Taproot Theatre Company begins its 45th year under the leadership of new Producing Artistic Director, Karen Lund. Formerly Taproot’s Associate Artistic Director, Lund replaces founder Scott Nolte as only the second Producing Artistic Director in the theatre’s history.
As she takes the helm and Taproot Theatre Company moves into 2021, Lund says:
“I have reason for great hope. History tells us that after dark times, like those we are currently living through, there is always a resurgence and a renewing of life. I anticipate a renaissance for Seattle theatre and an explosion of new work, new voices, and new ideas. Taproot is ready. People are excited to gather again in community and I look forward to re-opening our doors and being that gathering place; a place that tells the stories of struggle, perseverance, inspiration, courage, and hope.”
Lund first worked with Taproot Theatre Company in the early 1990’s as an actor, having performed at theatres and Shakespeare festivals across the country. Soon she joined the Taproot staff while continuing to act and teach. Then in 1995 she made her Taproot mainstage directorial debut with the hugely successful Beau Jest. As the longtime Associate Artistic Director, Lund also served as Taproot’s Casting Director, Literary Manager, and Director of Education and Outreach. She has directed over 100 plays on Taproot’s mainstage and in its touring and educational programs including the award-winning productions of An Ideal Husband, Illyria, All My Sons and Brownie Points and the world premiere of the musical Persuasion.
Lund’s experience reaches far beyond Taproot Theatre Company and includes a career of directing plays, films, and TV shows in professional and educational settings around Seattle and across the country. Most recently she directed a hit production of She Loves Me, the Village Theatre’s last staged production before the pandemic closed theatres around the country. Lund also serves as a consultant to the University of Washington’s Computer Animation Department where she has helped to develop more than 20 short films. At Seattle Pacific University she has directed and served as adjunct-faculty. Other credits include the direction of a TV pilot, pilot readings, and several award-winning industrial and short films. Additionally, Lund served as the President of Theatre Puget Sound from 2014-2019.
After more than 25 years with Taproot Theatre Company, Lund’s commitment to Taproot’s patrons and its mission runs deep. In a recent communication to Taproot subscribers, she explained “I consider my new responsibilities a sacred trust with you” and that her goal for Taproot is “to continue to walk out our mission as a ‘theatre of hope’.”
Lund’s first order of business upon accepting her new role was to fill the open positions of Director of Development and Director of Finance and Operations with two well-tenured arts leaders.
Gina Cavallo, Director of Development, has a career spanning over 30 years in a broad range of roles; specializing in non-profit arts management, fundraising, and community engagement. Having held positions across the country at museums, art galleries, colleges, and academies (most recently at Gage Academy of Art), her focus is on developing opportunities, finding connections, and building collaborative projects that bring together arts organizations and their communities – a perfect fit for Taproot Theatre Company.
Ariel Bradler, Director of Finance and Operations, is an accomplished arts administrator and advocate for theatre and the performing arts in Seattle. She joins the Taproot staff after three successful seasons as the Executive Director of Theatre Puget Sound. Bradler previously worked for Seattle Children’s Theatre and currently provides operations support to TeenTix. Leading with a lens of organizational strength through anti-racism, collaboration, and open and transparent communication, Bradler’s passion for inclusion and equity in the community has been bolstered by her participation in Leadership for Social Change, a program through artEquity, the inaugural program Building Arts Spaces Equitably (B.A.S.E) through the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, and her work with the group Seattle Theatre Leaders. Bradler brings much to the table as Taproot actively works to become an anti-racist organization.
Taproot’s leadership team also includes Director of Education and Outreach, Lindsey Long, Design Director, Mark Lund, and Director of Marketing, Nikki Visel. With the additions of Cavallo and Bradler to senior leadership, Taproot becomes, for the first time in its history, a predominantly female-led organization.