The South Coast Repertory Theatre in Orange County was founded in 1964 by David Emmes and Martin Benson and is widely regarded as one of America’s foremost producers of new plays. The Segerstrom Family’s gift of land and resources in 1977 allowed the theatre to rebuild and expand on what is now the Segerstrom Center for the Arts campus. The new SCR opened in 1978, initially with only a 507-seat Mainstage, but by 1979 their large rehearsal hall had been converted into a 161-seat Second Stage. Due to the help and patronage of the Segerstrom Family, SCR had reached its long-sought goal: a two-theatre complex, owned and operated by the company itself. In 1988, the Tony Award was given to the South Coast Repertory Theatre for distinguished achievement by a Regional Theatre.