Thunder River Theatre Company

A nonprofit organization

TRTC is a non-profit theatre that offers year-round professional-quality theatre programming for youth, adults & seniors. Programs include a 4-production season, school/community outreach, a Latino theatre initiative, & free tickets for residents of area senior housing & assisted living facilities.


"Tonight was fabulous... These literary nights are a real treasure." - Dorothy Segal, Patron & Donor

"What a brilliant idea to do these incredibly insightful literary nights... THANK YOU for doing these." - Sarah Kennedy, Patron & Donor

"I've been meaning to drop you a note to say how much I enjoyed the Anaya Literary Night. It was a terrifically engaging presentation. I loved how you interwove passages from 'Bless Me, Ultima' with information about the author's life. Your research was broad and thorough and I learned several new things. Although I speak not a word of Spanish, I took pleasure in listening to the passages that were read in Spanish. The different sounds and rhythms added an extra layer of richness to the program. Kudos to all on a lovely evening. Also, a special thanks again to the two of you for your whole-hearted embrace of The Big Read. You've made a wonderful
contribution to the project." - Julie Pickrell, Special Projects Consultant, The Big Read/Aspen Writers' Foundation

Printed in the Sopris Sun
Dear Editor,

A month after the Karen Chamberlain Poetry Festival, and I am still feeling the after-effects. That's how powerful it is when a group of people come together and open their hearts and dare to speak and really listen to each other. And what a wonderful job TRTC and Carbondale does hosting this festival. Thanks to the careful planning of Valerie Haugen and Lon Winston, and thanks to the fabulous space of the Thunder River Theatre Company, Colorado's poets now have an inspirational, central gathering place. I love coming to Carbondale-which already has such a thriving poetry community year round. Thank you, Valerie and Lon, and thank you Carbondale. - Rosemary Wahtola Trommer
San Miguel County, Colorado

"Dear Lon and Valerie:
Thanks so very much for joining me last week for the AWF Reads discussion of Bless Me, Ultima. What a fantastic panel - I didn't have to do a thing...just sit and listen to what will surely be received as one of the best book talks we've hosted. Thank you for your patience, support and enthusiasm - it was great fun!"
- Lisa Consiglio, Executive Director, Aspen Writers' Foundation

"Dear Lon,
I want to express my gratitude for the opportunity to work with you, the Roaring Fork Hospice, the cast, and the support staff of the TRTC to assist in the production of WIT. It has been a very gratifying and exhilarating experience to realize so directly the power of art as education. Thank you for all you have done to accommodate the panels, the receptions and the extras beyond the usual tasks of a production. I am in awe of the talent of TRTC and the power of this play. The icons represented in WIT, as you pointed out Thursday night in the discussion, are very poignant, powerful and exceptionally expressive of life's journey (both forward and in reflection) when one faces a terminal illness."
- Rita Marsh, Director of Caring Connections

Letter in The Aspen Times: March 4, 2015
"The Core of Shakespeare
We are lucky to have so many very talented people in our valley, but once in a while we come across an extraordinary artist. In this case, he is a ...maker of magic, a theatrical genius. Most of us know Lon Winston, founder and director of the Thunder River Theatre in Carbondale.
To experience the wonder of his vision for live theater, you only need to catch the production of "Hamlet" now being performed. It's 'Hamlet' as my husband and I have never before experienced. It's not a 'let's just change the location and time period.' Instead, it's a 'Hamlet' with all the layers peeled away, the guts and core of Shakespeare's most well-known play. You don't have to 'suspend disbelief.' Instead, you'll take an incredible journey into the best that art can bring to our lives. Please, don't miss this production."
- Roberta McGowan


By engaging artists and audiences, Thunder River Theatre Company explores the human experience through inspired theatre and innovative artistry.

Background Statement

TRTC was founded in 1995. From the beginning, TRTC set its goals to not only produce the finest professional theatre, but to foster community and give something meaningful back to the Roaring Fork Valley. TRTC was originally founded in partnership with the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities. TRTC was incorporated as a nonprofit in Colorado at that time, but not as a 501(c)(3), since CCAH had their 501(c)(3).

The goal of the partnership was to help raise money for CCAH's scholarship programs. This partnership was relatively simple and on the cutting-edge; CCAH produced TRTC plays, which were performed as CCAH events. TRTC wrote grants and solicited underwriters. All the net proceeds went back to CCAH for the continued support of all the arts in our community. During the first eight years, TRTC netted over $80,000 for CCAH.

The Colorado Council on the Arts used this partnership model (highlighted on their website at that time) when advising other arts organizations throughout the state. TRTC strengthened, defined its own place in our valley, and in 2004, achieved its own 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, Roaring Fork Friends of the Theater, Inc. We are now RFFT, Inc. DBA Thunder River Theatre Company, and on December 28, 2004, we received our final determination letter from the IRS.

Organization Data


Organization name

Thunder River Theatre Company

other names

Thunder River Theatre Company, TRTC

Year Established


Tax id (EIN)



Arts, Culture & Humanities


67 Promenade
Carbondale, CO 81623

Service areas

Garfield County, CO, US



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