South Coast Repertory is seeking new artistic director

South Coast Repertory announced Thursday that it aims to name a new artistic director in time for the season that begins in September, succeeding artistic director Martin Benson and producing artistic director David Emmes, the co-founders who have led the acclaimed Costa Mesa theater since 1964.

Benson, 72, and Emmes, 71, won’t be retiring, the theater said in a statement, but will continue under the title of founding directors, advising their successor and taking “an active role” in finding and developing the new plays that have been South Coast’s leading claim to fame. Each plans to direct at least one show a year and make scouting trips to find shows that South Coast might want to stage.

John Glore, the theater’s associate artistic director, will be a candidate for the top job, a theater spokeswoman said. As literary manager from 1984 to 2000, Glore was a key part of SCR’s play development team. He returned in 2005 after working as dramaturge for L.A.'s Center Theatre Group.

In a joint statement, Benson and Emmes said their health is good, as is the theater’s artistic and financial condition despite recent cutbacks driven by a poor economy. The company’s board of directors will pick the new artistic director, but the co-founders said they will help screen and interview candidates and make recommendations to a search committee that’s expected to begin its work in April.


Emmes’ wife, managing director Paula Tomei, will continue supervising business operations, taking the new title of co-chief executive along with the new artistic director, with each reporting to the board.