Taproot Theatre announces that Scott Nolte will retire from his role as Producing Artistic Director effective December 31, 2020. Nolte will remain in his current role until that time.
In a recent letter to Taproot’s patrons, Scott explained that in the summer of 2018, after hiking 800kms on the Camino de Frances in Spain, he and his wife (Taproot co-founder, staff member and actress Pam Nolte who will also be retiring from her staff position) began dreaming about the next chapters in their careers. That fall, Nolte began serious conversations about his retirement with Taproot’s Board of Directors and key staff. Nolte states:
“Our incredibly talented staff and committed board members continue to embrace Taproot’s mission to be a “theatre of hope”; a vision which began as a seed with six college students in 1976 and which has grown more than I ever imagined possible over the past four decades.”
Taproot Theatre Company was founded in 1976 by six friends, five of them graduates of Seattle Pacific University. Their early days as a theatre company saw them touring to local schools and churches with productions that included The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis, and Gifts, a trilogy of stories which included Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince and The Selfish Giant.
In a 1977 Seattle Times article Nolte is quoted as saying “Taproot right now is basically a touring company … we want to see it become an established theatre for Seattle.” In 1979 Taproot kicked off its first mainstage play and shortly after began their three-year residency at Seattle Pacific University. In 1988, after several other temporary homes and with Nolte at the helm, Taproot purchased The China Theater in the Greenwood neighborhood and began renovations on what is now their Jewell Mainstage theatre. In 2019, over 37,000 ticket holders entered that theatre to see plays in what has become Seattle’s “largest mid-sized professional theatre.”
In addition to the mainstage season Taproot produces plays in its Isaac Studio Theatre, Taproot also has a year-round acting studio and tours bullying-prevention plays to schools all over the Pacific Northwest.
Beyond serving as Taproot Theatre Company’s Producing Artistic Director, Nolte has served as adjunct faculty at Seattle Pacific University, past president of Theater Puget Sound and the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce and taught theater in Leon, Spain. The Noltes (Scott and Pam) were named Seattle Pacific University Alumni of the Year in 2011.
Over the course of 43 years, Nolte has directed over 90 plays at Taproot Theatre ranging from The Odyssey: A Play to Smoke on the Mountain and more recently Kim’s Convenience (with co-director David Hsieh). In his final season as Producing Artistic Director, Nolte will direct Babette’s Feast, The Spitfire Grill and The Old Man and the Old Moon and plans to co-direct (with David Hsieh) a revival of Kim’s Convenience in Tacoma.
Taproot’s Board of Directors is leading the search for Nolte’s successor and plan to announce Taproot’s new Producing Artistic Director by September 2020. Board president Larry Bjork says:
“Scott and Pam’s retirement has been a board discussions for the last several years and is part of our ongoing process of strategic planning. We celebrate their years of commitment and vision and are excited about the next chapter in the life of Taproot Theatre Company.”