By Arthur Lightbourn
As a child, Sandra Redman would sit in her grandparents' box at the King's Theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland, and watch with awe and delight as some of the most gifted performers in the United Kingdom would weave their magic on stage.
As she grew older, she discovered that not all children were so lucky. That is why, today, she is so supportive of San Diego's Old Globe Theatre and its programs to introduce the magic of theater to children who might not otherwise ever set foot in a theater.
"My passion in life," Redman says, "is children and the arts. Not just the Old Globe, but the whole of Balboa Park."
Designed to reach underserved families and children throughout San Diego County, the Old Globe's "Grinch Children's Initiatives," which includes free tickets to the annual holiday production of Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," now reaches 14,000 children and their families.
"Some of these children didn't even know that Balboa Park was there," Redman said.
In addition, free student matinees introduce thousands of students to the Old Globe's other productions.
Redman was interviewed the day before she left for London with a board contingent from the Old Globe to attend the March 8 opening of "Love Never Dies," the much-awaited sequel of "Phantom of the Opera." Jack O'Brien, former Old Globe artistic director, is the director of the new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.
Redman is a senior vice president with California Bank & Trust and manager of the private banking division. She also serves on the executive committee of The Old Globe Theatre and will serve as its chairwoman next year.
Born Sandra Ireland in Edinburgh, she is the eldest of two daughters.
Growing up, Redman said, she was drawn to theater and especially to the annual Christmas pantomimes and ballet. She studied ballet at the Sadler's Wells Studio from age 5 to 13 and even entertained dreams of becoming a professional ballerina, but, she concluded, "I'm not talented at all."
Instead, and on the advice of her father, she studied finance at the University of Edinburgh and while at the university worked as a management trainee at the Bank of Scotland and married.
She moved to San Diego in 1974 with her engineer husband, where she raised two children.
After divorcing in 1980, she restarted her banking career with San Diego Trust & Savings. When the bank was sold in 1993, she joined Grossmont Bank, which eventually morphed into California Bank & Trust.
At the bank, she met and subsequently married her second husband, bank Senior Vice President Allen Redman, who died last year after a lengthy series of illnesses that culminated with colon cancer.
The passing of her husband, she said, "made me realize that we are only here temporarily."
"For 20 years, my husband and I traveled all over the world together," she said. "He was a very gregarious person, very outgoing. President of the La Jolla Kiwanis. Extremely active. An athlete. Played squash, tennis. Didn't play golf until he couldn't play squash and tennis anymore.
"We never ever thought that his life would end when it did."
Her husband was the father of now retired Major League pitcher Mark Redman, her stepson, who was a member of the Florida Marlins when they won the 2003 World Series.
In addition to her connection with the Old Globe since 2000, Redman is an ardent supporter and fundraiser for The Arc, the largest and most comprehensive service provider for people with disabilities in the county. She was on The Arc's honorary committee for its "Jewels of San Diego Gala" on March 20 at the US Grant Hotel in San Diego.
She is also a lifetime member of Patrons of the Prado, a volunteer group of women who raise money to support museums in Balboa Park. And she is an ardent supporter of the Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego's Gingerbread City Gala that helps to fund free services for more than 50,000 people with epilepsy.
Despite her busy schedule, to keep in shape, Redman exercises for a half-hour daily at home. "Not for a second do I have time to go to a gym," she said.
"I'm not home very often, but I love doing these things. I'm very concerned right now about the educational system and how much is being taken away from children and what it's going to do to the next generation as we remove teachers and art from schools and all the things that we were raised with.
"That's probably something I'm going to become more involved with in one way or another."