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Celebrating 80 Years - Round of Applause, 1984, Creede Repertory Theatre

Tags: #Celebrating80Years

1984, CRT Historical.jpeg
Creede Opera House circa 1966


#Celebrating80Years: 2017 marked 80 years of working with Colorado’s nonprofits as they seek to strengthen their communities. Throughout 2018, we will be looking back on this history of the outstanding organizations and the people the Trustees have had the opportunity to support. On the blog you will find a history of the Foundation’s grant making and a representative organization from every year since our founding in 1937.


In the midst of an economic slowdown in 1966, the town of Creede reached out to university students to help build a summer tourist attraction.  Originally run by 19-year old Steve Grossman, the Creede Repertory Theatre has grown to become a nationally acclaimed theater in the San Luis Valley region of Colorado. The Theatre not only contributes to the town’s economy, but also actively engages community children to promote the value of the arts.


Grantee Spotlight:  Creede Repertory Theatre

Little Shop of Horrors, 1996 season

During the decline of the mining industry, the financial future of Creede, Colorado seemed uncertain in 1966. In hopes of adding a summer attraction to the town to stimulate the economy, the Jaycees of Creede (members of the Junior Chamber of Commerce) and town pastor, Jim Livingston, sent letters to various universities to call on the help of college students. Only one student, Steve Grossman, replied but he led 11 other students from the University of Kansas to Creede to start a summer theatre series in the town’s historic opera and movie house. The first collection of shows (Mr. Roberts, The Bat, Our Town) were entertaining and exciting. The repertory theater style still stands strong to this day, allowing visitors to see five to six plays per week.

After more than 50 seasons, Creede Repertory Theatre (CRT) is the largest summer employer in the area, drawing around 20,000 visitors each year. The organization has an annual economic impact of $4.1 million for the state of Colorado. As a nationally-renowned theater, CRT has received accolades and recognitions such as The Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in 2016, the True West award for their 50th season in 2015, and three El Pomar Awards for Excellence.

Creede Theatre Company Community Outreach

In addition to its well-regarded theater company and impressive productions, Creede Repertory Theatre also has a variety of programs for kids and community outreach. Nationally acclaimed for its youth programs, CRT offers summer day camps for children of various ages. The Theatre also supports the development of The KID Show which supports children ages 10-18 in developing and producing original shows. Children are involved in the entire process and work to create the set, rehearse, and perform. CRT has also been recognized for promoting social change through the arts and produces the “Young Audience Outreach Tour,” a multi-state tour of an original bilingual children’s show.

Since 1980, El Pomar Foundation has funded the Theatre’s mission and outreach with a variety of grants for the Black Box Theatre construction, lighting system, and other equipment.



El Pomar in 1984:

There was a dramatic increase in the amount of grant dollars provided in 1984, with 65 grants made for a total of $10.1 million. The Foundation made several grants to the southern regions of Colorado with grants to Pueblo Hospitals Campaign, Trinidad Area Health Association, and Creede Repertory Theatre.


Images from:

Spotlight by Kathryn Benson