Webster Theatre Guild is focused on enriching the community by producing high quality theatrical performances. The Guild maintains a strong focus on the local community by supporting artistic endeavors and development through student scholarships and grants to the Webster PTSA and Webster Central School District. Since its inception, Webster Theatre Guild has provided the ties that bind local businesses and citizens in support of the common goal of excellence in the arts.
WTG was organized in 1936 by Erva Wright Smith and Reverend John Schott, pastor of the Presbyterian Church. Initially WTG produced various one act productions that were performed at various locations in the village of Webster. Many of it’s productions were for the benefit of other local organizations, including the Webster Public Library, the Sons of the American Legion, and the Service Men’s Christmas Fund (1942). The group’s meetings, held at various members’ homes, would often include speakers from other dramatic organizations. In 1940 a play called Fruits of the Forest was written and performed by the Guild to help commemorate the Webster Centennial with over 2,000 actors participating in the production.
It wasn’t until 1958 that the Guild began annually performing the musicals it is so well known for now. In 1958 and 1959 the Guild’s musical productions were the popular Gilbert and Sullivan productions of H.M.S Pinafore and The Pirates of Penzance. Through the years the Guild has performed many of the classics including Guys and Dolls (1964), Oklahoma! (1986 & 1999), The Sound of Music (1981, 1992 & 2003), Annie (1995 & 2005), Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (2006), Anything Goes (2007), The Wizard of Oz (2008), Evita (2009), West Side Story (2010) and Urinetown (2012).
Scholarships have been awarded to graduating seniors since our inception, but in 2005 they were renamed to honor Joseph S. Obbie, a lifelong Webster resident and community leader, who came to theater late in life and embraced it. He participated with WTG for over 10 years both on and off the stage, and he was a constant source of encouragement for the younger performers with whom he performed. His fight against cancer during his final role as "Daddy Warbucks" in Annie (2005) was an inspiration to all in the Guild, as well as in the community.
With its motto being “Bringing Broadway to Webster”, WTG now produces one major musical each year, conducts summer camps for Middle and High School students, and assists the local Webster schools with their theatrical productions. The community is invited to participate in our musical productions by being actors on-stage or assisting off-stage with set construction, ushering, costuming, and as back-stage hands.
WTG’s Summer Youth Theater Experience (SYTE) consists of two summer camps; one for Middle School and one for High School students. The concept is to teach the process of Theater. Each student performs in the final production, although auditions are held for specific roles. Throughout the program, the students are taught about all aspects of theater, including acting and audition techniques, vocal health, set design, basic costuming, and stage and prop etiquette, along with learning and performing the specific show being produced.