Dorothy Masterson founded The Mint Museum Drama Guild in 1954, and was Artistic Director until retiring in 1979. In the beginning, plays were performed in the Dwelle Gallery. The Golden Circle Theatre (now known as the Van Every Forum) was built during the 1967 building expansion and became the Guild’s permanent performance space.
During Masterson’s tenure, the Drama Guild presented a varied array of classics and dramas that were not typically seen in community theater. She directed most of the plays, and often performed in them as well, as when she portrayed Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth the Queen in 1959.
The Drama Guild attracted a variety of onstage and backstage contributors. A few examples include artists Herb Cohen, José Fumero, and Marianne Lieberman, Mint Museum director Robert Schlageter, and author Jan Karon (as Jan Orth). The Golden Circle Theatre was home to actors like Gladys Lavitan, George Gray, Jr., and Robert Pierce, and provided a professional start for others like Leon Rippy and Dean Whitworth.
Masterson was legendary for her introductions of every performance. She would tell the entire story of the play in detail, and then announce with a flourish, “Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s magic time!”