South Coast Rep's Folino Theatre Center to Receive New Name in Honor of David Emmes & Martin Benson
Tonight at South Coast Repertory's landmark 50th Season Gala Ball, Orange County arts supporter Paul Folino announced the re-naming of SCR's Folino Theatre Center to honor the company's founders. Its new name will be the David Emmes and Martin Benson Theatre Center.
In 2000, Folino was the SCR board president who made public "SCR: The "Next Stage," a historic campaign to greatly expand the theatre complex and support educational and artistic programs as well as SCR's endowment. In 2002-with his donation of $10 million, at that time the largest individual gift to a regional theatre-the complex was named the Folino Theatre Center.
"I wanted to thank David and Martin by renaming this theatre center so that people will remember not only their amazing accomplishments over the last 50 years at SCR, but the legacy they have created that will serve this community for decades to come," said Folino, retired chairman and chief executive officer of Emulex Corporation. "These two men truly are legends in repertory theatre history."
Damien M. Jordan, president of SCR's Board of Trustees, also noted the regional and national impact of Emmes and Benson.
"This is an incredible gesture that recognizes the role that David and Martin have played, not only in the arts in Orange County but in American theatre," said Damien M. Jordan, president of SCR's Board of Trustees. "On behalf of SCR's Board of Trustees, Artistic Director Marc Masterson and Managing Director Paula Tomei, I convey our deepest gratitude and appreciation to Paul for this tremendous way of acknowledging our founders."
Folino made the announcement before an audience of 420 supporters, who reacted with a standing ovation.
"We are certainly overwhelmed-and humbled-by Paul's extraordinary generosity tonight," said Benson.
"Paul's gesture speaks profoundly to his deep belief in our vision for SCR," added Emmes. "His support of SCR, along with that of countless other donors through our 50 years, has helped make SCR a creative force in our community."
Founding Artistic Directors Emmes and Benson were fresh out of San Francisco State College in the early 1960s when they founded a fledgling theatre company that would become South Coast Repertory. They are the recipients of numerous awards, including LADCC Lifetime Achievement Awards and the Margo Jones Award for Lifetime Achievement. SCR has received accolades for artistic excellence, including a Tony Award, 87 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards, and two SCR-developed works have won Pulitzer Prizes, while another eight were named Pulitzer finalists.
SCR's historic "TheatricAl Gold" Gala, held onsite for the first time, included dining and dancing al fresco on Ela's Terrace, a surprise performance from Chicago's famed Second City and Club Argyros-the Julianne Argyros Stage, transformed for one night only. "TheatricAl Gold" raised a record $1 million to support the artistic work of the 50th Season, as well as SCR's award-winning education programs, which this year will serve more than 40,000 members of the local community. A portion of the proceeds also will go to the Emmes/Benson Founders Endowment, a special fund dedicated to continuing-in perpetuity-the founding directors' legacy of artistic excellence.
The theatre center complex houses three stages-Segerstrom, Julianne Argyros and the Nicholas Studio-as well as conservatory classrooms, rehearsal spaces, scenic, props and costume shops, and administrative offices.