About RTG

The mission of the Racine Theatre Guild, Inc. is to engage in the theatre arts pursuing activities and productions of high standards and artistic integrity that will enrich and ensure a better quality of life for the residents of Racine and southeastern Wisconsin by providing educational, cultural, avocational, recreational, and entertainment opportunities.

The Racine Theatre Guild, a volunteer-based community theatre, was founded in 1938 by 26 people with $13, and has grown into an organization that provides a variety of live entertainment and educational opportunities for all ages. Through the efforts of hundreds of dedicated volunteers led by a small professional staff, RTG annually offers a season of eight mainstage plays and musicals, Racine Children’s Theatre, Jean’s Jazz Series, Comedy Tonight, Signature Spotlight Concert Series, theatre trips to Chicago and New York City, theatre classes for kids and adults, daytime performances and workshops for schools, and more.

Our Programs

RTG Mainstage

The Racine Theatre Guild puts on eight mainstage plays and musicals each season. From mysteries to comedies to musicals to dramas, there is something for every theatre lover to enjoy. Seasons run from July 1 – June 30 with opportunities to be on stage, behind-the scenes, or in the seats of the theatre.

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Racine Children’s Theatre

Since 1933, the Racine Children’s Theatre’s has presented a series of short plays and musicals intended to engage young audiences with theatre. Filled with action, humor and imagination, Packy, the friendly RCT elephant mascot, welcomes the audience and introduces each performance.

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Jean’s Jazz

In 2001, Joe Mooney created the Jean’s Jazz Series in memory of his wife, Jean, who passed away from ovarian cancer. Since then, over 23,000 people have attended our concerts, grossing over $130,000 to benefit the Racine Theatre Guild. Jean’s love of the Theatre Guild and her love of Jazz inspired a series that has truly enriched the community.

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Signature Spotlight Concert Series

The Signature Spotlight Concert Series is a trio of musical concerts featuring musicians and singers from throughout the Racine area. With varying themes and song styles, each performance has something for everyone. In addition, a talented area high school student will be featured as a Spotlight Star during each performance.

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Comedy Tonight

The Comedy Tonight series brings professional comedians to local audiences for fun-filled nights that will tickle your funny bone. From sketch performances, to improv, to stand-up, you’ll laugh the night away with these great acts.

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Theatre Classes

The Racine Theatre Guild and Racine Children’s Theatre offer fun and interactive classes for kids and adults to sharpen their acting, dancing, and singing skills. Start friendships, build confidence, learn teamwork, and use your imagination in a variety of theatre classes.

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Thank you to our friends at Real Racine/Visit Racine County and Matt Binetti for shining a light on all of the time and talents it takes to create every production. Check out https://www.visitracinecounty.com/ to explore more of what Racine has to offer!

RTG History

The Racine Theatre Guild was founded in 1938, making it one of Wisconsin’s oldest continuous community theatres and one of the largest in the Midwest. Since then, we have produced hundreds of plays and musicals throughout the community and on our stage.


The Racine Theatre Guild is founded by 26 people and $13.


RTG presents seasons of 5 plays at the Main Street Theatre. Since movies are shown in the theatre on weekends, plays are performed on Monday through Thursday nights. Dress rehearsals begin the week before, running from 11 p.m., after the movies, to about 4:30 am.


With the purchase of a building at High and Erie Streets, RTG becomes the first community theatre in Wisconsin to own its own building.


Norman McPhee is hired as managing/artistic director.


RTG moves into its own newly built theatre on Northwestern Avenue, with a thrust stage and auditorium seating 405.


RTG represents the US with “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” at international theatre festivals in Austria and England.


RTG hosts the Festival of American Community Theatres.


The RTG production of “Seascape” travels to Belgium and the Netherlands to represent the US in international festivals.


The Guild invites a troupe from Tbilisi, Georgia, USSR to perform in Racine, beginning an ongoing cultural exchange which takes the RTG to the Soviet Union in 1989 and 1991.


RTG hosts a judged, competitive international theatre festival with productions from 11 countries and receives the State of Wisconsin Governor’s Award in Support of the Arts.


RTG participates in an international competition in Yakumo Village, Japan, and wins directing and acting awards for “Androcles and the Lion.”

RTG merges with the Racine Children’s Theatre, an organization that was founded in 1933, and assumes its management, presenting 4 children’s plays, affectionately known as “Packy Plays” annually. Learn more about the long history of the Racine Children’s Theatre programs and productions here!


Norman McPhee retires after 32 years at RTG’s helm. Douglas Instenes becomes managing and artistic director. Harbor Fest initiates Jean’s Jazz Series of concerts held at and benefiting the Guild.


Lobby, offices and auditorium–with all new seating– are completely remodeled. A three-year capital campaign (2000-2003) has also created an endowment and funded replacement of roof, HVAC, exterior building surface and sound system. RTG begins offering theatre trips to New York and Chicago.


“Visiting Mr. Green” cast and crew travel to Ireland for Dundalk International Maytime Festival. Comedy Tonight series begins with 2 performances, goes to 3 the next year and to 4 the year following.


RTG greatly expands its education program, offering three terms (fall, winter and summer) of theatre classes for adults and kids.


The Signature Spotlight Concert Series begins under the direction of Rob Kroes.


RTG produces a virtual production of “The Laramie Project” during the COVID-19 pandemic involving over 100 volunteers and community members.

We’ve taken a deep dive into the history of our organization, taking a look decade by decade at our journey. Download your copy of “The History of the Racine Theatre Guild” to learn more about our adventure!

Learn More about RTG’s Production History!