Did you know?
1905 - The "bohemians” arrived in Carmel and built Carmel Club of Arts and Crafts Clubhouse,
small private hall on Casanova, that is the site of the present Circle Theatre. Local poets and
authors such as George Sterling and Mary Austin performed in the town's first theatre and
1922 - Noted Los Angeles attorney Ted Kuster moved to Carmel adn began building a
remarkable theatre on the southeast corner of Ocean Avenue and Monte Verde Street. He
named it The Theatre of the Golden Bough.
In 1924 the San Francisco Examiner called it "The loveliest and best-equipped theatre
of its size in America," and the Boston Transcript said, "Its architect brought to his work a
singin freedom of imagination and true creative power."
1924 - The Carmel Club of Arts and Crafts opened a second theatre of the Monte Verde Street
side of its property, keeping the small performance hall on Casanova Street for more intimate
1930 - As the Great Depression gathered momentum, Kuster purchased both buildings -
renaming them the Studio Theatre of the Golden Bough. He moved live performances to the new
theatres and leased The Theatre of the Golden Bough on Ocean Avenue to a movie chain.
1935 - In a new Lease with the movie chain, Kuster could stage one play at the theatre each
month. The debut performance was By Candlelight, a comedy about mistaken identity, performed
after the evening movie on May 17.
Early in the morning of May 19, the Theatre of the Golden Bough on Ocean Avenue was
destroyed by a mysterious fire. Kuster used the insurance money to upgrade the Monte Verde
Street theatre, renaming it The Filmarte. It became the first "art house" between Los Angeles
and San Francisco - presenting both foreign films and high quality plays.
1940 - When the Filmarte lease ended, Kuster renamed the Monte Verde facility The Golden
Bough Playhouse, presenting plays, along with quality American and foreign films, year-round.
1949 - The Golden Bough Playhouse suffered a major catastrophe on May 21 when - in a dramatic
castastrophe on May 21 when - in a dramatic coincidence - the playhouse burned to the ground
following a revival of By Candlelight!
1950 - Kuster refused to admit defeat. Shortly before his 71st birthday he created a nonprofit
corporation to beild a new theatre a the same site.
1952 - After attracting nearly 400 stockholders and raising $185,000, Kuster reopened The
Golden Bough Playhouse with a 332-seat proscenium theatre on Monte Verde, and a 125-seat
Theatre-in-the-round on Casanova, preseting both movies and plays. Within a year, due to
rising production costs, Kuster leased the main auditorium to the United Artists Cinema and
continued to produce plays in the Circle Theatre.
1961 - Kuster died suddenly at the age of 83 while vacationing in Switzerland. His estate sold his
assets to the movie chain and returned the theatre stockholders' money.
1961-72 - The Golden Bough Players' Circle leased the Circle Theatre from the movie chain
until the group decided it was no longer viable to continue production of plays and musicals.
1972-92 - TheGolden Bough Cinema featured first-run movies and the Circle Theatre sat unused,
gathering dust and cobwebs.
1993 - With movie audiences declining, United Artists decided to sell the property for four
residential lots unless someone would agree to preserve it as a theatre. Pacific Repertory Theatre
then Grovemont Theatre - jumped at the opportunity to have a home of its own.
1994 - Thanks to an outpouring of cummunity, foundation and municipal support, $600,000 (half
the purchase price) was traised to save the history Golden Bough and Circle theatres from the
wrecking ball. An important link to the past was preserved.
After escrow closed on May 10, modest improvements were made to the long-neglected
Golden Bough Playhouse. On September 22, the Golden Bough Theatre reopened with Gilbert
and Sullivan's Mikado, followed by William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
1995 - In March, Pacific Repertory Theatre opened its first full season in its new home - The Golden
Bough Playhouse - with Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman in the Golden Bough Theatre, and
David Hirson's La Bete in the Circle Theatre.
1997 - A second phase of the capital campaign concluded with the successful match of a
$300,00 challenge grant from the Chairman's Fund of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
After raising theis $600,000, just $275, 000 remained to be paid on the mortgage.
Pacific Repertory Theatre's first years in the Golden Bough Playhouse brought accolades
from drama critics and audiences alike. Under the artistic direction of Stephen Moorer, Pacific
Repertory Theatre established itself as the premier theatre company of the Central Coast,
producing both American and European classics, and challenging new works from the world stage.
The Golden Bough stage has served as a venue from many presenting community arts groups,
including the Monterey Opera Association, the Monterey County Symphony, Dance Kids, Inc. and
the Carmel Ballet Academy.
1999 - Pacific Repertory Theatre launched a $1.6 million campaign to pay the remaining mortgage
and make major improvements to the Playhouse with the goal of creating a world-class facility for
generations to come.
2011 - Pacific Repertory Theatre completed the first phase of an exciting renovation,
including the addition of computerized revolving stages and state-of-the-art projection systems.
2016 - A solar power system was installed, eliminating PacRep's carbon footprint.
2021 - PacRep started the 2nd phase renovation of the historic Golden Bough, and
is set to re-open in the summer of 2022!
PacRep's production of Spamalot the Musical (2013)
PacRep's production of Mary Poppins the Musical (2016)
PacRep's SoDAonStage production of Alice in Wonderland Jr. (2016)