By Suzanne Yoe
For the DCPA NewsCenter
Martin Semple will succeed Daniel L. Ritchie as only the third Chairman of the Board of Trustees in the nearly 40-year history of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, it was announced today. The appointment is effective in July.
Semple and his wife, Jo, have been patrons and donors of the DCPA since the 1980s. Semple, a partner with the Denver law firm of Semple, Farrington & Everall, P.C., served as the DCPA’s legal counsel for more than three decades. He joined both the DCPA Board of Trustees and the Helen Bonfils Foundation Board of Trustees in July 2007.
“Martin has been an invaluable member of the Denver Center’s Board of Trustees for a decade,” said Ritchie. “He and his wife have been staunch supporters, loyal patrons and committed donors who have contributed to the ongoing success of this organization for nearly 40 years. I can’t imagine a better successor to serve as our third Chairman of the Board.”
Added DCPA President & CEO Janice Sinden: “As a business leader, civic partner and individual patron, Martin has been entrenched in all aspects of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. I am delighted that he will lend his expertise and friendship to the continued success of the DCPA as we develop a vision for the future that embraces our community, elevates our artists, and enhances our place as one of the city’s cultural gems.”
Semple graduated from St. Patrick’s College in Dublin and earned doctorates in law from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and the Catholic University of America. His current Board memberships include the DCPA and National Jewish Health. Past Board affiliations include Colorado Children’s Hospital Foundation (1985-1995; Chairman 1990-1992); National School Boards Association (2000-2001), Common Good Colorado (2009-2011), National Council of School Attorneys (Chairman 2000-2001) and Colorado School Attorneys Council.
Semple has specialized in public and private sector labor and employment law and represents nonprofit organizations, school districts and cities among other client groups. Additionally, Semple has served as an Adjunct Faculty member at the University of Denver College of Law and the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado at Denver.
“I am honored that the Denver Center’s Board of Trustees has selected me to succeed Dan as its new Chairman,” said Semple. “I look forward to working with my colleagues, Janice and the exemplary staff of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts to develop a vision that engrains this organization into the very fabric of our community — both locally and throughout the American theatre.”
Semple also has served as President of the Helen G. Bonfils Foundation since 2015, an endowment fund established to support the Denver Center. Denver Post Chairman William Dean Singleton will succeed Semple as President of the Foundation. Singleton, who was co-founder of the Denver-based newspaper chain MediaNews Group (now known as Digital First Media), has been served on both the DCPA and Bonfils boards since March 2001.
Semple joins Ritchie and founding Chairman Donald R. Seawell as DCPA board chairs. Seawell served as Chairman from 1979-2006 and worked together with Semple building the DCPA for more than 25 years. Seawell was founder of both downtown’s Denver Performing Arts Complex (the facility) and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (the largest nonprofit theatre organization in the nation). Seawell was succeeded by Ritchie, philanthropist, businessman, civic leader and education champion, in 2007. Under their leadership, the Denver Center has had many notable accomplishments through its six distinct lines of programming:
- DCPA Theatre Company — Tony-winning company that produces an annual season of up to 10 homegrown productions, including more than 160 new works (The Book of Will, The Legend of Georgia McBride, Sense & Sensibility The Musical, Tantalus, Lydia, The Whale, Quilters, Black Elk Speaks).
- DCPA Broadway — A preferred stop on the Broadway touring circuit including more than a dozen national tour launches (The Lion King, The Book of Mormon, If/Then, Pippin) and the pre-Broadway debuts of Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Frozen (2017).
- DCPA Cabaret — Intimate, casual entertainment featuring shows including Denver’s longest-running cabaret hit, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.
- DCPA Off-Center — A theatrical testing ground that develops innovative, participatory programming both on- and off-site (Sweet & Lucky, Travelers of the Lost Dimension).
- DCPA Education: Statewide educational programs that serve more than 105,000 students annually through acting classes, in-school workshops, in-theatre field trips and audience engagement programs.
- DCPA Event Services: Pemier rental venues that utilize theatrical innovation to capture the imagination of guests in lobbies, theatres, the Directors Room and the Seawell Grand Ballroom.
As Chairman of the Board, Semple will work with fellow Trustees and CEO Janice Sinden to remain integral to Denver’s rapidly growing community, build upon the strong foundation that has enabled the DCPA to attract the nation’s top talent, and, above all else, provide the leadership, resources and partnerships that will sustain the organization’s commitment to art for years to come.
Suzanne Yoe is Director of Communications and Cultural Affairs for the DCPA.