Thunder River Theatre Company

A nonprofit organization

Thunder River Theatre Company is a non-profit theatre in the heart of the Carbondale Creative District that offers year-round professional theatre programming for youth, adults and seniors. Programs include four Mainstage productions, New Play Development, Signature Cabaret Series, Theatre for Young Audience and school/community outreach.


“I left TRTC moved and shaken. That’s as it should be.” - Fred Malo Jr., Carbondale - Letter to the Editor in the Sopris Sun

“The point is not to feel good. The point is to feel. Are we up to the challenge?” - Luke Wander - Sopris Sun

“My wife and I attended the Thunder River Theatre Company production of Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire, directed by Missy Moore. We have had a lot of exposure to quality live drama in our years in Chicago, being season ticket holders to the Goodman and Steppenwolf theaters for decades. Each of the five actors were flawless to watch and their performances rivaled many of those we had seen in Chicago. Even the set was remarkable for a small-town theater play. Kudos to those five actors and the whole production staff for a stimulating and rewarding evening.” - Dick Wells, Carbondale - Letter to the Editor in the Sopris Sun

“We’ve all been hearing about the good work that Thunder River has been turning out for the last few years, earning Henry’s for productions and actors. The skeptic in me wanted to know how a tiny mountain town could find the talent to do all this great work. So, I investigated. 

Founded in 1995, for the first eleven years of its existence, it didn’t have its own home but trucked costumes and props all over the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond to perform in other venues. Finally, on New Years Eve in 2005, they were able, with the overwhelming support of the entire community, to open their own beautiful new facility that was paid in full by grants and donations. This is no small community theatre; this is a full-blown professional theatre that actors from Denver and other Front Range theatres are beginning to discover as a great place to work. I HIGHLY recommend a stop to enjoy this jewel of a theatre on your next trip to the mountains. Looking for something to do? Meander on over to Carbondale and take in a play. Going skiing in Aspen or Vail? Take a side trip and enjoy a show when you come down off the mountain. You will not be sorry.” - Beki Pineda - Front Row Denver Center 

“The fictional town of Big Cherry is not Carbondale, but enough parallels exist to make The Minutes by Tracy Letts required viewing for our voting public. The conversations that might follow such a play are vital to the moral well-being of our town, our valley, and our country.” - Luke Wander - Sopris Sun

“Since Moore joined the theater in 2021, she hasn’t backed herself into a corner of complacency in terms of the type of talent and storytelling that’s brought to the stage—no. She’s kicking Thunder River’s doors wide open and inviting the community to come in and challenge themselves.” - Jacqueline Renyolds - Aspen Daily News

“This production of a perennial favorite comedy (You Can’t Take it With You) is nothing short of a home run for Carbondale’s Thunder River Theatre Company. With a company of 19, director Missy Moore was able to successfully cast every single role with local actors who looked born to the parts. And while the Hart/Kaufman Pulitzer-Prize winner dates back to 1936, its themes regarding how to be a happy human in a capitalist society are as timely as ever. There are so many moving parts to this play that it certainly could have sunk under its own weight, but the clever script is drum-tight and Missy Moore is entirely up to the task not only of a great deal of complex traffic management but of teasing out nearly a score of performances that all resonate on levels big and small. It’s an impressive and loving presentation of one of the great American comedies, and a true community effort from the Roaring Fork Valley’s impressive pool of talent.” - Alex Miller - Onstage Colorado

“I must admit that after watching just once, I do not have answers to these questions. So, this coming weekend, I will be back in the audience to watch what unfolds on the back porch a second time. I hope, dear reader, that you’ll join me.” - Luke Wander - Sopris Sun



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

Our Values: We are a dedicated organization committed to uplifting the community through impactful conversation, economic stimulation, and collaborative partnerships. Our focus on the human experience drives us to create compelling and riveting storytelling that challenges and inspires. We are also dedicated to shaping the future by providing education, fostering integrity, and nurturing artistic exploration for future generations.

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

Organization Size

Medium Organization


67 Promenade
Carbondale, CO 81623

Service areas

Garfield County, CO, US



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