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Who We Are

Episcopal Actors' Guild

The Church and the Theater Community

The Little Church is home to the Episcopal Actors' Guild of America, an association formed both to foster the work of the church among people of the theater and to express the needs of theater people to the church. Walter Bentley, a priest who had been a Shakespearian actor, had founded the Actors' Church Alliance in 1892. Deaconess Jane Hall had established the Rehearsal Club, a residence for young actresses newly arrived in New York City. It seemed natural for The Church of the Transfiguration to become the home of the organization formed to link church and theater. J. H. Randolph Ray was made the Actors' Guild's first warden by virtue of his office as rector of our church, and all succeeding rectors have been ex officio wardens of the Guild ever since.

The noted actor George Arliss was elected first president of the Episcopal Actors' Guild. Such theatrical greats as Otis Skinner, Basil Rathbone, Walter Hampden, Vinton Freedley, Tallulah Bankhead, Peggy Wood, Cornelia Otis Skinner, Walter Abel, Sidney Blackmer, Charlton Heston, Joan Fontaine, Rex Harrison, and Barnard Hughes have have served either as president, vice president, or as member of its council.

Presidents of the Episcopal Actors' Guild:

* George Arliss (1923 - 1938)

* Otis Skinner (1938 - 1942)

* Vinton Freedley (1942 - 1968)

* Staats Cotsworth (1968 - 1971)

* Charlton Heston (1971 - 1974)

* Ray Heatherton (1974 - 1986)

* Barnard Hughes (1986 - 2002)

* Sam Waterston (2002 - 2004)

* Beth Holland (2005 - 2007)

* Elowyn Castle (2007 - )

For more information, visit the Episcopal Actors' Guild Home Page

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