2017 True West Award: Silverthorne Performing Arts Center

True West Award 2017 Silverthorne


Day 2: Silverthorne Performing Arts Center

Lake Dillon Theatre Company Artistic Director Christopher Alleman
Lake Dillon Theatre Company Executive Director Joshua Blanchard
Silverthorne Town Manager Ryan Hyland

The Lake Dillon Theatre Company struck gold in Silverthorne this summer when it opened the new $9 million Silverthorne Performing Arts Center in partnership with the town best known for its sprawl of irresistible outlet shops about 70 miles west of Denver.

The new 16,000 square-foot jewel made up of three performing spaces has brought cultural and economic heft to a beloved, risk-taking theatre company that spent its first 23 years performing in “shoeboxes and storefronts,” Artistic Director Christopher Alleman said. “It’s just so lovely to be producing theatre in a building that was actually designed to produce theatre.”

2017 True West Award Silverthorne Chris Alleman The deal called for Silverthorne to kick in $6.3 million and the theatre company $2.7 million. “This was the smartest thing we could have ever done,” Silverthorne Town Manager Ryan Hyland said. “It is supporting arts and culture, which is such an incredibly enriching tool for our community, particularly our youth. But it is also absolutely an investment in economic development.”

(Pictured from left: Silverthorne Town Manager Ryan Hyland, Lake Dillon Theatre Company Artistic Director Christopher Alleman and Executive Director Joshua Blanchard.)

More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

It’s not some wild idea to say that if you bring culture to a downtown, you can generate economic activity. It’s been proven (again) in Silverthorne. “Before the first shovel went into the ground, we secured a 32-unit condo development that I can attribute directly to this partnership,” Hyland said. After the theatre opened in the Town Center, the town finally moved forward on the long-discussed “Fourth Street Crossing,” a 3.8-acre redevelopment across the street from the theatre that will include a brewery, restaurants, high-end condos and a hotel. “And this performing-arts center is the catalyst,” Hyland said.

The Silverthorne Performing Arts Center is anchored by a still-intimate 165-seat mainstage theatre called The Flex, a 60-seat studio theatre and a small classroom performing space. The theatre company already has presented nine shows in the five months since opening, compared to six for the entire year preceding. The company has drawn 11,875 audiences to the new facility, outpacing the full year before by 1,720. Season passes have doubled.

Read our full report on the Silverthorne opening

Alleman has announced a robust and unafraid nine-play slate for 2018 that is filled with challenging dramas including the politically charged Building the Wall, Ugly Lies the Bone and the Pulitzer-winning Topdog/Underdog. Notably, the schedule only calls for one musical (Rock of Ages), but only, Alleman says, because the company is gearing up for its big 25th anniversary season in 2019. 

Alleman and Executive Director Joshua Blanchard have turned Lake Dillon Theatre Company into a destination facility both for audiences and actors. And their spectacular success is easily one of the biggest stories of the year in Colorado theatre. 

SILVERTHORNE Even more substantially, the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center is evolving into a town hall with education programs and meeting spaces available to the public. The theatre company finds itself hosting topical community forums on issues such as immigration, which has allowed it to broaden its community reach far beyond the performing arts. And even the business community has taken notice.

“We are proof of how art can invigorate commerce and growth,” Alleman said, “and you see it everywhere.”

Lake Dillon Theatre Company 2017
(since opening the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center on June 23):

  • Sister Act
  • Buyer and Cellar
  • Ghost
  • Noises Off
  • Grounded
  • Pretty Fire
  • Through Dec. 17: Murder for Two

Lake Dillon Theatre Company 2018:

  • Jan. 19-Feb. 11, 2018: Building the Wall
  • March 2-18, 2018: Ugly Lies the Bone
  • June 18-June 17, 2018: The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey
  • June 15-July 15, 2018: Rock of Ages
  • July 13-29, 2018: Topdog/Underdog
  • Aug. 3-Sept 2, 2018: The Underpants
  • Aug. 17-Sept. 2, 2018: Mr. Joy
  • Sept. 7- 23, 2018: I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers
  • Nov. 23-Dec. 16, 2018: Constellations


The True West Awards, now in their 17th year, began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore — along with additional voices from around the state — celebrate the entire local theatre community by recognizing 30 achievements from 2017 over 30 days, without categories or nominations. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011. He has since taken a groundbreaking position as the Denver Center’s Senior Arts Journalist. His daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org

A look back at the history of the True West Awards

The 2017 True West Awards

SILVERTHORNEThis was the opening-night curtain call for ‘Sister Act,’ which christened the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center on June 23, 2017. Photo by John Moore for teh DCPA NewsCenter.

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