Monday, April 1, 2013

Taproot Theatre to Double in Size in a Matter of Days

Modular buildings being wrapped and prepared for transport
for Taproot Theatre in Seattle.

Seattle’s Greenwood District is really getting a makeover. The Fred Meyer has reopened and after months of road crew work, it appears that the streets are almost back to normal. But for art lovers, the big news today is that after years of planning, Taproot Theatre will literally double in size in a matter of days. That isn’t to say that the new portion will be habitable just yet - it will take construction crews just over six weeks to fully put together the giant puzzle pieces and the grand opening isn’t slated until this fall, but it is exciting news just the same.

How is this possible? With the delivery of prefabricated modular building units. Beginning today, 21 started making their way to the theatre off 85th Street. All should be delivered by April 3. The units will be placed on the adjacent site of the former Eleanor Roosevelt Building which burned down due to arson in October of 2009. (To see photos of the delivery, click here.)

While the idea of working with pre-fab building units may not sound too glamorous, the end result should be striking. The new and improved Taproot Theatre will feature a glassed-in lobby and cafĂ© that will open to the sidewalk for an extended entry area with benches and plants, a second theatre, a scene shop, dressing rooms and offices. Buchanan General Contracting Company will finish the outside of the existing historical theatre space and the new components with a similar look so that it will fit in nicely in the early 1900’s neighborhood.

Taproot opted for the modular construction as a way to expand into the available space more quickly and cost effectively, but as it turns out, there are even more “pluses” to doing business this way. “The choice to build modular has significantly reduced the building’s impact to the environment and disruption to the neighborhood while providing considerable savings in both costs and time,” says the theatre’s Producing Artistic Director, Scott Nolte. The new building is being created with environmentally friendly materials, will add some much-needed public green space and help beautiful the area.

As they say, the show must go on, so during construction, Taproot is currently presenting, ”The Whipping Man” by Matthew Lopez. In “The Whipping Man,”  a Jewish Confederate soldier and two of his former slaves are left to observe Passover together in the wake of the Civil War, prompting the challenging examination and reconciliation of the past while revealing the fear and uncertainty of venturing into a new future. The play is running now through April 27.

Taproot Theatre Company is a professional, non-profit theatre company with a multi-faceted production program. Founded in 1976, Taproot exists to create theatre that explores the beauty and questions of life while bringing hope to our search for meaning. Taproot Theatre Company is a member of the Phinney Ridge Neighborhood Association (PNA) and the Greenwood Phinney Chamber of Commerce. (Originally posted on Examiner.com)

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