Guild Theatre

829 SW 9th Avenue,
Portland, OR 97205

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Guild Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Originally opened as the Taylor Street Theatre, it was operating as the Guild Theatre since 1948, and was renovated in 1956. It was last used by the Northwest Film Center for film festivals.

It closed in the summer of 2006.

Contributed by Louise-Annette Burgess

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 1, 2009 at 2:45 am

The Guild was one of the world’s rare reverse theaters even before an extensive remodeling took place in 1956. After several years of successful operation as an art house (before 1948 it had been a triple-feature grind house for some years) the operators spent $70,000 on a remodeling, for which they engaged the noted Portland architectural firm of Wick & Hilgers.

The theater’s reverse auditorium was retained, largely unchanged except for redecoration, but the rest of the interior was reconfigured, with the former stage being removed to provide space for a two-level lobby and lounge area, as well as space for a curved baffle to minimize light leaking from the new lobby into the auditorium. A more spacious entrance was also provided by moving the box office.

Photos of the remodeled Guild appeared with an article published in Boxoffice of October 20, 1956. The remodeling was done over a period of six months, while the theater remained open.

M1cha3l on May 11, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Heidi Green, TMT Development is the owner. We are looking for a tenant to use the space as a Music Hall or Theatre combo. I really enjoy the photos everyone has posted. I just walked the space with some techs that are going to propose some ideas. Most of my time has been spent with Stage ie PCPA or PCS I can tell you there is an old pin rail still in place above the concessions area ceiling. We may be able to combine the old basement access to the Studio Building as well as the second floor since they tie together from long ago. Wish us luck and Thanks. I am still looking for info on who may have passed thru these doors as in stage acts. We may be able to do one nighters in the future if things go well. The Guild

katietaylor on July 8, 2010 at 1:02 am

Opera Theater Oregon (OTO) is preparing to submit a lease offer on The Guild which, if accepted, would restore the building and open the doors again in 2011 or 12 as a live venue/independent film house:

View link

I know a lot of people have wanted to set this gem of a theater back on its feet and running again. Hope to have good news soon!

TLSLOEWS on July 16, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Good Luck on your lease,hope that you keep the marquee, very cool looking and historic.

katietaylor on August 4, 2010 at 2:45 am

Hi — I happened to look at the statistics box at the top, and I can fill in some of the blanks after all my research on this property: the building was designed by a very prominent local architect, Luther Lee Dougan – a lot of Dougan’s buildings have survived. The Guild was designed as a recital hall for the musicians renting studio space in the neighboring Studio Building, which accounts for its sweet acoustics. The two buildings are still on the books as a single property, though they stopped operating in tandem fairly early in their history.

The reason the Guild is a ‘reverse theater’ is that it originally shared an entrance with the Studio Building – – audience members entered at the rear of the auditorium and moved down toward the stage. The area that is now the lobby used to be the stage. Two small front rooms behind the current box office are labeled “chorus rooms” on the original plans.

The entrance was moved to 9th Street in the 40s, and a tiny, hall-like lobby was created where a men’s dressing room used to be. This is when the Guild became a ‘reverse theater.’ The stage and orchestra pit remained intact until the big renovation in 1956 turned the stage into the lobby and covered the pit (my conductor is dying to excavate it – – I’m not sure such a thing is possible on our budget). High, high above the lobby, above two layers of false ceiling (one vintage 1956, one vintage 1977ish), visible only from the top of the stairs near the entrance to the office space, the old fly rigging still hangs.

She’s a beaut, the Guild.

CSWalczak on October 5, 2010 at 12:50 am

The lease offer made by Katie Taylor’s group, Opera Theater Oregon (see above) has been rejected by the Guild Theatre’s owner: View link

katietaylor on October 14, 2010 at 3:51 am

Yes – very upsetting. We’re looking into several other possibilities now.

Mikeyisirish on June 26, 2012 at 12:32 pm

A few photos can be seen here and here.

rivest266 on August 1, 2012 at 6:38 pm

This opened as Guild on September 4th, 1947. It’s grand opening has been posted here.

R Norenberg
R Norenberg on January 19, 2015 at 11:55 pm

As previously mentioned the Guild is owned by TMT development, which was founded by Tom Moyer, as in Tom Moyer Luxury Theatres TMT. The TNT website still lists the theatre as vacant and available for development.

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