ATAC was founded in September 1990 as a non-profit, all volunteer organization governed by a board of directors. There has never been any staff and all work is carried out by the board members. The organization is recognized as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit by the Internal Revenue Service.
The founding members of the Board of Directors were Jasmina Wellinghoff, Byrd Bonner, John Igo, Dan Goddard, Lisa Vance, Sherrie Shirky, Alan Craven, Brooks Hill, Barbara Moore, Louisa Kerry-Rubinstein, and David Mangelsdorff. The volunteer judges were appointed by the board. The three San Antonio theater critics served as permanent judges. Only productions reviewed by the three newspapers (San Antonio Light, Express-News and Times-Recorder) were judged.
Nominations for the first Globe Awards were announced on August 25, 1991. (See 1st Annual ATAC Globe Award results.)
The first ATAC Globe Awards Gala was held on September 15, 1991 at the San Antonio Little Theatre (now San Pedro Playhouse). Four Hundred and Fifty attended. Awards were in the following categories: Set Design, Costume Design, Lighting Design, Music Direction, Choreography, Original Score, Original Script/Concept, Featured Actors in a Musical and a Play, Featured Actresses in a Musical and a Play, Lead Actors in a Musical and a Play, Lead Actresses in a Musical and a Play, Directors of a Play and a Musical, Best Production-Play and Best Production-Musical. There was a special award for special contribution to San Antonio theater. The awardees are listed in the archives as the 1st Annual ATAC Globe Awards. Each winner was awarded a trophy and $100.
For the 1991-1992 Season Awards, “Play” was divided into Play (later to be called Drama) and Comedy adding 5 new categories to the awards. Nominations and winners are here: 2nd Annual ATAC Globe Awards.
In the 1992-93 Season, the category “Play” was changed to “Drama”. Also in that season, more college and university theaters were added to the theaters judged and in 1994 the tabulation of ballots was shifted to independent tabulator.
The most significant change in the ATAC Globe awards came in 2000. With the new millennium came a new awards system. Instead of a “winner”, actors, designers, directors and productions would be rewarded for Excellence. All performances/designs/productions achieving above a particular score vetted for statistical significance by the ATAC board would be recognized. This system was borrowed from the Village Voice and is used for the Obie Awards.
In 2023 the ATAC Board elected to adjust the format of the awards from recent years. Each category will now have five top-scoring nominees with one recipient unless there is a tie or a lesser amount of eligible nominees in the category. Only productions submitted by their producing theatre for judging are eligible for a nomination. All nominees will be recognized for their excellence in theater.