Who Are We?
The purpose of Meadow Brook Theatre Guild is to support the activities of the actors, directors and stage crew of the Meadowbrook Theater. Our members enjoy the benefits of participating in our many exciting events, meeting the performers, providing food for the actors and stage crew, and discounts on performances throughout the year. In return our members and sponsors help us raise funds to support the theatre activities. Each year we make a sizable donation to the Meadow Brook theatre that benefits our community by supporting the arts.
We are blessed to be celebrating our 40th Anniversary this year. As part of our cerebration please enjoy this video.
The Guild idea originated when Mr. & Mrs. Boutell of Bloomfield Hills, who for several years served on the Meadow Brook Executive Committee, acted as hosts for a series of parties in their home for the actors and directors who came to Meadow Brook Theatre. As time went by, members of the community became interested in Theatre after attending the Boutell’s parties. It was at this point that Robert A. Dearth, then Director of Cultural Affairs at Oakland University, suggested a more formal structure, which would provide an opportunity to assist the Theatre and its personnel. The outcome was the beginning of the Meadow Brook Theatre Guild in 1977 under the leadership of Mrs. Carol McClure of Rochester.
In 1979, under President Mrs. Jane Allen, the Guild developed goals, formed by-laws, and undertook a few projects providing a structure and format that has continued to the present.
A number of services were initiated in the first years. Those services included: tech suppers for the crew on technical dress rehearsal nights, funding the afterglow parties on opening nights, offering hospitality to visiting performers in the form of welcome baskets, hosting brunches in their homes to entertain the cast of the plays, decorating the Theatre, and assisting in furnishing the trailers in which the cast members lived while at Meadow Brook Theatre.
A number of fundraisers have been initiated over the years. Touring costume shows were started in 1982. These shows were presentations of costumes from previous Meadow Brook Theatre productions, modeled by guild members with professional commentary. These costumes were also seen at the Concours d’ Elegence at Meadow Brook Hall.
Luncheon on the Aisle was initiated in 1977 by Mrs. Carol McClure and became an immediate success. Guests were served a prepared lunch in the Theatre, followed by a working rehearsal with discussion by the director. Today, it has evolved into an all-day event which includes boutique shopping, costume displays, bake shoppe, as well as, the lunch and scenes from the spring musical.
Spotlights Market, a juried fine art and gift show, was initiated by Cindy Cirar. It began in the Shotwell-Gustafson Pavilion on the grounds of Oakland University in 1990. After a few years, it moved into the Elks Lodge on Walton Blvd. in Rochester. Two years later, Karen Lewis was instrumental in moving the event to downtown Rochester. In 2015, Spotlights Chair, Suellen Parkes, orchestrated moving Spotlights to the Village of Rochester Hills. In 2016 after 25 years the event was retired.
In 2016 the annual Guild Witches’ Tea, which was hosted by Maryann Foxlee for years, was expanded to include the public and transformed into a fundraiser to replace Spotlights. The event was named BeWitched & BeDazzled. Guest are invited to a wickedly fun luncheon, “boo-tique” shopping, a witch costume contest, photo ops, raffle, silent auction, and entertainment.
Welcome baskets are still provided for the out-of-town cast members now housed in nearby hotels or apartments. Tech suppers on the day of the technical rehearsal are very popular with the crew. Meet and Greets are sponsored by the Guild on the first day of rehearsal of each production.
Beginning with the 2003-2004 season Meadow Brook Theatre separated from Oakland University. Meadow Brook Theatre Ensemble was formed as a non profit group to continue to provide the regional theatre experience for our community. At the same time The Guild became a non profit organization with 501 c 3 status.
Through its fundraising efforts Meadow Brook Theatre Guild has donated over $882,000 dollars in goods and services to Meadow Brook Theatre since its inception in 1977. The Guild would like to thank the Meadow Brook Theatre for their efforts throughout the years. We would not have been as successful without their partnership.