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Our History

Guildburys were founded in 1963 by an energetic group of (then) 20 somethings who were searching for theatrical fun. Over the years we have performed predominantly in Surrey, but have been seen as far north as the Edinburgh fringe, and as far west as the very tip of the U.K. at the Minack Theatre in West Cornwall.

The name derived from an amalgam of two locations – that of the Surrey village of Albury where the society originated and first toured its productions, and Guildford ,the county town of Surrey.

The Guildbury bus

The Guildbury bus, known as ‘Jug’

For the first four years the company mainly produced musicals, touring them around local villages and small towns using an old double decker bus for transport that became a local celebrity in its own right, attracting much attention wherever it went. 1967 saw us venture to Cornwall to tour a production of Paint your Wagon. Holidaymakers on local beaches were treated to impromptu performances as the enthusiastic touring cast and crew distributed flyers to publicise the show.  Many of those original members are still part of the company; a testament to the health and longevity of Guildburys and also to their own !

We continued to tour productions in Surrey and 1979 saw us return to Cornwall, this time to perform at the Minack theatre.

Director & cast at The Minack 1979

Touring eventually gave way in 1977 to a more permanent performance venue – initially at The Rhoda McGaw theatre in Woking and, in 1997, following an extensive campaign under the umbrella of GATA (Guildford Amateur Theatre Association) culminating in the opening in 1997 of  a dedicated community theatre, Guildburys moved to perform  at the newly created Electric theatre. We remain there to this day and we perform there twice a year in Spring and Autumn.

1990 saw the annual summer show performed for the first time open air at Farnham Castle. Shows continued at the castle until 2013, and in 2014 our summer venue moved to Waverley Abbey House in Farnham. We have also performed in the grounds of Haslemere Educational Museum and in 2018 we performed our summer show in the grounds of Merrist Wood College, just outside Guildford and are delighted to be returning there in July 2019.  Guildburys Theatre Company continues to go from strength to strength with a membership ranging in age from teenagers to octogenarians.

The Electric Theatre, Guildford

We pride ourselves on productions that are varied and innovative, but most importantly we produce shows that are enjoyable as well as challenging. They all share the high production values of which we are so proud.Over the years Guildburys have performed more than 150 different shows and given in excess of 1,000 performances.Our open air shows alone have been seen by more than 35,000 people.


The Tartuffe company at The Minack, 2013




In 2013 we were delighted to be invited to return to The Minack after a lengthy gap to perform our summer production of  Tartuffe . We returned in 2016 to perform The Merry Wives of Windsor and in 2019 we will tour there again with The Government Inspector.  Book online for Guildburys’ The Government Inspector at The Minack here

2019 also sees us performing for the first time at The Keep in Guildford, the legendary back room of The Star and at The National Trust Hatchlands Park – another exciting new development.

For details of becoming a member of Guildburys Theatre Company click here

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