Former LDI executive Margot Lacy Eccles honored by family with $2 million gift to endow IRT’s Artistic Director Position

Indianapolis, Ind. (January 21, 2020) -This past Friday evening at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, Reverend M.E. and Mrs. Katie Eccles announced their commitment to giving $2 million to the IRT to endow the artistic director position and name it the Margot Lacy Eccles Artistic Director in honor of M.E. Eccles’ mother. This gift, which names the position in perpetuity, reflects both Margot Lacy Eccles’ support and love of the arts community, as well as her long-time professional and personal connection with IRT’s current artistic director, Janet Allen.

“My mother Margot Lacy Eccles loved Indianapolis, specifically the arts community, and she cared very deeply for Janet Allen,” M.E. Eccles said. “While the artistic director’s position will be named after my mother, it is because of Janet’s leadership and lasting contributions over the last 20-plus years at the IRT that we are making this gift.”

Allen has served the longest and most impactful tenure of an artistic director in the history of the IRT and has significantly contributed to the national theatre scene through work curated specifically for Indiana audiences. Margot Eccles, in addition to her philanthropic leadership, was a subscriber, board member, donor, and IRT champion. The gift honors both women and their commitment to education, the arts, and the community.

“Margot was a special force, a guide, a mentor, and a dear friend,” Allen said. “I am so honored and moved by this gift and recognition.”

For the announcement, the Eccles were joined on stage by IRT’s Managing Director Suzanne Sweeney, Vice Chair and Chair Elect of the IRT Board of Directors Mark Shaffer, and Vice President for Development and Strategy at Central Indiana Community Foundation Rob MacPherson, who was instrumental in working with the couple to make the gift a reality.

“I’m thrilled to know and work with M.E. and Katie on their philanthropy and to further Margot’s legacy by stewarding her charitable estate,” MacPherson said. “At CICF, we connect the charitable passions of individuals and families with needs and opportunities in our community.  We’re honored to steward Mrs. Eccles’ legacy through her estate and the Margot L. and Robert S. Eccles Charitable Fund.  The fund is intended to last for 100 years, and since her passing in 2012 has made nearly $8 million in contributions primarily to the arts community in Indianapolis. Imagine what the next 92 years will bring.”

Friday’s news came as a surprise to all in attendance of Opening Night for Morning After Grace, which Allen directed. To commemorate the gift and title change, a plaque and photo of the women will be installed in the IRT’s Grand Lobby.

​For more information contact Kerry Barmann, Marketing Communications Manager at or 317.916.4824. To view original press release click here.


Founded in 1971, the Indiana Repertory Theatre (IRT) is the largest professional not-for-profit theatre in the state and one of the leading regional theatres in the country. The mission of the Indiana Repertory Theatre is to produce top-quality, professional theatre and related activities, providing experiences that will engage, surprise, challenge, and entertain people throughout their lifetimes, helping us build a vital and vibrant community