The Guild of St. George is incorporated in the State of California as a public benefit educational corporation eligible to receive tax deductible donations under tax code section 501(C)(3). The corporation is governed by a board of directors that includes a president, secretary, treasurer, and an executive director, or “guildmaster”, for each chapter. At the present, there are two chapters of the guild, one in Southern California and one in the San Francisco Bay Area. Each chapter is administered by a guildmaster, assisted by regional directors. Generally this includes a theatrical director, an educational director, and a communications coordinator, although this structure is at the guildmaster’s discretion. The chapters are generally between twenty-five and fifty people in size, however, the number of people that participate in any specific event will depend on the nature of the event and each member’s interest and availability.
The Guild of St. George is the premier Elizabethan nobility organization in the country. The original Guild of St. George was founded in 1974 as part of the original Renaissance Pleasure Faire in both Agoura and Black Point Forest. The founding of the guild marked a turning point in the development of the Renaissance Faire. Prior to that time, the faire had been a craft fair with an "old England” theme. The Guild of St. George was the first group to portray historic characters existing and interacting in an environment representing a specific era and place. Under the direction of the Living History Center, this “historic theater” became a vital part of the faire experience, allowing visitors to imagine that they were really in Elizabethan England. Over the next twenty five years, the members of the Guild of St. George invented the art of Elizabethan historic re-enactment, re-constructed the court dances of the Renaissance, established an impressive knowledge of daily life, and brought Elizabethan England to glorious life for thousands of people.
After many years of impressive success, some members of the guild decided to create an independent organization in order to pursue a purely educational mission. In May of 2000, the Guild of St. George was incorporated as a non-profit, public benefit educational corporation with the charter to teach history through interactive theater.
Soon after incorporating, the Guild of St. George established a relationship with Kevin and Leslie Paterson (who produced the original Renaissance Pleasure Faire when it was in Agoura) and As You Like It Productions. Starting in 2000, the guild helped to produce the Heart of the Forest Renaissance Faire in Santa Barbara. Shortly thereafter, the Northern California chapter of the guild provided similar support for the new Stafford Lake Heart of the Forest Renaissance Faire in Novato, California. While these particular events are no longer produced, the Northern chapter of the guild continues to support renaissance faires where the original spirit of living history can be experienced.
In 2003, the Guild of St. George established a relationship with the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino California. In that year, the Huntington presented “Gloriana”, an exhibition of their extensive collection of Elizabethan memorabilia and manuscripts. During the six months of the exhibit, the Guild of St. George presented ten separate events, from afternoon meet and greet activities for small groups of Huntington members, to a full day Elizabethan Festival attended by over 5000 people. Since that time, the guild has continued to produce events at the Huntington, including a Shakespeare Festival in April of 2006 and an Elizabethan Accession Day Festival in November of 2007. The success of these events have established The Guild of St. George as the only Elizabethan reenactment organization invited to perform at the Huntington.
In 2008, The Guild of St. George introduced the Renaissance Feast as a theatrical event. For an evening in November, the guild transformed a church social hall into the presence chamber of a royal palace and presented an evening of eating, dancing, singing and conversation amidst the ambience of Elizabethan England.
From 2011 to 2016 the Northern Chapter co-produced with Sebastopol Education Foundation a small renaissance faire, Much Ado About Sebastopol, which regularly raised up to $40,000.00 annually to benefit enrichment programs to several local schools.
Today, the Guild of St. George continues to be the premier Elizabethan nobility organization in the country. The guild’s dedication to theatrical excellence without compromising historical accuracy is the hallmark of the organization. The guild will continue to pursue its mission to “teach history through interactive theater” in the future as it has in the past.
The most important people of the Guild of St. George are its members; the people who dedicate tremendous time, money and energy to bringing the past to life and teaching history through interactive theatre. The people who participate in The Guild of St. George are of all ages and from many walks of life, including a large number of teachers, some professional actors, and people from the computer and other technical fields. All guild members are volunteers and each participant provides his or her own costume and props which must meet the exacting standards of the guild. The volunteers who participate in the guild’s events take regularly scheduled classes and workshops to learn history and acting techniques, and participate in intensive rehearsals during the weeks prior to an event. People of any experience level are welcome and our membership includes both experts and novices. There are no restrictions on participation in similar organizations.