African American Student Scholarship Fund of $1500 through donations.
1994: AATAT classes got university recognition, Williams was able to receive payment and students were able to receive units for taking the classes.
May 2004: Williams was facing termination, but protests and support from students and efforts from Acting Chancellor Martin Chemers kept him at UCSC.
February 20, 2021: After 30 years of putting on shows that explore the many aspects of the Black experience and supporting Black UCSC students, AATAT celebrated its anniversary with a gala featuring national leaders of Black Theater, AATAT alumni, and current students.