Save This Theater!
Where there is art, there is culture.
Where there is culture, there is community.
Where there is community,
you will find the soul of our city.
Here’s the skinny.
The Loretto Heights Campus (Dartmouth & Federal near 285) is undergoing a major redevelopment. It will preserve the campus’ history yet also create a much needed gathering place for SW Denver. FYI, SW Denver is a bit of a desert when it comes to amenities (stores, restaurants, mixed use etc). The developers just went through a 2-year, community driven planning period which all but guarantees that the finished product will be a huge asset to the surrounding communities which includes SW Denver, Englewood, Sheridan, Lakewood, not to mention my own neighborhood.
But there’s one aspect of the redevelopment that NEEDS YOUR HELP.
There is a historic, 1200-seat, mid-century theater on the grounds. If it is saved, it could become a hub for arts and culture (and so much more) in SW Denver and beyond. It’s called the May Bonfils Stanton Theater. It’s a beauty and it’s worth saving.
At the moment, Denver Arts & Venues is VERY interested in adding it to their portfolio of venues alongside Red Rocks, the Denver Performing Arts Complex, Colorado Convention Center, Denver Coliseum and McNichols Civic Center Building. As you can imagine this would be a game changer for arts & culture in the City of Denver.
But the theater needs a complete renovation in order to be suitable for hosting events. This will cost a lot of money but the developers (Westside Partners) are willing to help save the theater if a suitable operator (i.e. Denver Arts & Venues) manages operation.
What can we do???
The City of Denver needs to hear from YOU. If you are a musician, performer, artist, or simply a lover of arts and culture, Denver wants to hear from you. PUBLIC SUPPORT for saving the theater is CRUCIAL to getting the City of Denver to sign on and begin to plan for renovation and operation.
How can you help??? Email a letter to the city:
Email Shannon Gifford who is in the Mayor’s cabinet and is collecting public sentiment on behalf of Mayor Hancock. You can email her here: Shannon.Gifford@denvergov.org
Below are some talking points that you are welcome to add to your letter.
Please do this ASAP and stay tuned to this page for updates.
Talking points to add to your letter:
The need for cultural space to be equitable across Denver. The May Bonfils Stanton Theatre is located within the southwest Denver area, with few other performing arts venues of similar size, capacity and capability in that area. Nearby arts organizations reported renting theaters that are too small or farther away (driving 45 minutes or more)
The May Bonfils Stanton Theatre is a “dormant cultural asset”
The May Bonfils Stanton Theatre would fill a gap in Denver Arts & Venues’ portfolio
The May Bonfils Stanton Theatre helps Denver Arts & Venue meet the vision of the Next Stage by investing in the community
The community has a nostalgic feeling towards the theater. The community recognizes the theater’s architectural significance and wants it preserved
The Area Plan approved by City Council recommends the saving The May Bonfils Stanton Theatre.
From the Area Plan Document….
“The community identified the May Bonfils Stanton Theatre, a 1,000-seat proscenium style theater, as a treasured asset to be revitalized as a performing arts center. In 2019, Keen Independent Research conducted a feasibility study of retaining the theater as a fully functioning cultural facility. It analyzed the existing capacity and demand for performing arts venues, identified market gaps, and forecasted future venue demands. That baseline information led to a report that details performing arts and non-performing arts uses for the space that could support operational sustainability; identifies building improvements required for venue operations; provides revenue and cost structure recommendations to maximize cost-effectiveness for community performing arts organizations and other uses; and recommends potential ownership and governance structures to create a sustainable theater operation. The team facilitated three community workshops to obtain input regarding the theater’s feasibility, potential improvements, and governance structure.”
Read more about the redevelopment of Loretto Heights and the May Bonfils Stanton Theater:
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