The Catholic Stage Guild was founded in 1911. The aim of the Guild (as set out subsequently) was to “encourage spiritual, artistic and social intercourse among Catholics connected with the theatrical and allied professions”. By 1920, membership had risen to 2,442.
The Guild helped Catholic artists on tour. Every theatre stage door had a card giving particulars of services at the nearest Catholic Church. Priests visited the theatres, making artists feel welcome.
An Annual Mass was said in Corpus Christi Church, Maiden Lane. This celebration has been a part of our policy ever since.
In 1933, the Interval Club, for Catholic artists in the theatre, was established with the help of profits from the Guild’s Sunday night and matinee performances at the Westminster Theatre.
The annual ball, in aid of Guild funds, was instituted in 1937. Following the revival of the Guild in 1950, after a war-time hiatus, Annual galas took place at the London Coliseum and at the Drury Lane Theatre. These events, together with premieres of new concert works and play readings in various venues around the country, helped raise money for charity.
Members and friends continue to this day the tradition of using their talents for charitable causes, touring with plays, songs and sketches to homes for the elderly, parishes and penal institutions.
The Northern Branch was founded in 1966 and closed in 2010.
The Catholic Stage Guild, now CaAPA, celebrated its 100th Aniversary in 2011. Many of our members got on board with the celebrations which included a variety of events ranging from talks about the history of CaAPA to variety nights performed in different venues such as the CAA in Covent Garden, the Italian Church in Clerkenwell and Denville Hall in North London. The celebrations culminated with a magnificent Gala Concert which took place on the 29th of September 2011 at the Westminster Cathedral Hall. All proceeds from this event went to support the work of the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, CAFOD. In total, people’s generosity reached the amount of £1,123.55. Please go to our Gallery to look at the photos of this event.