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The Guild

The Forest Theater Guild is a local non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to promoting the performing arts in our community through our community theater endeavors while promoting mentoring of the theater arts for our local youth.


The purpose of the Forest Theater Guild is to uphold our heritage and the integrity of Carmel’s historic Forest Theater through stewardship and preservation of its unique character. Further, the mission of the Guild is to present quality performing arts and foster the growth and appreciation of the dramatic arts among the community using local talent with an emphasis on youth. Our programs offer participants training at the beautiful and historic theater, where they gain hands-on experience next to our professional staff and by becoming involved with our live plays, films, and events.

Originally founded in 1910 by Herbert Heron as the Forest Theater Society, the current organization now known as the ‘Forest Theater Guild’, has a mission to present quality performing arts and to foster growth and appreciation of the dramatic and allied arts among the broad community utilizing community talent with emphasis on youth. The purpose of the Forest Theater Guild is to uphold the heritage and integrity of Carmel’s historic Outdoor Forest Theater through stewardship, preservation of its unique character, and enhancement of the use of the theater property to promote community theater, films and events that support our mission of community theater and art. One of the oldest remaining outdoor theaters west of the Rockies, the Forest Theater was built in 1910 by Herbert Heron and Carmel’s Bohemians to provide an open-air theater where plays could be produced by “locals, who would also have the fun doing the acting, directing, lighting, costuming, and staging.” (Personal letters of Herbert Heron). The Guild continues this tradition and the shared vision that community theater is an essential societal value in our current culture and continues to encourage arts for our youth and betterment of our society.

Annual Productions at the Forest Theater

Each year, the Forest Theater Guild presents quality productions at the historic Outdoor Forest Theater in Carmel, California. Past Productions Include: ” Little Shop of Horrors” (2022), “Hello, Dolly!”(2019) “Into the Woods”(2018) , “Hunchback of Notre Dame”(2018) in collaboration with Paraphrase Productions,  “Big the Musical” based on the Tom Hanks movie of the same name(2017),”Pippin” and “Man of LaMancha” in collaboration with Paraphrase Production(2017),”The Addams Family A new Musical” in collaboration with Paraphrase Productions (2016),”The Borrowers the Musical” in association with deFaria Productions(2016),”Swiss Family Robinson” (2014 at PGHS),”Hamlet” (2013), “Snow White” (2013), “James and the Giant Peach” (2012), “Cyrano de Bergerac” (2012), “Peter and the Wolf” (2011), “Once Upon A Mattress” in collaboration with MPC Drama (2011),  “Alice In Wonderland” (2010), and “Treasure Island” (2010).

Films in the Forest

The annual Films in the Forest series  “Films in the Forest” features classic films on the big screen. Our 2023 schedule is being discussed now, for info on to sponsoring a film with your colleagues, friends or family, please email us with FILMS in the subject line to  [email protected].

Board of Directors

President Laurel Bowen

Vice President  Robin Welch


Secretary Hunter Hobson

MEMBERS OF THE 2023 BOARD OF DIRECTORS:   Keith Decker, Brian McAuley, Kevin Armstead, Cayden Bloomer, Brian Steen-Larsen, Adrianna Vargo

2023 Advisory Board: Ben Jonas, Sgt. Nelson Canham, Steve Retsky, Ron Joseph, Mary Ann Carbone, Theodore Canham,  Emma Satchell,  Kim Mitchel, Adrian Clark, Savannah Allen

JR Advisory Board: we have openings for junior advisors looking to make a difference

Yvonne Hildebrand-Bowen, Executive Director

If you are interested in serving on the Board of Directors or being an advisor, please email us at [email protected] with Board Inquiry in the subject line. Be sure to include your contact info and the best time(s) to reach you.