The heart of Denver’s performing arts scene, the Denver Performing Arts Complex, can be found quite near the center of the city, just blocks from Civic Center Park. Encased under a beautiful glass galleria, the Denver Performing Arts Complex is home to 10 performance spaces with over 10,000 total seats. The largest tenant in this unique arts hub is the Denver Center for Performing Arts which oversees everything from visiting Broadway shows at the Temple Hoyne Buell Theater to a full season of productions by the Denver Center Theater Company, to community outreach programs and acting classes for all ages.
How did this Denver gem come into being? We have the visionary Donald Seawell to thank for taking the initiative on developing the area around the Denver Auditorium (now home to the Ellie Caulkins Opera House) in the 1970s. By 1978, Boettcher Concert Hall was completed along with an 8-story parking garage. The following year, renovation of the Denver Auditorium was completed, two cabaret spaces were added and the Helen G. Bonfils Theatre Complex opened with its four theatres: The Stage, Space, Source (now called the Jones) and Ricketson. The Temple Hoyne Buell Theatre was completed in 1991, the Seawell Grand Ballroom was added in 1998 and The Conservatory Theatre opened in 2002. Additional renovations to the Denver Auditorium in 2005 created the Ellie Caulkins Opera House we see today.
5 Reasons to See Live Theater:
To Escape the World of the Ordinary and Everyday. An evening at the theater is like a mini vacation from the world outside. From the moment you silence your cell phone and see the lights come up on the stage, you can feel the preoccupations of your day slip away as the actors draw you in with their performance. Through the powerful art of acting, you are swept away to faraway places, introduced to intriguing characters and find yourself lost in a story.
- To Share an Experience with Others. Live theater is a distinctly human tradition that crosses cultures and centuries. It is a timeless art form that brings us together with other people. There’s nothing quite like the murmur of the audience as the lights dim and then the shared laughs, gasps and applause.
- To Enjoy Entertainment at Human Speed. So much of today’s modern life runs at the speed of machines whether its the car you drive, the computer you use at the office or the quick pace of edited TV shows and movies. Live theater is entertainment by real people in real time. The actors can only speak as quickly as their lips will move; the dancers can only dance as their bodies will allow them to move; and the musicians can only play as quickly as their fingers will move. It’s amazing how refreshing it is to slow down to human speed.
To See Something That Only Exists Once. While actors do memorize a script and rehearse their staging so that each performance is very similar, no two shows are every exactly the same. With live theater, anything can happen and the version of the show you see tonight will only ever truly happen once.
- To Feel the Energy and Emotion of a Story. Live theater is stimulating and emotionally engaging in a way that comedies and dramas played out across movie screens simply can’t be. This is because the performers and the audience share the same space. You can sense the actors’ presence and energy; you can feel the audience around you; and together, everyone fills the theater with a certain electricity and emotional ambiance that can only be experienced in that space at that particular moment.
Live Theater and So Much More:
Behind the Scenes Tours: Weekly tours on Mondays and Saturdays at 10a are only $8 per person include a 90-minute tour from backstage, through dressing rooms, into costume and design studios, and on stage. Walk-ups are welcome!
Classes for Children and Teens: Available for kids 3 to 18, DCPA classes offer beginning to advanced acting lessons, and cover everything from beginning acting to singing to stage combat.
Classes for Adults: Offering a selection of daytime, evening and weekend classes, the DCPA’s adult classes cover everything from audition tips to stage combat to improv.
Colorado New Play Summit: The Colorado New Play Summit is a premier showcase and celebration of new plays. Over the past decade, the DCPA has introduced 44 new plays at the Summit, over half of which returned to their stages as full Theatre Company productions. The community is invited to come hear readings of new plays and engage with playwrights during this 2-week summit.
Event Facilities: The DCPA offers three distinct venues for hosting events for groups from 10 to 1,000. Thanks to the skill of the Event Services teams these spaces can be transformed in amazing ways to create unique events.
Page to Stage: See into the creative process behind DCPA shows with these engaging free events at Tattered Cover. Join DCPA actors, playwrights and directors for an in-depth discussion about the creation and development of their work. Page to Stage events are moderated by John Moore, former Denver Post theatre critic.
Teacher Resources: The DCPA provides training, study guides, field trips and in-school workshops to help teachers incorporate theater in the classroom.
DCPA Website: http://www.denvercenter.org
DCPA Location: 1101 13th St.