The Orange County Performing Arts Center is built on five acres donated by the area's Segerstrom family, within a block of the Segerstrom-owned South Coast Plaza shopping center. The Segerstroms also commissioned sculptor Richard Lippold's monumental "Fire Bird," which spans the center's three-story lobby. The center's board named the main theater Segerstrom Hall in mid-August.
Also opening next week is Founders Hall, a 300-seat multipurpose space adjacent to Segerstrom Hall. It mirrors the larger house's stage dimensions and is soundproofed for use as a television studio. Besides being used as a rehearsal hall, Founders Hall will house the Young Conservatory Players of South Coast Repertory, whose theater complex is just across Town Center Drive.
Still to come is a second, more intimate theater. Also designed by the Houston-based architectural firm of CRSS (formerly Caudill Rowlett Scott) and the Blurock Partnership in Newport Beach, the 1,000-seat house is expected to open in the 1990s and be used by South Coast Rep as well as by smaller local and touring shows.
Led by executive director Thomas R. Kendrick, formerly director of operations at John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, center fund-raisers also have considerably more work to do. Besides amassing money for the 1,000-seat theater, they must raise at least $4 million a year for the next several years to finance center programming, much less keep the doors open. Endowment funds may already total $65 million, but nearly all gifts are deferred and will not be available for five to 10 years.