The mission of Stories on Stage is to nurture empathy and understanding among individuals as well as groups through performing arts programming that combines theater with literature. The citizens of the Colorado Front Range are the focus of our activities. Our intent is inclusive: we present literary stories by writers of diverse cultural groups; read by professional actors of varying backgrounds to an audience that is as broad-based as our community.
Stories on Stage began in June of 2000 with a pilot performance of actors reading short fiction at the Acoma Center. This debut was followed by two seasons at the King Center through a sponsorship by the University of Colorado at Denver Department of Theatre, Film and Video Production. In this period we formed a non-profit corporation and our board of directors adopted the mission to "nurture empathy and understanding among individuals as well as groups through performing arts programming that combines theater with literature", with a specific intent to be inclusive in both our programming and our outreach to audiences. We expanded our programming to include reader's theatre productions ("No Way Out", a nonfiction piece on the Holocaust by Susan Shear), plus storytelling and readings for students and children ("The Hobbit" and "Through the Eyes of a Soldier").
We initiated and continue our "LoDough" program which enables anyone who wants to attend our programming to purchase tickets on a name-your-price basis. In addition to our standard programming of actors in dramatic readings of short fiction, we continue to create reader's theater pieces at the request of citizens on topics of interest to our community, including slavery in America ("The Slave Narratives"), mental health ("The Mind's Eye"), Latino culture ("Beyond the Border"), addiction ("Addiction-Free: The Road From Hell") and autism ("The Autism Chronicles"). In 2008 Stories on Stage was selected by the Mile High Chapter of the Red Cross for its Breakfast of Champions "Everyday Heroes" Award for our efforts to increase inclusiveness in arts programming and audiences and for our emphasis on programming that addresses issues of importance to our community. In November 2009, for the first time, Stories on Stage expanded our artistic development and created an actual book. This book was about cancer caregivers and was based on interviews with 40 caregivers at Exempla's Comprehensive Cancer Center including oncologists, x-ray technicians, receptionists and pathologists. The book became the basis of an original piece "The Calling to Care" that was performed free to the community and told the story of the committed individuals who care for cancer patients throughout their struggle.
In 2010, Stories on Stage expanded our reach by performing at Su Teatro @ the Denver Civic Theater as well as The Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder. Prior to Covid-19, the majority of our Denver season programming was at Su Teatro and we performed in Boulder three times during the course of the season
at The Nomad Playhouse. This season our entire programming will be virtual live-streamed from the stage at The Nomad Playhouse and will be professionally streamed with a multi-camera shoot.
Stories on Stage is as engaging and thought-provoking as any form of theatre in Denver. A great entertainment value.
The first one I attended hooked me because it was as if I was back in my childhood being read a bedtime story except that the audience are hearing grown-up stories that fascinate, amuse and entertain. It was easy to put all my worldly struggles out of my mind as the actor pulled the audience into the story, the characters, the setting.
We love collaborating with Stories on Stage. Reading stories aloud is surprisingly challenging and having the opportunity to work outside of our "norm" helps to keep things fresh.
- Erin from Buntport Theater Company
Stories on Stage enacts a kind of transformative magic with every performance - their world-class actors read stories to be collectively appreciated by an auditorium full of people.The conversation becomes audible, visual, and tactile, instead of happening between one writer's pen and one reader's silent imagination. It's inspiration on a grand scale.
- Andrea from Lighthouse Writers Workshop
All it took was one visit to Stories on Stage and I was hooked. It gave me such a thrill then, to be asked to be a reader. I know what it's like to be out there in the dark and have really fine literature land beautifully on the ear and create visionary feasts for the mind. As a reader it gives me a chance to paint the picture and enjoy the ride right along with the audience.
- Actor Candy Brown
I think storytelling and story hearing must be among the oldest and deepest of human activities.There is nothing better than the communion of the story teller and their audience. But this is made all the sweeter when the stories are some of the best writing in the language which is always the case at Stories on Stage.
- Actor Kathleen Chalfant