Guild Theatre

829 SW 9th Avenue,
Portland, OR 97205

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DavidZornig on February 15, 2016 at 6:48 pm

1950 photo added via Stumptown Blogger.

R Norenberg
R Norenberg on January 19, 2015 at 8:55 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.

rivest266 on August 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm

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

Mikeyisirish on June 26, 2012 at 9:32 am

A few photos can be seen here and here.

katietaylor on October 14, 2010 at 12:51 am

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

CSWalczak on October 4, 2010 at 9:50 pm

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 August 3, 2010 at 11:45 pm

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.

TLSLOEWS on July 16, 2010 at 2:17 pm

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

katietaylor on July 7, 2010 at 10:02 pm

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!

M1cha3l on May 11, 2010 at 3:10 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

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 1, 2009 at 12:45 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.

heidigreen on March 16, 2009 at 4:11 pm

From my understanding – the Guild Theater in one of the hottest spots of Portland, Oregon is about useless. The cost to put bathrooms in is so astronomical that is almost makes the theater useless. Sad. What a lost beauty…does anyone have an ideas in order to revive the theater with minimal costs?

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on February 7, 2009 at 4:48 pm

Hello Chuck! Where have you been?


heidigreen on January 5, 2009 at 12:24 pm

Does anyone know who I can contact as “owners” for The Guild? Let’s revive Portland! Or, does anyone know of any other theaters, or a great space that could make an excellent theater (I need 30-35' tall ceilings). Thanks!
Heidi Hawk

newyorkmcgee on April 18, 2008 at 11:46 pm

Im going to ask that the status of this theatre be changed to “closed”. The front is boarded up…the marquee is being used to advertise local businesses, and the north west film centers Portland international film festival blew through town and there were no screenings there.

rromero022 on June 27, 2007 at 6:32 pm

I really miss the old days 80’s when the Guild theatre played the old Bond movies on the big screen, was a real treat.I have much history with that place as my grandmother use to be a janitor there for years.They use to have movie critics come in and you could watch hollywood type films like 3-4 months ahead of time before they came out if you knew the time they played, must have seen hundreds of films there growing up.A very unique place, very orignal.Sadly I dont think you will see another place like it again. I hope they decide to keep it and not tear it down. :(

GaryParks on April 15, 2007 at 8:04 pm

It seems the Guild is currently being used as some sort of construction manager’s office for the huge development project across the street, which as of now, consists of a truly colossal pit in the ground and what looks to be the beginnning of a vast subterranean parking garage. The tall old building immediately to the left of the Guild is being given a refurbishing. It shares much of the same exterior ornament as the Guild, including the little niches occupied by busts of famous composers. Hopefully, when the dust settles, the Guild will still remain.

Davidfox on February 6, 2007 at 10:48 am

The Guild was originally called the Taylor (it’s near the corner of SW 9th and Taylor). It ran older pictures until the J.J. Parker circuit took it over in about 1948 and renamed it the Guild, showing what constituted “art house” fare back then, plus an occasional move-over from other Parker theaters. The Guild is an oddity in that patrons enter the auditorium next to the screen and walk up the sloped floor to the seats.

ThomasPhillipson on August 18, 2004 at 3:15 pm

The Guild Theatre is operated by the Portland Art Museum’s Northwest Film Center for year-round exhibition of foreign, regional and independent films. Part of this schedule includes the Portland International Film Festival each February, and the Northwest Film & Video Festival each November. The Northwest Film Center also screens work in the Portland Art Museum’s Whitsell Auditorium and the School of Film offers a wide variety of classes and workshops through its School of Film. For more information, go to

William on November 19, 2003 at 3:18 pm

The Guild Theatre is located at 829 SW 9th Ave. and it seated 425 people.

Melissa on September 16, 2002 at 11:48 am

The Guild Theater is actually open, but it is only open to students of Portland State University and students of the Pacific Northwest College of Arts. They do have a summer program for children and teens that allows them to make and show movies to friends and family at the theater. I only know this because my 13 year old sister has participated in this program.