Miners Alley Playhouse plans arts center for Golden
Last year, Len Matheo, who took over the general and artistic direction of Miners Alley Playhouse in Golden almost a decade ago, reflected on the future of his theater company. The theater was already a well-respected local theater, but Matheo and his wife, actress Lisa DeCaro, who is chair of the theater’s board, have raised the bar. The productions have become more adventurous and more professional; classes, concerts and children’s theater were added to the list.
Then the pandemic closed almost all local performance venues. âIt’s been a long journey,â says Matheo. âCOVID made everyone rethink what they were doing. Last year, the performance hall hosted a few events and live broadcasts; he even managed to create jobs for artists and staff. But, “if the theater were to become shows without an audience and only live, I didn’t want to do it,” continues Matheo. “It was depressing, even though we made it work.”
Three plays were performed earlier this year as the threat of the pandemic seemed to recede: that of Max Posner Treasurer, that of John Ashton Before you leave and a searing production by Arthur Miller The crucible. And from November 26, there will be the annual production of A Christmas Carol, an adaptation of the classic by local playwright Josh Hartwell.
Now Matheo and DeCaro are embarking on a huge, new and exciting project. The performance hall has signed a contract to purchase the Meyer Hardware Building – 15,000 square feet of land at 1103 Arapahoe Street – where they will create the Miners Alley Performing Arts Center.
Originally purchased by Joe and Ruby Meyer in 1945 and mostly family-owned until it closed earlier this year, the store has its own story. âThis building means a lot to a lot of people in Golden, and we want to celebrate that,â said Matheo. “We will be honoring the history of Meyer Hardware and the history of Miners Alley Playhouse.”
The opening of a performing arts center in a small town with an educated population – many already longtime supporters of Miners Alley Playhouse – represents a brilliant opportunity, and Matheo and DeCaro both have solid business backgrounds. to assume it. In 1997, they founded court-based court consultancy Courtroom Performance Inc. and turned it into a successful national organization.
âI’m currently president of the American Society of Trial Consultants, and we’ve worked with some of the best litigators in the country,â DeCaro says. âSo we’ve always been proud of our ability to build things together. . There’s really no one I prefer working with than Len.
âThis project brings the city to work with us in a public / private partnership,â says Matheo. âIt’s been preparing for years. We had to convince the city and the downtown authorities of the economic value, but also that without the people who make art, we have nothing.
There was a lot of support for the new venture. âWhen we heard that Meyer Hardware was shutting down, a group of locals got together and felt we needed to save that space from big box development or condos,â says Matheo. âWe were very lucky: local architects, branding specialists, downtown merchants, a real estate lawyer and others volunteered their time, expertise, contacts and skills. to create a truly wonderful presentation of our vision.
“The Golden Civic Foundation gave us a bridging loan for a large deposit,” he continues. âThe loans from the City of Golden’s Downtown Development Authority and On-Tap Credit Union – formerly Coors Credit Union – all contribute Purchase Price of $ 4,950,000. It was a truly inspiring experience. So many people were so dedicated. to make that happen.
Miners Alley will continue the season in its current building until spring 2022, but there is uncertainty as to when regular programming begins in the new space. Matheo plans to open in stages, creating what he calls a “starter theater” and “building as you go.” He hopes to mount a production of Hair next summer and continue the shows until the fall. Leaving the current location, with its comfortable lobby and intimate seating, can be bittersweet, he admits, “but in the end, it’s more exciting than anything else.”
There will be community and rehearsal rooms in the new center, as well as a dance studio and classes for children and adults. In addition, Matheo promises: âWe will try to maintain as many elements of privacy that created the family and community atmosphere that everyone loves as we can.
âWe will always have a great lobby bar and an intimate stage. We will continue to create a community, one connection at a time – and at the bar, one drink at a time, âhe laughs.
Matheo says a bonus from the move will work more closely with DeCaro, who takes on the role of executive director of the company, while he remains artistic director.
âThe theater is not dead,â he says. âIt’s clearly alive and well. The community has come forward to build something for the arts and people that is pretty amazing.
A Christmas Carol from November 26 to December 23 at Miners Alley Playhouse, 1224 Washington Avenue, Golden. For more information, call 303-935-3044 or visit minersalley.com.