DCPA Brings Back Behind-the-Scenes Tours for Second Act

DCPA, Denver Center Performing Arts, DPAC, Denver Performing Arts Complex, Tour, Behind The Scenes
DCPA, Denver Center Performing Arts, DPAC, Denver Performing Arts Complex, Tour, Behind The Scenes
A series of sketches in the DCPA’s on-site costume shop, home to myriad materials, accessories and outfits for any upcoming show.

After nearly three years, The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) has re-opened its behind-the-scenes touring program to the public after putting them on hiatus since 2020. While the facility and in-house productions re-opened in early 2021, now was considered the best time to bring back the tours. 303 Magazine took the time to take an abridged version of the tour to see what it offered, how it has changed since ceasing operations and the reasoning for bringing them back now.

“First and foremost it was going to be the productions, and in concert with the productions we had to re-establish our entire volunteer usher core, which was a tremendous feat,” said Suzanne Yoe, Director of Communications & Content Marketing. “We got our other programming back up almost to full speed and then we started looking at what else we wanted to do — and asked how does that align with our core values?”

Yoe also mentioned how important community was to the DCPA, and that the tours have always been a popular program to engage the public and “break down barriers and demystify” what goes on during a full-stage production.

DCPA, Denver Center Performing Arts, DPAC, Denver Performing Arts Complex, Tour, Behind The Scenes
A wall of painted poster’s in Actor’s Alley, all signed by the performers involved in the productions. Several more are scattered around the area, spanning multiple walls and floors.

There are two tours available now — one is the Venues Tour which walks you through the whole Denver Performing Arts Complex (DPAC) showing not only the theatre halls but also areas such as the Ellie Caulkins Opera House — giving people the opportunity to get on the stage themselves. Actor’s Alley is another point of interest, showing the rich history of the DCPA with signed pieces from previous shows and their actors, as well as notable cameos like a painted presidential seal with Bill Clinton’s signature.

The Studio Tour offers people the chance to see what’s being worked on at the moment and provides an insight into the whole process that goes into every minute detail. Showing off everything from stage design to costume pieces, plus wigs to facial hair — pulling back the curtain on what goes into one production helps exemplify the effort put into every show. Scale models of the stages provide an idea of how a production should start before getting into any building.

“Because the general population only sees the lobby, the theatre, their seat and the stage, they think the show just kind of happens,” said Don Garcia, a volunteer & Tour Ambassador. “When they really see what it takes to put on a show, they have a whole new perspective of what it takes.”

The re-ignition of the tour program is a great sign that the DCPA is nearly open to what it was like before 2020, and will only continue to rebuild itself, symbolically and literally, into an elevated experience for everyone to enjoy.

Looking into the future, the tours will also work to focus on greater accessibility like ASL interpreters and Spanish language translations on tour, as well as expanding the scope of the complex to surrounding areas like Sculpture Park, according to Evan Gendreau, Associate Director of Theatre Services. 

Anyone with a modicum of interest in theatre should take the opportunity to check it out. Tours are on Mondays and Saturdays at 10 a.m weekly and tickets are $12. 

All photos taken by Olivia Graves

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