Marion Simon Memorial Celebration Set for Dowling Theater, 5/2

Marion Simon Memorial Celebration Set for Dowling Theater, 5/2

Trinity Repertory Company invites the public to remember and celebrate the life of the late Marion Simon, former executive assistant to Trinity Rep artistic director, Adrian Hall (and later Richard Jenkins), who passed away in December at the age of 90. The memorial celebration -featuring speakers and stories about Trinity Rep's longtime friend - will take place on Friday, May 2, at 2PM in Trinity Repertory Company's Dowling Theater, 201 Washington St. in Providence. The memorial service is free and open to the public - seating reservations are not necessary, but those with special seating needs should call (401) 521-1100, ext. 104.

Though Marion Simon's title was executive assistant, the work she did at Trinity Rep for 27 years, beginning in 1966, encompassed nearly every aspect of producing theater, nurturing artists, and developing audiences. Her importance to Trinity Rep in its first three decades cannot be overstated. To a huge extent, it was because of her dedication, generosity, tenacity and wisdom that Trinity Rep is able to celebrate its 50th anniversary season today.

Born in Philadelphia, Simon had come to Rhode Island in the late 1940s, wife of Dr. Stanley D. Simon, first moving to Newport, then to Providence. Having graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1944, and earning a master's degree in linguistics at Brown in 1962, she tried a variety of jobs and volunteer work before finding an interest in theater.

She began volunteering, then working at Trinity Rep in its first days as a community-oriented organization that became professional. As the executive assistant to former Trinity artistic director Adrian Hall, she ran the theater operations, secured grants and donations, ruled on contracts, hired and fired, and organized the Project Discovery theater experience for tens of thousands of Rhode Island school students. Hall was the well-regarded director of the theater; Simon was the driver. Actors, directors, critics, political figures and others said they knew that the route to successful relations with the theater went through her. Others may have had their names on projects, but those close to the theater recognized that it was Simon's authoritative voice that usually made things happen.

In addition to her work with Trinity Rep, Marion Simon shared her talents with the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, the League of Professional Theater Women, the Wellfleet Harbor Actors' Theater, and the Actors Fund in New York.

Photo by: Jim Manley

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