Joan and Betty Rayner created the Australian Children's Theatre in 1948. Over the years, the Rayner sisters performed in many parts of the world, bringing enormous joy to many children and adults.

More than two million Australian children were introduced to the pleasures of live theatre by attending the widely acclaimed drama, music, mime and puppet productions of the Australian Children's Theatre. The performances by Joan and Betty were always lively, engaging and uplifting, and did much to build bridges of understanding and regard between people of different cultures and traditions. The Australian Children's Theatre also enabled outstanding international artists and companies to perform to delighted audiences in Australia.

In 1993 the Australian Children's Theatre Foundation was created in order to keep alive the aims of the Australian Children's Theatre and to celebrate the achievements of the Rayner sisters.

Programs supported by the ACTF aim to foster in children a widening interest in and appreciation of the arts and humanities. The ACTF presently enables Regional Arts Victoria's Education & Families program to provide live theatre to disadvantaged primary schools in Victoria.

To date, over 47,000 students have directly benefited from the support of the ACTF.