Piecing together JTG history

Written by Eric A Thomas

Cleaning out a closet a few months ago, I discovered a box of several old photos and a few programs from my days with the Jacksonville Theatre Guild (JTG). Good memories!

I thought at the time it would be nice to preserve what I had for others to enjoy. Knowing what I had, someone suggested that I reach out to others to gather what I could and create a website; essentially a digital history of JTG. Taking a few months to mull over the idea and check with others as to what might be out there, I realized this little history project could become reality.

Jacksonville Theatre Guild was started in 1973 and performed its final show in December 2015. During its 42 years, over 250 separate productions of comedies, dramas, children’s productions and musicals were performed. Countless hours were put into memorizing lines, designing and building sets, creating costumes and rehearsing to provide a quality community theater experience for the many patrons who supported and enjoyed our endeavors.

I began to realize how enormous this project was going to be and that I wasn’t going to be able to afford paying out of pocket to have someone create a website and none of the website templates available would work. A friend of mine suggested doing this through Google Docs enabling me to create a site without website design experience. He designed the initial site allowing me to enter all of the missing information. I started reaching out to others and realized how restricted my connections truly are. By opening this up to anybody who has been involved or even just been a patron of the theater, my chances of obtaining all the information I need increases dramatically. This is where you come in.

The site will feature a welcome, history, a listing of all show directors with their shows, a listing of everyone who served on the board of directors, a memorial page listing all of those people associated with the JTG that is no longer living and the biggest portion of the site will be the production section. Each of the more than 250 productions will feature six components: a show logo, dates of performance, writer information, cast picture or candid (if they exist) and a complete cast and staff list. The best source of information concerning the show comes from the show program.

To date, 116 programs have been gathered; from the very first show in 1973 all the way through 2015. Seventy shows out of the entire list have all six components put together. The remaining shows are at various stages of completion. The hardest component to fill seems to be the photos.

If you can provide a show program or pictures associated with a particular production, please contact me. After you share with me what you have, I can let you know if it is something I need. Please contact me through my email address at et4healthyu@gmail.com. At that point, we can arrange getting me the needed information. Before I go live with this JTG Memories site, I would like to have the most information assembled possible. Once the site is live, there will be a form attached that will give the viewer the ability to contact me with missing information or give me corrections to make.

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