Every Night is a magical night at the Solvang Festival Theater. (Solvang Theaterfest photo)

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In this interview, Noozhawk spoke with Scott Coe, Executive Director at Solvang Theaterfest to learn more about their goal to connect and enrich the community, while encouraging the appreciation of diverse ideas and cultures.

Solvang Theaterfest

Question: What is the name & mission of your nonprofit?

Answer: Solvang Theaterfest is the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the Solvang Festival Theater. Our mission is to provide a unique, live performing arts venue that promotes the highest quality experience for artists and audience members.

Q: How long has your nonprofit been in service and whom was it started by?

A: In 1974, a dedicated group of Solvang business owners and citizens wanted to create a reason for visitors to come to Solvang. So, they collaborated with PCPA and Allan Hancock College to create an outdoor amphitheater and completed it in 59 days.

( Mike Urbanek / Solvang Theaterfest photo)

Q: How is your nonprofit primarily funded and what are your greatest needs?

A: Funding for the Theater comes from these key efforts:

Our bi-annual appeal for donations from local businesses and residents; grants from regional entities whose mission it is to support the Arts; Ticket revenue from the summer PCPA schedule of onstage performances; ticket and concession revenue from our own productions, including our Summer concert series in our lobby garden, and live onstage performances during the months when PCPA is not performing.

Q: In what ways does your nonprofit utilize its funding?

A: Funding is the lifeblood of operating our theater, including ongoing maintenance, capital improvements, staffing, promotions, fundraising support, etc.

Q: Describe your organizations staffing models and internal operations. Has anything changed since the start of your nonprofit?

A: We have a small but mighty staff of three full time employees. They are an Executive Director, a Business Manager, and a Director of Development. We also have two House Managers who provide event supervision for our productions and those of PCPA.

Q: What is one best kept secret or fun fact about your nonprofit that not everyone knows?

A: We have a family of bats that live in the upper corners of our stage house. it is very common for them to make a fly over appearance during our evening shows onstage, including one perfectly timed cameo appearance during PCPA’s performance of “The Addams Family.”

Q:  How do people get involved/volunteer for your nonprofit?

A: For decades we have offered a chance for local and regional community members to serve as “Red Coats,” which is our legion of volunteer event ushers. They range in age from 15 to 90,and are a key part of our service brand for all of our shows and events.

Q: How does the work of your nonprofit get communicated to the public?

A: We publish several press releases each year, highlighting milestones in fund raising, unique and interesting background of our performances, and ways our venue serves the community, including providing a fundraising venue for local nonprofits.

Q: Why should donors trust your organization and are there other ways to help outside of donations?

A: For 47 years, Solvang Theaterfest and PCPA have worked together to bring the highest quality performances to our magical amphitheater stage each summer. Our goal is to connect and enrich the community while encouraging the appreciation of diverse ideas and cultures.

Q:  Can you tell us one short-term goal AND one long-term goal that your nonprofit has for the next year?

A: Short Term Goal: Find as many ways as we can to utilize this incredible venue now that our $5.3 million renovation project has been completed. This includes weddings, receptions, parties, business meetings, and welcoming back our long time partnering organizations which have created iconic events for decades at the theater that unfortunately had to pause for the pandemic and for our construction project.

Long Tearm Goal: Provide diverse, creative, family-oriented content and events that make our venue more accessible to a broader group of patrons.

Click here to support the Solvang Theaterfest’s mission to provide a unique, live performing arts venue that promotes the highest quality experience for artists and audience members.

Check out Noozhawk’s Guide to Giving for a full list of nonprofits to donate to this giving season.