Theatre of the Golden Bough

The Theatre of the Golden Bough was located on Ocean Avenue in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. This "Golden Bough" was one of two in Carmel's history. It was destroyed by fire on May 19, 1935.

Theatre of the Golden Bough
Golden Bough Playhouse interior, 1925.jpg
Theatre of the Golden Bough, 1925
AddressOcean Avenue
LocationCarmel-by-the-Sea, California, U.S.
Coordinates36°33′6.61″N 121°55′27.95″W / 36.5518361°N 121.9244306°W / 36.5518361; -121.9244306Coordinates: 36°33′6.61″N 121°55′27.95″W / 36.5518361°N 121.9244306°W / 36.5518361; -121.9244306
OwnerPacific Repertory Theatre
TypeRegional theatre


The theatre was designed and built by Edward G. Kuster between 1922 and 1924. Kuster was a musician and lawyer from Los Angeles who relocated to Carmel to establish his own theatre and school. Kuster's wife built the Carmel Weavers Studio, with a ticket booth in front of the Golden Bough theatre.[1]

In 1928, the Abalone League, a local amateur baseball club and active thespian group, bought the Carmel Arts and Crafts Hall from the Carmel Arts and Crafts Club and renamed it the Abalone Theatre, and later that year Kuster leased the Theatre of the Golden Bough to a local movie exhibitor, the Manzanita Theatre. Kuster then traveled to Europe for one year to study production techniques in Berlin and to negotiate for rights to produce English and European plays in the United States. In 1929, after returning from his European trip, Kuster leased the Theatre of the Golden Bough on Ocean Avenue to a movie theater chain for a period of five years. Kuster stipulated that the name "Golden Bough" could not be used for a movie house so it was renamed the Carmel Theatre.[2]

Theatre fireEdit

The original Theatre of the Golden Bough after the devastating 1935 fire.

In 1935, Kuster renegotiated his lease with the movie tenants of the Theatre of the Golden Bough, to perform a stage play one weekend each month. On May 17, 1935, Kuster opened his production of the play By Candlelight. Two nights later, on May 19th, the original Theatre of the Golden Bough was destroyed by fire. Arson was the suspected cause of the blaze.

Kuster, who had previously bought out the Arts and Crafts Theatre, moved his film operation to the older facility on Monte Verde Street, renamed it the Filmarte and it became the first "art house" between Los Angeles and San Francisco.[3]


  1. ^ Flower, Richard (2014). "Edward Kuster and The Threepenny Opera". Stories of old Carmel: A Centennial Tribute From The Carmel Residents Association. Carmel Residents Assoc. Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. pp. 105–106. OCLC 940565140.
  2. ^ Temple, Sydney (1987). Carmel By-The-Sea: From Aborigines to Coastal Commission. Angel Press. pp. 137–154. ISBN 0-912216-32-8.
  3. ^ "Back Again, Intriguing history of Carmel's Golden Bough Theatre", Alta Vista Magazine/Monterey County Herald, August 28, 1994