Charleston Light Opera Guild

The Charleston Light Opera Guild was founded in 1949 by a group of vocal teachers and talented amateur performers who sought an outlet for musical talent in the Kanawha Valley.  Leonard Stocker, a former professional singer and actor for 15 years, was the moving force in founding the Guild here in Charleston. A voice teacher at Mason College of Music in Charleston, Stocker was joined by his fellow music teachers Margaret Hope Samms, Annie Laurie Leonard and Marguerite Palmer in forming the Guild.  Throughout the 1950’s the Guild was known for producing popular operettas.  Stocker, the first artistic director of the group, was finally succeeded by Lila Belle Brooks just a handful of years after its initial founding.
                Charleston’s Opera Guild has continued through many ups and downs over the course of its many years. It has struggled through a financial crisis early in its creation when early performances struggled to bring in anticipated crowds. It also went without a home for some time when the roof of its workshop collapsed in the late 1960s. Consequently, the Guild decided to only produce one show that season. Then in 1970 with the production of Showboat at the Civic Center Little Theatre, the Guild was seemingly back on its feet.  The official summer theatre program was started in 1971 and then was put on hold until 1975 when summer productions were mostly presented at the east end workshop. With the purchase of the Weekley Memorial Methodist Church in 1995, the Guild took another giant step forward.  Using significant portions of its own funds, together with various contributions, the Guild turned the church into a workshop and theatre.  Now the company could put on shows as they pleased and had a new, top-of-the-line home that they could call their own.
                To date the Charleston Light Opera Guild has produced over 200 shows.  The group continues to present a mixture of new and classic shows at the Civic Center Little Theatre, Clay Center Maier Performance Hall and Charleston Light Opera Guild Theatre.  Summer theatre continues as a training ground for high school, college age and young adults.  Many working professionals in music theatre, television, film and dance including Kathy Mattea, Ann Magnuson and Jennifer Garner have graced the Guild stage during their early and upcoming years. Upcoming shows at the Guild include Legally Blonde and Evita, both taking place at the Charleston Civic Center Little Theatre so be sure and head down to check them out.
                The Wingate by Wyndham is just 5 minutes away from downtown Charleston and the Civic Center Little Theatre. Our hotel can provide a clean and comfortable place to stay along with a free local shuttle service to and from the performance. Guests that have stayed with us enjoy the newly renovated facility as well as the free high-speed wireless Internet not to mention the fully equipped exercise room and spa tub. If you are coming in to town, catching a show by the Charleston Light Opera Guild is a fantastic way to spend an evening. Be sure and call them at (304) 545-6945 for more information on the show schedule and showing times. We would love to have you stay with us here at the Wingate during your time in the capitol city. Click here a make a reservation and we hope to see you soon.

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