For over half a century, Strub Theatre in LMU College of Communication and Fine Arts (CFA) has set the scene for countless memorable and experimental performances, providing a transformative training ground for generations of students who have since achieved stellar careers. The theatre has also incubated important new approaches to performance pedagogy, leading to consistent top rankings for CFA programs in Theatre Arts and Dance. In short, Strub Theatre has long served to foreground the power and potentiality of the performing arts. Now, it’s ready for the next phase of development.
Enter two longtime supporters of Loyola Marymount University: The Fletcher Jones Foundation and Bill Hannon Foundation. The two organizations have been loyal to the university for decades, funding several significant capital projects and ensuring that talented students from all backgrounds have the financial support to pursue an LMU education through scholarships. Most recently, the foundations have each decided to support the comprehensive renovation of Strub Theatre, a major capital project that begins in December 2022 and is due for completion in the summer of 2023.
The two foundations’ generous gifts amount collectively to $1 million, of which $900,000 will support the renovation of the Strub Theatre. In addition to a $400,000 grant toward the renovation, Bill Hannon Foundation has also directed $100,000 specifically for LMU’s undergraduate student scholarships; LMU is one of nine Catholic higher education institutions in California that the foundation has steadfastly supported over the past 21 years, honoring the philanthropic legacy of William H. Hannon. “Such gifts are epic,” said Bryant Keith Alexander, Ph.D., dean of CFA. “They stand as monument and memorial not only to generosity, but to the potential for philanthropy to influence educational systems and pedagogical practices in ways that foster innovation and serve to dynamize our mission.”
Mary Spellman, executive director of The Fletcher Jones Foundation, expressed shared goals for the partnership. “The foundation has long been a supporter of California higher education and is excited to help LMU grow and advance its performing and creative arts programs,” she said. “This project will allow LMU students to explore their creativity in a modern and dynamic space, launching the next generation of set and costume designers, lighting professionals, directors, and performers.”
CFA students have a head start as they embark on their careers. In addition to enjoying the benefits of small class sizes and the care and close attention of the college’s exceptional teacher-scholars, students find themselves immersed in a city celebrated for its creative industries. Performance is the shared language of Los Angeles, and students quickly learn what is expected of them in a professional setting. “The renovation of Strub Theatre will provide students with a state-of-the art performance arena that is parallel to many modern theatrical venues in the country,” said Alexander. “Cutting-edge technology and facility flexibility will allow them to adapt to a range of changing physical settings that create different worlds for both performers and audiences.”
The traditional proscenium structure will be converted into a contemporary black box theatre designed to accommodate a range of productions, larger casts, and increased seating capacity. The simplicity and versatility of the black box format makes it possible to dramatically alter scenes with flexible staging and lighting configurations, enhancing the viewing experience, and allowing for greater intimacy between the performers and audience members. The adaptability of the space will also empower students to explore the full range of their skills across all aspects of theatre-making.
The renovation of Strub Theatre will ensure that CFA facilities are on a par with the college’s pedagogy of experimentation and professional success, bolstering the recruitment and retention of students who seek to develop as creative practitioners. Support from The Fletcher Jones Foundation and Bill Hannon Foundation will also expand the university’s impact beyond the Westchester campus, providing diverse Los Angeles audiences with a superb facility for dynamic cultural experiences. “At LMU, the arts are considered a critical and creative endeavor of imagination that extends far beyond mere entertainment or aesthetic pleasure,” explained Alexander. “Our faculty and students are engaged in processes that explore radical new ways of thinking, seeing, and knowing, inviting audiences to contemplate what is possible. It’s about making way for new creative perspectives that will be essential for strengthening social solidarity and addressing global challenges.”
To support the renovation of Strub Theatre and to learn about other fundraising priorities for LMU College of Communication and Fine Arts, contact Kristina Justiniano, senior director of development, at firstname.lastname@example.org, 310.338.5981, or visit here.