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Geary Theater Renamed After Bay Area Arts Philanthropist Toni Rembe

September 19, 2022


Renaming is in recognition of a $35 million gift from an anonymous donor in honor of Toni Rembe, helping A.C.T. to achieve strategic objectives

Funds to be used to sustain the future of the theater and provide world-class artistic experiences to the Bay Area

American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) Executive Director Jennifer Bielstein, Artistic Director Pam MacKinnon, Board Chair Jeff Minick, and Board President Joaquín Torres announced today that A.C.T.’s historic Geary Theater will be renamed the Toni Rembe Theater after the longtime San Francisco Bay Area arts philanthropist. The renaming is in recognition of a $35 million gift from an anonymous donor. This marks the largest single gift in American Conservatory Theater’s history.

“We are deeply grateful to the generous donor for this extraordinary gift,” said Bielstein. “The funds provided are transformational for the future of American Conservatory Theater and the impact of our programming throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Toni is a role model, and we are honored to recognize her in such a deserving and significant way. The Toni Rembe Theater will forever serve as a reminder of Toni’s decades-long contributions to the arts community.”

Adds MacKinnon: “Toni Rembe has been central to the health and well-being of the Bay Area theater scene. Her wide-ranging artistic taste and appreciation of artists and the special act of audiences coming together for a story make her a true theater lover. Her generosity and commitment to Bay Area culture and artmaking is unparalleled. Toni’s involvement with A.C.T. has been historic and long-reaching. She has served as a member of A.C.T.’s Board of Trustees for over 20 years, including stints as Board President and Chair. She was also on the search committee that brought me to A.C.T. I am profoundly grateful for her stewardship and love of theater in her chosen city of San Francisco.”

“Gifts such as the one received allow A.C.T. to continue to support excellence in arts education, community programs, training, and live performance,” said Minick. “We hope this gift will inspire other like-minded champions to invest in the future of American Conservatory Theater.”

“This transformative gift will propel American Conservatory Theater forward during a critical time of need,” adds Torres. “We are enormously thankful for the unwavering support and dedication of this anonymous donor to the mission of our organization and the impact it creates for Bay Area theater and the arts.”

The naming of the theater is part of American Conservatory Theater’s long-range strategy to raise muchneeded revenue in order to continue delivering first-rate theater, training, and education programs to the San Francisco Bay Area community. The $35 million gift will play a leading role in safeguarding the future of American Conservatory Theater for generations to come, especially as it continues to build back critical audiences and supporters due to the ongoing adverse effects of the pandemic shutdown. The gift will also allow the organization to invest in capital improvements to its theater spaces so it can better serve audiences and the broader San Francisco Bay Area community by enhancing the ability to mount world-class productions, improve the patron experience, and increase accessibility to performances and programming. A portion of the gift will be invested, helping to provide critical annual operating support in the coming years.

Toni Rembe is president of the van Lӧben Sels/Rembe Rock Foundation, a private foundation specializing in the promotion of social justice through legal services and advocacy; a co-founder and advisory board member of the Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University; a founding member of the Theatre Communication Group’s National Council for the American Theater; and a member of the board of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. She is a retired partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, where she served as a member of the firm’s governing executive committee and the managing partner of its tax practice. Toni was the first woman partner at Pillsbury and one of the first woman partners at any major law firm.

Toni currently serves on the Board of Trustees of American Conservatory Theater and is a past President and Chair. Toni is past chair of the Presidio Graduate School, past President of the Commonwealth Club of California, and past co-chair of Corporate Women Directors International. She is a past member of the board of the Magic Theatre, a former trustee of Mills College, and a past member of the business advisory board of UCSF Medical Center. Toni also served as a director of several public companies, including AT&T Inc., AEGON N.V., Potlatch Corporation, Transamerica Corporation, Pacific Telesis, Safeco Corporation, and APL Ltd.