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Laguna Playhouse

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Laguna Playhouse Moulton Theatre

Mrs. Lewis Moulton was a founder of  the Laguna Playhouse. As a major donor for the 1969 construction of the Moulton Theatre, Nellie provided a $100,000 gift that made the new playhouse possible. She was pivotal to the fundraising campaign that secured this $450,000 350 seat theater in her nineties.

William L. Pereira & Associates designed the building. William was an architect family friend who submitted a series of designs to the development committee. He was the master planner for the city of Irvine, California, San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid, and designer of the “Ziggurat” Chet Holifield Federal Building in Laguna Niguel. His work was honored as the featured September 1963 cover of Time Magazine. The Moulton Museum has a collection of his sketches in the archive with handwritten notes of appreciation to the family.

Leisure World News, January, 15, 1969

Historic Playbills

OC Register, Sunday, October 21, 1990
1991 Moulton Theatre
2020 Moulton Theatre

2018 Gala Honoring the Moulton Family

“Honoring the Moulton family on the 50th Anniversary of the Moulton Theatre is such a wonderful time to share the story of Lewis and Nellie Gail Moulton. Nellie Gail Moulton generously contributed to building the Laguna Moulton Playhouse in 1967,” said Event Co-chair and Season Producer Lisa Hale. “The Playhouse opened with its first performances in 1968 and the same structure continues today as The Laguna Playhouse and Moulton Theatre.”

“Nellie Gail loved Laguna and she loved The Playhouse. Our family helping to protect its history and secure its future is the right thing to do,” said great grandson and Playhouse Board Member, Jared Mathis.

Popular actor Richard Burgi lauds the Moulton family and the Playhouse. He recently performed in back-to- back Laguna Playhouse’ hits, “The Graduate,” with Golden Globe winner Melanie Griffith, and “12 Angry Men.” “Any family that puts their heart and resources into the arts I have a lot of admiration and gratitude for,” Burgi said. “I think there’s not enough of that in the world.”

Burgi added, “The resources at the theater; it’s just incredible. They put on incredible shows. I just encourage people to go out and support their local arts.”

Centennial Season

Learn more about this series of productions and their Laguna Legends.

In 1966, pioneer of the arts and philanthropist Nellie Gail Moulton was a major benefactor to the Laguna Playhouse. Her gift helped fund the building of the current Laguna Playhouse Moulton Theatre on Laguna Canyon Road. One of the first female artists to join the Laguna Beach art colony in the early 1900s, Nellie Gail Moulton herself was a celebrated Plein-air artist, and instrumental in the development and funding of other local groups, such as LAM, LCAD and Chapman University. The Moulton family is committed to following her path and remains active participants in the current operations of the Playhouse.

Mathis Family

Joining the Playhouse Board of Directors in 2013, Jared Mathis has reconnected the Playhouse to its past and currently serves as Treasurer. Over fifty-years ago Jared's great-grandmother Nellie Gail Moulton was a driving force behind the construction of the current Playhouse and Moulton Theater we all enjoy. Jared, pictured with his wife Kate and three daughters, brought the support of the Moulton Family back to the Playhouse as they recently pledged and delivered $1,000,000 to the Playhouse to support operations and make improvements to our building and stage. Much of the Moulton Family gift has funded our ongoing exterior facelift and the current upgrades to our interior restrooms. Thank you Jared Mathis and the entire Moulton Family!

Watch the history of the Laguna Playhouse by the Laguna Historical Society here.