South Coast Repertory would not be the theatre it is today without the contributions of women through more than a half-century of theatre-making in Southern California—including playwrights, directors, actors, artisans and leaders. Today, we recognize the women on SCR’s leadership team.
From the SCR Vault: Meet some of women playwrights and directors we profiled in March 2020 as part of Women’s History Month. Read it here.
Paula Tomei (Managing Director)
As managing director, Tomei is responsible for the overall administration of the SCR. She has been managing director since 1994 and has been a member of SCR’s staff since 1979. She is a past president of the board of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national service organization for theatre. In addition, she served as treasurer of TCG, vice president of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) and as a member of the LORT Negotiating Committee for industry-wide union agreements. She represents SCR at national conferences of TCG and LORT and served as a theatre panelist and site visitor for the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council. Her teaching background includes a graduate class in non-profit management at the University of California, Irvine, and as a guest lecturer in the graduate school of business at Stanford. She was appointed by the chancellor to UCI’s Community Arts Council and serves on the Dean’s Leadership Society Executive Committee for the School of Social Sciences at UCI. She is also on the board of Arts Orange County, the countywide arts council, and the board of the Nicholas Endowment. She graduated from UCI with a degree in economics and pursued an additional course of study in theatre and dance. In March 2017, she received the City of Costa Mesa (Calif.) Mayor’s Award for her contributions to the arts community. In 2018, she received the Helena Modjeska Cultural Legacy Award from Arts Orange County. In 2019, she was named UCI’s Distinguished Alumna in the School of Social Sciences at the Lauds & Laurels Celebration. Read the UCI feature story about her.
Lori Monnier (General Manager)
As general manager, Monnier oversees the theatre’s daily internal operations. She supervises five departments: finance and accounting, information technology, operations, front-of-house, and general management. She became SCR’s general manager in February, 2007 and has more than 25 years of experience working in the performing arts. Before joining SCR, she was managing director at the Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre and associate managing director at Arizona Theatre Company, where she was the recipient of a grant through Theater Communications Group’s New Generations: Future Leaders program. She also served as general manager of The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey from 2001-04. Monnier earned an MFA in theatre management from the Yale School of Drama and a BA in theatre arts from Florida State University.
Takakuwa is responsible for the educational programs in SCR’s Theatre Conservatory. She is a classically trained actor, educator, and director. She has worked at theatrical institutions around the country, including A Noise Within, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Sundance Children's Theatre, Sundance Institute Playwrights Lab, Music Center on Tour, and Actors Co-op. She has been affiliated with SCR since 1991, having appeared as an actor for 13 seasons in Educational Touring Productions (including My Mom’s Dad, Bad Water Blues, and the first Indian Summer). She also appeared in 14 seasons of A Christmas Carol and in The Man Who Came to Dinner. She started teaching in SCR's Young Conservatory in 1997 and joined the SCR staff fulltime in 2005 as conservatory director. As part of her Conservatory work, Takakuwa has directed Junior, Teen, and Summer Players shows (performed by advanced students in the Theatre Conservatory), including Into the Woods, Oliver Twist and Seussical. She was a longtime resident artist at the classical repertory company, A Noise Within, and over 14 seasons there, appeared in more than two-dozen productions including Our Town, The School for Wives, The Seagull and The Comedy of Errors. She directed several productions for the Actors Co-op (Hollywood) including Twelfth Night and Henry the Fifth. She graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Smith College, with a degree in theatre and government and earned her MFA in acting from the California Institute of the Arts. In 2019, she received an honorable mention in the Tony Awards Excellence in Theatre Education Award and California Educational Theatre Association’s Professional Artist Award. Watch a video of SCR acting students talking about Takakuwa.