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FAU Receives Gift to Support Theater Performances and Arts Education

FAU's Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters has received a significant gift from the Edith and Martin Stein Family Foundation to support performances and arts education at the university's Theatre Lab.

stein gift

From left, Matt Stabile, producing artistic director of Theatre Lab; Edith Stein, philanthropist; Lou Tyrrell, founding director of Theatre Lab and Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in the Arts; FAU President Stacy Volnick; and Michael Horswell, Ph.D., dean of the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters.

Florida Atlantic University’s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters has received a significant gift commitment from the Edith and Martin Stein Family Foundation to support performances and arts education at the university’s Theatre Lab. In recognition of the gift, the Board of Trustees approved naming the atrium at Theatre Lab in honor of Edith Stein and her late husband, Martin Stein. It will be called the Edith and Martin Stein Family Foundation Atrium at Theatre Lab. Edith Stein was honored recently at a reception in Theatre Lab to unveil the new name.

Theatre Lab’s mission is to inspire, develop and produce new work, audiences and artists for the American theater. Established in 2015 and housed within the 99-seat Heckscher Stage theater space, Theatre Lab is the professional resident theater company of FAU. Edith and Martin Stein were Theatre Lab’s first season benefactors.

“Edith and Martin Stein have been steadfast supporters of Theatre Lab since its inception. Their generosity has helped to make Theatre Lab an integral platform and major influence on the American theater,” said FAU President Stacy Volnick. “We sincerely appreciate this new gift from the Edith and Martin Stein Family Foundation, and we are proud that everyone who enters Theatre Lab, whether for a performance, rehearsal, or workshop, will know the Steins helped make it possible.”

The Foundation’s gift creates an endowment to provide perpetual support to sustain Theatre Lab as a distinctive cultural resource for FAU students, area grade school students, community patrons, regional actors, and national playwrights. Through its generosity, Theatre Lab will continue to strengthen its national reputation as a creative incubator focused on the development of new work in American theater.

Each year, Theatre Lab holds dynamic programming, including a season’s worth of professional theater performances, workshops and conversations with leading playwrights and theater artists. Theatre Lab is also home to several educational outreach programs, including the highly successful The Future PAGES Project, in which students in third through 12th grade have opportunities for creative writing and live performance experiences. Additionally, since 2022, Theatre Lab has held a Teaching Artist’s Institute that provides FAU theater students and the public with training that teaches them to design, implement, and execute an educational outreach program, which helps fulfill the need for trained teaching artists in the community.

“As long-time residents of Boca Raton, Edith and her late husband, Martin, have always contributed to our city’s quality of life, in health care, education and the arts, and have continued to do so through their Family Foundation,” said Louis Tyrrell, Theatre Lab’s founding artistic director. “With Theatre Lab’s home at FAU, our mission of artistic excellence, creating new work, and developing young artists and audiences for the future of theater will continue for generations to come through this legacy gift.”

The Steins have been longtime supporters of the arts throughout Boca Raton. Edith Stein also has served FAU as a member of an advisory council for the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters.

 “As one of our most dedicated supporters, the Steins have been instrumental in every stage of Theatre Lab’s evolution,” said Michael J. Horswell, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Letters. “Such an inspiring gift will continue the Foundation’s commitment to education, to our community actors and playwrights, and most importantly, as an enduring influence for students. We remain grateful for the opportunity to establish this meaningful legacy for them here at FAU.”