Evolution of the Guild
The Vero Beach Theatre Guild has a rich history of passion, hard-work, and wholesome commitment to the arts within our community. What started with a team of just a few dreamers grew into a fully-fledged community theatre that has attracted both residents and visitors in the beautiful city of Vero Beach, Florida.
As we celebrated the theatre's 65th season in 2022, we commemorated and looked back upon the decades of art that our wonderful volunteers have provided to our community. The Vero Beach Theatre Guild looks forward to many more decades of creativity, ingenuity, and emotions that are the essence of what makes the Vero Beach Theatre Guild special.
VBTG Through the Years
The Vero Beach Theatre Guild was formed after earlier forays into the theatre by the Business and Professional Women and other groups.
1959 and Onward
Plays were presented at the old naval base, junior high school and high school. Props and costumes were kept, and sets built, in people’s garages.
The Genie Awards were begun, named in honor of Eugene C. Davis, the Guild’s first director, and honoring excellence in theatre.
Following the City of Vero Beach plan for cultural activities in Riverside Park, the Guild signed a 99-year lease with the city and built its own first small building in the park. There sets were built, props and costumes stored, rehearsals held; but the high school stage was still used.
The Vero Beach Community Theatre Trust was founded to raise money to build a new, 600-seat theatre for Indian River County. Funds were raised and construction started.
The new Vero Beach Community Theatre opened with the comedy Tom Jones. The name was later changed to Riverside Theatre.
For the next 12 years, the Guild was the resident acting company there.
New Trust leadership decided to bring professional theatre to Vero Beach. Sticking with its basic mission of theatre involving the community, the Guild left Riverside and moved across the river to a new home on San Juan Avenue, where it has thrived. After 16,000 volunteer hours turned a former church into a theatre, the new Guild opened its season in December with John Loves Mary, a sentimental choice from its first season. Riverside Road Show became Guild on the Go.
With significant fundraising, foundation grants and state grants, the Guild underwent major renovations, and opened to great acclaim in January 1993 with Rumors.
The Guild celebrated its 50th anniversary season.
When hurricanes Frances and Jeanne visited the Treasure Coast, one show was canceled and the big winds led to a new metal roof, soundboard and soffits.
A cooperative relationship with the Vero Beach Charter High School provided the school with use of our stage for two spring productions. The costume department moved to a nearby annex and our off-site storage greatly increased.
Having outgrown our space, as well as rented storage units off campus, a capital campaign was begun to raise funds for the East Wing Expansion; a three story complex designed to house new dressing rooms, rehearsal space and costume storage.
Construction on the addition began and the summer of 2016 was spent preparing the interior of the new building and moving in. The Guild once again had a mortgage.
The main stage season introduced some challenging, large scale musicals on our modest stage. At the Annual Membership Meeting in June, five new candidates were elected to the Board of Directors. Their leadership is focused on exploring new, contemporary, and exciting works of the American Theatre to be presented at the Guild in the coming seasons.
Many physical changes took place around the Guild, both inside and out. Off campus storage was vacated and costumes, props and furnishings were all moved to the 3rd floor of the campus.
The theatre became a year round operation presenting 7 main stage productions and 3 staged readings in the Apron Series.