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—Courtesy of John Moore

DCPA’s New Theater Program for Students

Denver Center for the Performing Arts takes Shakespeare off the stage—and into the parking lot. 

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Take away the costumes, the lighting design, and even the stage, and theater is still, well, theater. At least, that’s the premise of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ (DCPA) newest offering. Launched in September, Shakespeare in the Parking Lot is a pilot education program that brings six actors and minimal costumes and props to area schools—no crew, no rotating sets—for short performances. The team will visit 10 schools this fall and 10 more in the spring. The cast presents a 45-minute version of Romeo and Juliet outside in front of 100 or so students at a time. (The actors do up to eight shows, over two days, at each school.) The actors return the next day to discuss the play’s undertones, such as responsibility and parental oversight. “One of the things theater can bring to the classroom is conversation, collaboration, and critical thinking,” says Allison Watrous, DCPA’s director of education. And, perhaps, a bit of clarity: Weld Central High School students who took part in April’s test run told Watrous they finally understood the Bard’s lyrical text after seeing it performed. All the world’s a stage, indeed.

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