Keeping a love of live theatre vibrant
AUGUST 22, 2016
With such esteemed alumni as Tony Award-winning director Daniel Sullivan ("Proof"), Emmy-winning actor Jeffrey Tambor ("Transparent") and Academy Award-nominee Annette Bening ("American Beauty"), SF State’s School of Theatre and Dance is dedicated to bringing working theatrical professionals together with students in order to train future theatre artists. These aspiring artists are exactly the people Toni Weingarten had in mind when she made a bequest that will provide scholarships for first-generation, educationally and economically disadvantaged students who want to pursue bachelor's degrees in theatre at San Francisco State University.
The scholarships will first provide paid internships at San Francisco's Magic Theatre to students at Laney College, a community college in Oakland. Upon completion of their studies at Laney, students can transfer to SF State's theatre program to finish their degrees in any of the theatre arts. "Any time a student can connect to the professional community, it's of tremendous value to them, the school and the partnering company [in this case, the Magic Theatre]," said Todd Roehrman, director of SF State's School of Theatre and Dance. "With Toni's vision and generosity, that dream will be a reality for future generations of theatre artists.”
Making an Impact
An Oakland native, Toni Weingarten took drama classes throughout high school and attended a residential summer theatre workshop at SF State. After graduate school, she built a career in Los Angeles in television news, working as a news writer, a field producer for magazine shows and as a co-producer for documentaries. In 1996, she retired in Marin and returned to her love of theatre. She served on the board of San Francisco's Magic Theatre, supports Word for Word and Z Space experimental theatre companies and writes and performs stories at The Marsh theatre and other venues. Through her bequest, she wants to encourage young people to explore careers in theater. “My hope is that young people learn that they can have a life in a creative profession,” she explained, “and this will keep the love of live theatre vibrant.”