Transformational Grant Supports Artistic Ambition
Monday, August 7, 2017. Denver, CO – The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust has awarded Curious Theatre Company a three-year $100,000 transformational grant to support amplifying and expanding the company’s growing national profile through strategic investments in artistic opportunities. This transformational grant is generously in addition to the Trust’s continued annual operating support of Curious, and currently, represents their only support of a professional theatre in the state of Colorado.
The Steinberg grant will allow Curious to tackle the final piece in an organizational transformation that began two years ago. In 2016, Curious was also awarded an $80,000 two-year Arts Innovation Grant from the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation to support testing and developing a new model for artistic administration that could be applied field-wide, coined THE LOYALTY TARGET. Now, the company has turned their attention to expanding their artistic endeavors.
“We feel a strong momentum right now,” said Producing Artistic Director Chip Walton. “This year is Curious’ 20th Anniversary and we believe that this is our moment to take a significant step in both visibility and accomplishment as professional theatre. We have a unique voice in our community and we are committed to working with the best artists across the country to realize our vision in production. I’m so grateful that the Steinberg Trust has recognized this potential, and given us the support to take this next bold step in our organizational journey.”
Curious has made a big splash in recent months, in essence rebranding the company as a social justice organization whose platform is live theatre. The only theatre in the city to make a strong statement following the election, Curious pledged to double-down on their commitment to tell gutsy stories and push audiences to examine their contemporary world in new ways. They were also the only theatre in Denver to host the Ghostlight Project the night before the Presidential Inauguration, a national project led by theatre artists vowing to keep their theatres a safe space for all people, uniting in diversity. Curious used this moment in our country’s history to emphasize their commitment to social justice, civil liberties, and equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Perhaps Curious’ boldest step was to program the Rolling World Premiere of Building the Wall by Robert Schenkkan mere months after it was written, a protest piece against rhetoric promoting the round up and detention of undocumented immigrants. The show sold out its run here in Denver and was invited to the Aspen Ideas Festival last month. Curious hopes that this sort of rapid response to world events will become more regular within the field now that the company led the way in showing that it can be done.
Curious’ 20th Anniversary Season is a sign of things to come for the theatre, stretching artists, audiences, and funding partners alike in unprecedented ways, and serving as a springboard for the next decade at Curious. It will also be their most ambitious production season ever, featuring extraordinary production elements, welcoming several emerging national theatrical artists to Denver, and introducing three of the most compelling American playwrights to the Rocky Mountain region.
“Curious has been a real leader nationally for many years now,” shared Jim Steinberg, a director of the Trust. “As one of the champions of the National New Play Networks’ Rolling World Premieres, Curious has taken on the mantle of national leadership in guiding the growth of this important national program. Though primarily unsung in Denver, Chip has tested new ideas here that then often take years to make their way to other cities and theatres. There’s a real opportunity in the Denver market right now for Curious to increase their organizational visibility and leadership and we are delighted to be supporting them as they take their next big artistic leap.”
“It’s an incredible vote of confidence that the Steinberg Trust has awarded us this opportunity in addition to their generous annual contribution to Curious,” added Walton. The Trust, which focuses much of its efforts on fostering new playwrights, has long been a supporter of Curious, which has new work its core. In fact, in its nineteen years of existence, Curious has only ever once put up a play previously presented in Denver.
“There’s a reason our motto is ‘no guts, no story’,” said Managing Director Katie Maltais. “We were founded by risk takers and that’s what’s enabled us to not only survive but thrive for twenty years. We are Denver’s home for diverse, thought-provoking new work. This grant allows Chip to really take partnerships and exploration to the next stage and I can’t wait to be a part of that.”
About the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust
The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust was created by Harold Steinberg in 1986 in his name and the name of his late wife, Miriam. The Trust’s primary mission is to support and promote the American theater as a vital part of our culture by nurturing American playwrights, encouraging the development and production of new American plays, and providing significant support to not-for-profit theater companies across the country.
Since its inception, the Trust has given over $80 million to more than a hundred not-for-profit theater organizations. These gifts have funded countless productions, as well as the commissioning of playwrights, playwriting programs and arts-in-education outreach programs for thousands of children in an effort to create and educate new generations of theatergoers.
About Curious Theatre Company
The mission of Curious Theatre Company is to engage the community in important contemporary issues through provocative modern theatre.
Now celebrating 20 years of bringing thought-provoking theatre to Denver, Curious Theatre Company’s rich history showcases our commitment to playwrights with gutsy things to say. Over the last ten years, 66% of Curious plays have been written by playwrights of color, LGBTQ playwrights, or female playwrights – an unparalleled distinction in our region. We are proud to produce plays that challenge and enrich our lives through different viewpoints and storytelling styles.
Curious has been named Best Theatre Season by Westword seven times and was honored four times with Best Year by a Theatre Company by the former Denver Post Ovation Awards. Our incredible Company and the artists who work with us have earned hundreds of awards through their tireless effort to bring relevant, contemporary theatre to the Front Range.
“No guts, no story” embodies the ethos of Curious Theatre Company. Established in 1997 by a vanguard Artistic Company that has since grown to 26 professional actors, designers, and directors at its core, Curious brings the best new theatre to Denver, producing thought-provoking plays designed to challenge ideas, stir emotions, and leave audiences thinking and talking for days.