Designing the Holidays to be Merry & Bright

 | Nov 16, 2020
Christmas Tree
Christmas Tree
Click photo to enlarge.

About Our Holiday Tree

Designed in vibrant tones of red, gold and silver, the tree features toys, drawings from the story, tiny London houses, Ebenezer Scrooge’s signature top hat and a red scarf.

Bring SCR's Tree Home for the Holidays!

The Pavilion of Holiday Trees is a benefit for more than 30 arts organizations. The trees are being auctioned, with proceeds benefiting each organization. Bidding on SCR’s tree starts at $300. The winner will have the SCR tree delivered to their home in time for the holidays and receive a gift pack including a storybook and four premium seats to see A Christmas Carol in 2021.

Outstanding Designs Receive Cash Prizes: The trees also will be judged for Outstanding Design by an independent panel and three prizes will be awarded—ranging from $2,500 to $10,000—with funds donated to the arts organization that designed each of the winners.

A Theatre Designer Outfits Her First Christmas Tree, SCR-style

Angela Balogh Calin is well-known to South Coast Repertory regulars as a scenic and costume designer for more than 60 productions over more than two decades. Her first set design at SCR was Play Strindberg (1999) and two years later, she designed sets and costumes for The Lonesome West (2001). Her most recent costume designs have been for Peter and the Starcatcher (2015), Ella Enchanted: The Musical (2017) Theatre for Young Audiences) and The Monster Builder (2017), as well as designing some of the theatre’s recent Galas.

But​ this Fall, she took on a new challenge: designing and decorating a holiday tree—a first for her—as part of South Coast Plaza's Pavilion of Holiday Trees arts fundraiser.. With a theme inspired by SCR’s holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, Calin created a beautiful ​design with some decidedly un-bah-humbug elements. It took Calin and two volunteers roughly seven hours to finish decorating the tree. The invitation for the design came from South Coast Plaza, hosting its first Pavilion of Holiday Trees exhibit and auction to benefit more than 30 participating arts organizations. When you make the winning bid on a tree, the arts organization that decorated it receives the proceeds and you'll receive the the tree delivered to your home in time for the holidays.


How did you approach the creative concept for this?

Angela Calin: In a way, it is similar to what I do when working on a design for a play. I try to gather as much information about the theme—in this case, A Christmas Carol—and then I merge elements from the research with my own vision for the design. I think everyone who grew up on Orange County and Los Angeles is familiar with this beloved and long-running show.

What has been the most challenging part of your design?

AC: Finding Victorian-style plastic ornaments! The most elaborate tree ornaments usually are made from glass. While plastic is becoming a good break-resistant alternative to glass when it comes to ornaments, I have found that it still has some catching-up to do in the aesthetic department.

…And the most fun?

AC: Everything about this project! It has been such a joy to be involved with it. There’s no better job than roaming the Christmas ornament aisles to find the perfect little stuffed bear or the nicest multi-colored globe to hang in the tree. Or even going online in search of the best caroler doll. And, of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a couple of costume pieces that I enjoyed building.

What design elements will we may recognize?

AC: There are a couple of iconic elements taken from the show: Scrooge’s red scarf and his top hat. There are also some traditional winter holiday-inspired pieces including a small Victorian sled replica and some Christmas caroler dolls.

Why is SCR special to you?
AC: I'm glad you asked, because SCR has a very special place in my heart for a few reasons. For one, we go back more than 20 years. Yes, my debut here was in 1998. At the time I was still trying to establish myself as a theatre designer in the United States, which wasn't an easy task. When I left Romania, I knew it would take a lot of perseverance and luck in order to make it in my new country. SCR welcomed me when most others wouldn't and has been extremely generous with me throughout the years. I have been able to work with most of the founding artists. I designed for the early Theatre for Young Audiences shows and I have a long history with the Theatre Conservatory’s Teen Players productions. I have made dear friends here and consider SCR my artistic home.

AC: What three words or phrases describe you?
Curious, good sense of humor, sociable—at least I hope it is an accurate depiction of who I am! I think all three are necessary attributes in my profession and in the theatre. I feel I belong here and know I picked the right place.