The Portland Civic Theatre Guild began in 1958 when Mary Brand invited a small group of women to form an independent support group for the Theatre.  At the time, the Portland Civic Theatre was one of the oldest and largest community theatres in the country, having been founded in 1926.The newly formed Guild decided upon play readings as its primary fund raising focus.  Since December of 1958, the readings have been produced regularly as affordable, daytime entertainment in a social setting.  They are currently offered on the first Tuesday of October, November, December, February, March, April and May. Until 1993, readings were performed on the Mainstage of the Portland Civic Theatre.    When the Theatre closed permanently, the Guild elected to continue, and moved its program to the historic Old Church.
Top acting and directing talent is used, from both in and outside the Guild.  Directors and actors are paid a nominal honorarium, and it is considered an honor to be asked to do a Guild reading.Guild membership is by invitation.  Active members pay dues, purchase season tickets, and participate in responsibilities connected to the readings and the offered fellowships.  There is also an associate membership composed of Guild members who have retired from active service after 5 years of membership.  In 2004, the Guild elected to include men in its membership and changed to maximum number of members from 50 to 60.
During its years at the Portland Civic Theatre, the Guild contributed to educational scholarships and special projects for the Theatre. Contributions recovered seats, purchased carpeting, helped remodel the orchestra pit, replaced stage draperies, and printed programs.  These contributions totaled over $80,000.  With the loss of the Theatre as the Guild’s beneficiary, the Guild sought a new annual fellowship for theater artists to advance their professional development in a broad range of activities, including workshop, travel and research.
In 1996, the Portland Civic Theatre Guild Endowment Fund was established at the Oregon Community Foundation.  Portland Civic Theatre Fellowship winners are selected from emerging artists in the local area by a panel of local theater professionals.
After the death of Leslie Fulton, a Guild member and past employee of the Theatre, her husband, Neil Fulton, endowed The Leslie O. Fulton Fellowship in her memory.  This biannual award of $5,000 is directed toward theater artists of high merit to sustain and enhance their creative process.The Portland Civic Theatre Award in Support of Theatre of $2,000 is given to a local company for purchase of capital equipment.The Guild created The Mary Brand Theatre Award for Youth Programs of $2,000in keeping with the founder’s intention.  It is funded primarily through box office receipts and dedicated gifts.Since giving out the first of these three awards in 1997, there have been four $10,000 Fulton Fellowship winners, seven Portland Civic Theatre Fellowship winners, two at $1,500, five at $1,000 and one at $500.  There have been nine Mary Brand Award winners, each at $500.  This totals $51,500, so with the years of Guild gifts to Portland Civic Theatre and these new awards, the Portland Civic Theatre Guild has contributed over $130,000 to local theater.Applications for awards are available on the GRANTS PAGE .

Portland Civic Theatre Gilld                        
PO Box 6711
Portland, Oregon 97228

Key team members