Jeffrey Nickelson and Brenda Boyd formed the Shadow Theatre Company in 1997. They were originally 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. In 2008, Shadow Theatre Company moved into its new home at 1468 Dayton Street in Aurora, a former health club. The conversion into a theater venue was paid for partially by a $250,000 forgivable loan from Aurora urban-renewal funds. However, in 2009 Shadow was forced to leave that location due to financial struggles.
Jeffrey Nickelson resigned from Shadow in 2009 and tragically passed away suddenly that same year. His absence broke hearts in the community and in his memory, Shadow Theatre pressed forward producing shows.
Shadow Theatre Company has produced shows at the Aurora Fox Arts Center and the Denver Civic Theatre – now the home of Su Teatro Cultural & Performing Arts Center – in Denver. In 2011, Shadow Theatre partnered with The Source Theatre Company. Productions have been hosted at Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Drive, Denver since the merging of the companies.