“35-20-5” Celebrates 3 Black Theatres in Denver

cedb6f_f6438044fd6d46a4bc252890e4ebfdcamv2_d_1650_2550_s_2This year, The SOURCE Theatre company invites Colorado’s theatre community to join them in celebrating a landmark in theatre history! 2017 marks the 35th anniversary of the founding of Eulipions, the 20th anniversary of the founding of Shadow Theatre Company, and the 5th anniversary of The SOURCE Theatre Company.

Eulipions, Shadow and The SOURCE have all continued the artistic legacy first established by the Denver Black Arts Company in 1976, which launched the theatrical careers of Denver theatre icons such as Jo Bunton Keel, Jeffrey Nickelson, donnie l. betts & Hugo Jon Sayles- all of whom have preserved the culture and voice of the under-represented and under-served members of Colorado’s theatre community.

Eulipions, Inc. was formed in 1982 by Jo Bunton Keel and Jimmy Walker as an organization dedicated to encouraging and fostering artistic and cultural works by and about people of color. The first space “Studio E” housed the Donald Todd Theatre- named in honor of a local educator and mentor whose motto “Excellence, not mediocrity” became the creed of the Eulipions family. Eulipions fulfilled that motto through the regional premieres of THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS and MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM, as well as productions such as THE MEETING, HARLEM, SWEET HARLEM, A SOLDIER’S PLAY and BLACK NATIVITY before it’s closing circa 1996.

Shadow Theatre Company was founded by Jeffrey Nickelson in 1997 with a $500 gift and a dream. The dream of an ambitious actor who wanted to let in artists who felt that they could never get into that open door. Shadow gets its name from the idea of bringing light to The Shadows. Shadow Theatre Company challenged the community-at-large to participate in its determination to be an example of the re-emergence of community-based independence. Among it’s most celebrated productions were a multi-ethnic production of MACBETH, the original IN SEARCH OF ECKSTINE: A LOVE STORY, the best-selling DINAH WAS and SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE, and the award-winning JOE TURNER’S COME AND GONE.

After Shadow Theatre Company’s closing in 2011, artistic members Hugo Jon Sayles, Jimmy Walker, Kiana Coney, Anastazia Coney & Arnold King went on to form The SOURCE Theatre Company- a non- exclusive African-American theatrical company dedicated to cultivating an ensemble of Colorado-based artists to create original theatrical works of cultural and historical significance about the African-American experience. After a cross-cultural collaborative production ofTHE GOSPEL AT COLONUS with the Chicano theatre company Su Teatro in June 2013, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock proclaimed June 15 to be “Celebrate African-American Theatre Day” to honor the rich traditions established by EDEN Theatrical Workshop, Denver Black Arts Company, Eulipions, Shadow Theatre Company and The SOURCE Theatre Company and the exemplary talent and dedication of the artists.

The 4th Annual Celebrate African-American Theatre Day, celebrating “35-20-5” will take place Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 3:00pm at the Su Teatro Cultural & Performing Arts Center 721 Santa Fe Dr. Denver, CO 80204. The event will include free food and entertainment as well.

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