The Honor of Caring for a Loved One

March 21, 2024 at 1:05 p.m.
Now & Then: (left) Pam and Scott Nolte today. (right) Scott and Pam in 1976 with the other cofounders of Taproot Theatre. 
Back row: Scott Nolte, Jeff Barker, Jonathan Langer.  
Front row: Pam Nolte, Carol Krenelka, Karen Barker.  
Photos courtesy Scott and Pam Nolte
Now & Then: (left) Pam and Scott Nolte today. (right) Scott and Pam in 1976 with the other cofounders of Taproot Theatre. Back row: Scott Nolte, Jeff Barker, Jonathan Langer. Front row: Pam Nolte, Carol Krenelka, Karen Barker. Photos courtesy Scott and Pam Nolte

“Retirement isn't an exit ramp to being idle or sidelined,” said Scott Nolte. It is time to start new adventures.

Scott and Pam Nolte retired in 2020 from a 44-year career at Seattle's Taproot Theatre Company. Scott served as producing artistic director and Pam served as marketing director, community liaison, company actor, and teaching artist.

The couple co-founded Taproot Theatre 1976 and are performing on the stage together for the first time since 1993, 
appearing in Taproot’s How to Write a New Book for the Bible

As in life, they are married in the play.

“The fact that we're also playing husband and wife in the play is really interesting and we've reflected on our families and marriage in light of this play,” said Pam.

“We're having a lot of fun," added Scott. "We met in an acting class in 1973, and acted together all the time until we started our family.”

"I am enjoying working with Scott as an actor," said Pam. "Our relationship began working as actors in our theatre classes in college. We started working opposite shows when our kids entered elementary school so they would usually have a parent home with them.”

Regarding retirement after such a storied career at Taproot, Scott added, “Our priorities and abilities may change over time, but we hope to keep contributing to the well-being of our families, friends, church and community.”

Theater enhances the lives of those with memory loss

Speaking of contributing to the community, Pam and her teaching partner, Rob Martin, have done groundbreaking work for hundreds of seniors experiencing memory loss. Pam’s mother died at age 73 in 2003 with Alzheimer’s disease. At that time, she was working as a professional theater artist, but had never heard that the arts could be a valuable resource in enhancing the quality of life for individuals experiencing dementia. Then, in 2010, the facilitator of North Seattle Senior Center’s program, The Gathering Place, reached out to Pam to inquire whether she would be interested in beginning an improv class for individuals experiencing early-stage memory loss.

The result: Taproot Theatre's "Re-Ignite the Mind" classes, taught by professional theater artists.

Pam Nolte (far right) at an improv class for people with early-stage memory loss, photo by Josh Henning


Pam has continued to develop and guide the Dementia Friendly Improv Program for Taproot Theatre without interruption for the past 14 years. She recently started training improv actors in another city on how to serve the seniors in their community. “It's fulfilling and occasionally exhausting, but so worthwhile,” said Pam. 

About Taproot Theatre

Taproot Theatre Company bills itself as "A Theatre of Hope." In the early days, it was the hope that the theater company would survive. Now, Taproot is about the hope that each stage production and the theater's educational programs will bring a sense of hope to the community.

Pam and Scott Nolte, along with four friends, started the theatre company in 1976 during the spring break of their senior years at Seattle Pacific University (five of the six founding members were at SPU). They survived as a small ensemble road company on tours to schools and churches, along with giving classes. In 1988, the company purchased an old movie theater in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood. After extensive remodeling and overcoming numerous disasters, including an explosion and a fire that razed an entire building, Taproot found a permanent home.

About the play

From top left: Nik Doner, Scott Nolte, Richard Nguyen Sloniker, and Pam Nolte in "How to Write a New Book for the Bible" at Taproot Theatre. Photo by Robert Wade.


Taproot's current Jewell mainstage play, How to Write a New Book for the Bible, with cast members Scott and Pam Nolte along with Richard Nguyen Sloniker and Nik Doner, involves Bill Cain, who moves home to help his failing mother. The play centers around the final year of the mother's life, but it goes back and forth in time to show us the family's history and commitment to each other. Things go comically awry and then boldly vulnerable.

“This family had ‘rules for fighting’ that showed their respect for each other and a commitment to never walk out on the other. As for me, I've learned how our parents' and siblings' sacrifices are seldom fully known by the rest of the family. We all need to have enduring patience and grace with each other,” said Scott.

How to Write a New Book for the Bible is highly autobiographical. It is derived from a diary of Jesuit playwright Bill Cain. He kept the diary during his father and mother's final illnesses and deaths. In one sense, it is an ordinary tale about an ordinary family involving the relationship between Cain's mother, Mary, and her husband, Pete. It is also about siblings. Cain calls it a comedy even though it is about accompanying a loved one as they are dying.

Taproot provides this description of the play: Through [Cain's] eyes we witness his long-dead father, a brother coming to terms with his service in Vietnam... Between doctor appointments and baseball games, he begins to see how seemingly ordinary details become the life-giving rituals that shape our lives.


How to Write a New Book for the Bible 

WHEN: March 20 – April 20, 2024 • Wed/Thur/Fri/Sat, 7:30 PM plus Sat matinee at 2:00 PM
Dates to note: Opening Night: March 22, 7:30 PM.
Pay What You Can: March 27, 7:30 PM.
Midweek Matinees: March 26 and April 3 at 2:00 PM (limited availability)

WHERE: Taproot Theatre Company, 204 N 85th St, Seattle, WA 98103

TICKETS: Tickets to How to Write a New Book for the Bible are currently available online at, by phone at 206-781-9707 (Tue-Sat, noon-5:00 PM), or in person at 204 N 85th Street in Seattle during box office hours. Ticket prices range from $25-$62 with discounts available for students, seniors, active military, 25 & Under and TeenTix members. Accessible ticket prices are also available on TodayTix.

Discounts are also available for groups of 8 or more by calling 206-781-9708 or by visiting
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