City announces security change at Buell Theatre

by John Moore | Feb 12, 2018

Buell Theatre.

Enhanced security, including metal detectors, will be in place by Tuesday, Feb. 13. Please plan accordingly.

To ensure the safety of guests, the city of Denver’s Department of Arts & Venues has announced enhanced security, including metal detectors, at The Buell Theatre at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

The first installation will be in place by Tuesday, Feb. 13, said Brian Kitts, marketing director for Denver Arts & Venues, the division of the City of Denver that manages the Buell Theatre. Tuesday is opening night of the national touring production of STOMP

Much like any major concert or sporting event, guests will now pass through a metal detector and all bags will be inspected. Wand inspections and pat-downs are possible. Guests are encouraged to pack light, be aware of the guidelines and are strongly encouraged to arrive up to one hour before the ticketed start of any show.

Security screenings and bag checks are becoming standard practice in civic spaces, Kitts said, and the city has been considering upgrading security at the venues it manages at the Denver Performing Arts Complex for some time. But he said these new procedures apply only to The Buell Theatre.

“The Buell was chosen to pilot these new measures because it’s the most active venue at the Denver Performing Arts Complex,” Kitts told The Denver Post.

The new measures specifically ban most outside food and beverages, weapons, marijuana and other drugs without prescription, and bags larger than 12 by 12 by 12 inches. The complete list can be found below.

“Most people going to these performances have been through some sort of security before, whether it’s at the airport or Coors Field or the Pepsi Center,” Kitts told The Post. “This shouldn’t be any different than that.”

But increased security does take advance planning. “We just ask that if you have a big, bulky bag with you and know it’s going to be searched, just leave it in the car,” he said. Arts Complex management, he added, reserves the right to refuse any item deemed a potential safety or security risk or with the potential to be a distraction to the event being held.

“The Denver Center for the Performing Arts places the highest value on the safety of our guests,” said Suzanne Yoe, the DCPA’s Director of Communications and Cultural Affairs. “The DCPA has a dedicated security team focused on ensuring that our campus is safe, and that we continually evolve our safety procedures to meet current standards. We appreciate the leadership of Arts & Venues as it works to improve security throughout the Arts Complex campus.”

She added that the DCPA will continue to evaluate security measures in the spaces it manages — The Stage, Space, Ricketson, Jones, Garner Galleria Theatre, Conservatory Theatre and Seawell Ballroom.



•    Empty or factory-sealed water (plastic and aluminum) bottles
•    Limelight Restaurant beverages in plastic cups with lids
•    Bags smaller than 12” x 12” x 12” (must fit under designated seat)


•    ALL OUTSIDE FOOD AND BEVERAGES (exceptions: factory-sealed water bottles and Limelight beverages in plastic cups with lids)
•    Marijuana and drugs without a prescription
•    Laser pointers (will be confiscated and patron subject to ejection)
•    Coolers (hard sided and soft sided)
•    Audio or video recording devices, GoPros, professional cameras or cameras with removable lenses
•    Weapons or items construed as weapons (including, but not limited to: firearms, knives of all sizes, sharp-edged objects, mace and pepper spray, tasers, props/toys)
•    Bullhorns or noisemakers
•    Balloons
•    Selfie Sticks
•    Confetti, glitter and other items that can be thrown
•    Commercial signage
•    Animals (except service animals)
•    Bicycles and scooters
•    Patrons bringing skateboards, inline skates, hoverboards, or strollers will be asked to check them at the theatre
•    Remote control flying devices or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles)
•    Bags larger than 12” x 12” x 12”

NOTE: Theatergoers may be asked to open bulky outerwear, such as jackets, prior to entering.

For additional general information, please email


Leave a comment
  1. Theater fan | Mar 25, 2018
    Very happy about these security measures. It is sad it has come to this, but this is a welcome change for me and my family. 
  2. | Mar 17, 2018
    can we expect significant delays using Uber? is there a designated drop off and pick up area for Uber?
  3. Complainers | Mar 07, 2018
    Wow - complaining about better security!  I am sure that Bob, Bill and Peggy would be the first ones screaming and filing class actions if something terrible happened and no security procedures were in place. All of this is for everyone's safety.  Get over it and yourselves, the world doesn't revolve around you.  Maybe the DCPA should consider pushing back the start times for all performances to 9:00 so Peggy can have enough time to get out of work, eat and make it to a show at her convenience.   
  4. Bob Bows | Feb 27, 2018
    We're waiting for the jet flyover and national anthem before each theatre performance. It makes perfect sense this would begin with "Hamilton," since he was a traitor, selling the US back to the Bank of England.
  5. Bill Noyce | Feb 18, 2018
    Thanks. You have left my family and me unprotected in an advertised no gun zone. If you look at history, this is exactly what terrorists and Sick individuals look for, both domestically and internationally.
  6. Peggy | Feb 17, 2018
    The extra time for security makes it extremely difficult to attend performances on a weeknight after work, coming from Loveland.  We barely had time to eat before and now that will be impossible if we have to add an hour for security.  We are extremely disappointed in this development and will need to reassess our subscription.

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    John Moore
    John Moore
    Award-winning arts journalist John Moore has recently taken a groundbreaking new position as the DCPA’s Senior Arts Journalist. With The Denver Post, he was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the US by American Theatre Magazine. He is the founder of the Denver Actors Fund, a nonprofit that raises money for local artists in medical need. John is a native of Arvada and attended Regis Jesuit High School and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow him on Twitter @moorejohn.

    DCPA is the nation’s largest not-for-profit theatre organization dedicated to creating unforgettable shared experiences through beloved Broadway musicals, world-class plays, educational programs and inspired events. We think of theatre as a spark of life — a special occasion that’s exciting, powerful and fun. Join us today and we promise an experience you won't soon forget.