Each summer Theater in the Park draws enthusiastic audiences from the metropolitan area and the Front Range to the historic Greek Amphitheater in downtown Denver’s Civic Center Park for several weekends of free, outdoor evening and afternoon performances. Now, after fourteen successful seasons, Theater in the Park is one of the longest continuing festivals in downtown Denver and has established itself as one of Denver’s cultural summer highlights.
The cityscape and grand Greek Amphitheater that provides the backdrop to Theater in the Park’s performances creates a lovely atmosphere and adds to the overall excitement of the evening. After each show, as people leave the park, they take with them a renewed sense of community, having had an enjoyable free theatrical experience in the heart of their city, enhanced by the spectacular floral displays, sparkling reflecting pools and dramatic city skyline, framed by the gold-domed Capitol building to the east, the City and County building to the west, the dramatic Denver Library and Art Museum buildings to the south.
EXPOSURE FOR LOCAL THEATER ORGANIZATIONS:
In addition, Theater in the Park not only provides needed revenue to performing companies during the less-busy summer months, but it also contributes to the audience development of the performing companies by exposing them to new, diverse audiences. For many performers, the Theater in the Park audience is the largest they have ever played to.
Theater in the Park audiences are a cross-section of the metropolitan Denver and Front Range population: families with children, couples with picnics, groups of seniors and young
adults, first-time theater-goers and fans supporting their favorite performing group – representing all ethnic and socio-economic groups. Attendance has grown significantly each season. To date more than 150,000 spectators have enjoyed free, quality performances in the heart of beautiful downtown Denver.
Saturday evening performances of each production as well as some of the children’s theater performances are “signed” for the deaf and hearing-impaired. The Greek Amphitheater seating areas, as well as the sanitary facilities, are entirely wheelchair accessible.
The City and County of Denver provides a vital component to Theater in the Park’s efforts through facility use, in-kind services and financial support. Theater in the Park is made possible through cooperative efforts of the Department of Parks and Recreation and owes much to the encouragement and cooperation of the City Council, Mayor John Hickenlooper, the Office of Art, Culture and Film and The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District Denver Tier III funding. 2004 will mark the opening of the newly renovated Civic Center Amphitheater, made possible by the City of Denver.
In 2001, together with Colorado Ballet and Cleo Parker Robinson’s Dance Ensemble, Theater in the Park received the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District’s Millenium Fund. The fund was earmarked for an extra cultural event that was offered free to all Denver citizens to celebrate the millenium year.
Our partnership proposed the creation of the “Millennium Ballet” called “Summer Interlude” and choreographed by internationally known choreographer Don McKayle. It was performed in August for Theater in the Park.
In 2001, Betty Emmanuel, Executive Director of Theater in the Park, was nominated to receive the SCFD’s Rex Morgan Award for her outstanding contribution to the community. Also, in 1999, Betty received the Minori Yasui award in recognition of her outstanding commitment and service in connection with Theater in the Park. Theater in the Park itself received the 1993 Westword’s Best of Denver Award for Summer Entertainment.