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The first time I had the pleasure to visit Taliesin it wasn’t for a tour, but a potluck dinner. It was 2004, and my wife and I were working at American Players Theatre that summer. I was a member of the acting company that season; she was on their renowned production team. The details of the how and why are fuzzy, but the staff and students at Taliesin had invited everyone at APT to bring food and hang out for an evening—as a friendly ‘get-to-know-you’ event before schedules became too hectic.
I was completely new to Wisconsin, new to the region, and had only seen Taliesin from the highway on our daily drive to the theater. Having the opportunity to enjoy the estate for the first time in a casual setting was so special! There was, of course, a deep respect and reverence for the property by everyone in attendance, but it struck me at how easily the structures accommodated our gathering—and even encouraged us to continue. I’ll never forget how we spent the later hours of the evening, getting to know the students over wine and music in the Hillside Studio Theater. Everything about the experience felt so…natural.
It wasn’t until later that summer that I took my first official tour and discovered that was the intent all along. Everything we enjoyed about that memorable evening was created in large part by the space in which we had spent our time. It opened my eyes to the beauty and possibilities of design and architecture, plus to the genius of Wright.
It’s been years since I last visited, and I was delighted to return recently for a tour. There is something sacred in Taliesin. I realize how fortunate I was to experience Wright’s design “in action,” so to speak. I’m proud to live in a community that sees the value in maintaining a property like this—ensuring future generations can experience a bit of its magic for years to come.—Written & photographed by Scott Haden, Director of Marketing for Forward Theater Company