Q&A: Scott Schaftlein

Board member Scott Schaftlein has been an Actors Theatre patron since childhood. He’s also the board president for Pandora Productions, and he sits on the board of the Fund for the Arts.

from Audience

A Louisville native, Scott has seen the city’s arts scene change and grow over time—and he’s thinking about how Actors Theatre and other local performing arts organizations are shifting. “As our economy rebounds, the arts community is so important to the future success of Louisville after COVID-19,” Scott says.

Could you tell the story of how you joined the Actors Theatre Board of Directors?

Growing up in Louisville, Actors Theatre was always a special destination to go as a child. My parents loved theatre and my mother often acted as an usher at Actors Theatre and the Kentucky Center. When I moved back to Louisville six years ago, I wanted to get involved in our thriving arts scene and contribute in any way I can. I initially got engaged on the Board of Pandora Productions, a terrific semi-professional theatre company dedicated to telling the stories of the LGBTQ+ community. My husband also is an actor and got involved with numerous theatre companies, so I started to appreciate just how vibrant and talented the arts scene is in Louisville. As I got more engaged, it was wonderful to be asked to join the Board of Actors. I am passionate about our mission and advocating for Actors to be a place where all in our community feel heard, welcome, entertained and moved.

What’s your favorite Actors Theatre memory?

Growing up, it would be A Christmas Carol. As an adult, I was blown away by Pipeline last year.

How was your experience of streaming Where the Mountain Meets the Sea?

It was easy and intuitive to stream, and I really enjoyed the piece. It felt like I was in a great balcony spot to see the show from multiple viewpoints. From a board perspective, I think our ability to reach out to global consumers of the arts is very exciting!

What do you love about the arts, and theatre in particular?

In a very polarized society, theatre enables us to truly see who we truly are. It breaks down walls. Theatre helps me recognize that at our core, people have so much in common- same wants, dreams, hopes, heartbreaks, and fears. Theatre also just as importantly challenges me—it helps me learn, acknowledge and appreciate our differences. Empathy, compassion and respect comes from that appreciation. No other art form does that for me, hitting me from all five senses. It’s also wildly entertaining and exciting. The excitement I feel in the center of my chest right before a show starts never gets old!

The arts will be a vital source to help us heal, individually and collectively from the trauma we are enduring.

What is your hope for how the Louisville arts community will change in response to the pandemic?

We are meeting that moment. It is a huge opportunity to innovate. Innovate on how we reach our audiences. Innovate on how we are making an impact in our communities. Innovate on how we share resources across arts institutions. Broaden our traditional audiences. We are coming together as a community to help each other, to understand that our programming and experience must change to be more virtual, that it will eventually return to socially distant spaces so people feel safe and secure. I think the arts will be a vital source to help us heal, individually and collectively from the trauma we are enduring.

Do you have any favorite plays or musicals you'd love to see right now?

I just saw Slave Play and The Inheritance in New York City, and both were phenomenal. I would love to see The Lehman Trilogy and the revivals of West Side Story and Company.

What Louisville spots are you most looking forward to visiting when they reopen?

I am desperately missing live theatre and going out to dinner. I love so many restaurants in this town, luckily, I have been taking advantage of the take-out and delivery options out there, as my husband and I are juggling our newborn twins.