Colorado Theatre History

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Jeffrey Nickelson and Brenda Boyd formed a Black theatre company, called Shadow Theatre Company in 1997, housed in a 90-seat venue in a former elementary school. With the goal of having a non-exclusive theatre company, Nickelson said, "The art comes first, because we're a theatre company that happens to be run by African-Americans." Over the years, Shadow presented such shows as "In Search of Eckstine" (an original production), "Smokey Joe's Cafe," "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," "Joe Turner's Come and Gone" (which won the 2008 Denver Post Ovation Award for best drama) and more. In 2008, Shadow Theatre Company moved into its new home at 1468 Dayton Street in Aurora (a former health club). The conversion into a theatre venue was paid for partially by a 250 thousand dollar, fully forgivable loan from Aurora urban-renewal funds. However, in 2009 Shadow was forced to leave that location due to financial struggles. Nickelson resigned from Shadow in 2009 and tragically passed away suddenly that same year. Nickelson's absence broke hearts in the community and in his memory, Shadow Theatre pressed forward producing shows at the Aurora Fox Arts Center and the Denver Civic Theatre (now the home of Su Teatro Cultural & Performing Arts Center) on South Santa Fe in Denver. In 2011, Shadow Theatre partnered with The Source Theatre Company. For information on The Source Theatre Company which produces its shows at Su Teatro, please visit