On Tuesday, Dec. 10, Teri Schwartz, Dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (UCLA TFT), announced a $10 million commitment from Elizabeth Reiko Kubota Whitney (B.A. '80) and Kenneth Whitney toward the revitalization of the School's historic Ralph Freud Playhouse. Their support will help the construction of a compelling 21st century space that will enable students, faculty, staff, visiting artists and scholars from around the world to conceive and execute at the highest levels of excellence, whether they be classic theater performances or immersive VR and other digital productions. The Whitney Family's support provides a catalyst for UCLA TFT's Capital Campaign and serves as the foundation for the Freud renovation. The re-imagined, upgraded and remodeled facility will be renamed the Whitney Family Theater in the Ralph Freud Playhouse, advancing the Freud's position not only as a premier destination for theater and performance art at UCLA but for the city of Los Angeles. Conceptualized by innovative architecture firm Clive Wilkinson Architects, the Whitney Family Theater in the Ralph Freud Playhouse will introduce a redesigned interior that more aligns with how theater is presented and experienced today.

"I have had the honor of knowing Liz and Ken Whitney, and their wonderful family, for 10 years. Becoming their friend is one of the most cherished gifts I have had as dean," Schwartz says. "To have received this transformational support from the Whitney Family for our Centennial Campaign and the iconic Freud Playhouse speaks volumes of their profound generosity, inherent goodness and belief in the power of an entertainment and performing arts education, one that nurtures and develops artists and scholars who will not only delight and entertain, but will enlighten and inspire change for a better world. We will be forever grateful to Liz and Ken for their vision. It establishes a magnificent Whitney legacy in support of UCLA TFT; our amazing students will be the beneficiaries of their incredible philanthropy long into the future."

"Several years ago, Ken and I decided to focus our charitable giving to programs supporting minority and underprivileged children, education, athletics and the arts," said Liz Whitney. "We have been inspired by Dean Teri Schwartz with her vision and leadership for UCLA TFT and its future. It is an honor and privilege to make this gift towards the update and redesign of the Ralph Freud Playhouse. This gift to UCLA is particularly special to me as the years I spent in school here had an enormous impact on my life and career. Our hope is that this project will impact the lives and careers of the next generation of students in UCLA TFT programs."

UCLA TFT's historic Freud Playhouse has been the vital, creative hub of the UCLA TFT Department of Theater and much of the UCLA campus for more than 50 years. The Freud offers a fully dynamic learning and performance space for UCLA TFT students, faculty and staff, as well as national and international theater companies. The Freud was constructed in 1962 and was dedicated to the UCLA Department of Theater Arts founder and Professor Emeritus Ralph Freud in 1969. The Freud has a rich history hosting world-renown companies including Disney; The Olympic Arts Festival; The Wooster Group; The Berliner Ensemble; The Royal Court Theatre; and Suzuki Company of Toga, Japan, to name just a few. In addition, the Freud was home to alumnus Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope studio, which created, in collaboration with UCLA TFT, Distant Vision, an experimental live cinema project involving more than 100 UCLA TFT students, faculty and staff in various production and acting roles.

Posted: December 10, 2019