The Genesius Theatre Foundation
The Genesius Theatre Foundation was established to ensure the long term financial stability of the Genesius Guild. The Foundation has a
commitment to the performing arts and to classical theatre in the Quad Cities. By building an endowment, it is working to make sure that the Quad Cities will continue to have the plays of Shakespeare and Greek drama for many years to come.
To sustain this unique theatrical program, send your contribution to:
The Genesius Theatre Foundation
1120 40th Street
Rock Island, IL 61201
The Genesius Guild was organized in 1956 for the purpose of presenting free, summer performances of classic plays (Shakespeare, Sophocles, Euripides, Aeschylus, Aristophanes) and opera in English. It also produces occasional performances of modern classics (T.S. Eliot, Shaw, Fry, etc.) as a means of raising funds to support its summer schedule.
The guild presents its productions in its outdoor classic theatre, set in the middle of Lincoln Park, Rock Island, Illinois. The productions are financed by the Rock Island Park Board (which pays roughly 40%of the annual $30,000 budget) and by audience contributions.
During its 50 years of operation, the guild has staged all but ten of Shakespeare's plays (most of them at least twice) multiple performances of all of Aristophanes, and most of the works of the Greek tragedians. During 25 years of opera productions, it has staged eight complete works by Mozart, five Offenbach operettas and as many Gilbert and Sullivan productions. The guild has also staged operas by Menotti, Barber, Carlisle Floyd, Mascagni, Salieri, Barab, Copland, and Celius Daugherty.
When opera is not on the schedule, the guild offers its audience free performances by a professional ballet company, Ballet Quad Cities.
Over 2,000 individuals have participated in guild productions, ranging from professionals to amateurs, all working to a remarkable standard of excellence. A typical summer schedule includes a Greek tragedy, two Shakespearean plays, an Aristophanic farce, and a major opera, two one-act operas, or ballet programs.
The combination of community participation, classic schedule, and free production make the Genesius Guild the only theatre operation of its kind in the country.
Guild members also participate in a number of other community activities: principally, but not exclusively, theatrical performance. The guild has always viewed its role as a seminal one for local arts performance and an easy form of education in theatre for the whole region.
The guild participated in the formation of the Genesius Theatre Foundation, lending its established name to the new group to certify the new organization's commitment to local arts excellence.
The guild was founded in 1956 by Don Wooten, who has served as executive director since that time. He handed over control of the organization to the Genesius Theatre Foundation's board of directors in the 1999 season and thereafter restrict himself to an annual rewrite of the Greek comedy. In 2006, Doug Tschopp took over as executive director and continues to produce classic theater each summer.