For many years, residents of Denver South had few options to engage with the performing arts. Although a handful of small venues and troupes provided some local choices, most in the region were relegated to driving to downtown Denver to find a wider range of performing arts options. This changed, however, ten years ago with the opening of the Lone Tree Arts Center (LTAC). For the first time, Denver South had a dynamic, LEED certified, state-of-the-art venue dedicated to presenting and producing performance arts for all ages. The venue has made a mark on both the city and the region since hosting its first performance September 9th, 2011.

In the years since opening, the Lone Tree Arts Center has:

  • Presented 1,176 performances
  • Welcomed 267,147 tickets patrons from the 7-county metro area and beyond
  • Opened their doors to more than 450,000 guests and visitors

LTAC operates a dynamic model for the performing arts by producing its own professional theatrical productions as well as presenting national and regional tours. It is also known for its children’s programming, ensuring the performing arts are accessible to both adults and children alike. Its theater productions have won regional acclaim and—since its opening—LTAC has been honored with five prestigious Henry Awards from the Colorado Theatre Guild and has received 24 nominations. Through the coronavirus pandemic, LTAC was one of the few theaters in the country that continued to offer programming throughout the pandemic. Shortly after stay-at-home orders were lifted, the venue began offering virtual concerts that were available via livestream to allow patrons to still enjoy live music despite size limitations on public gatherings. As limitations were relaxed, LTAC began welcoming patrons back to in-person performances in March 2021, although it continued to offer virtual streaming for most performances to ensure that those who were uncomfortable in larger groups still had access to the center’s performance arts.

The desire to ensure that performing arts are accessible to all highlights the important civic role LTAC plays for both the city of Lone Tree and the surrounding region. The venue is not just a cultural asset, but is also a great civic partner. Since 2011, LTAC has served more than 91,000 students, seniors, and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities through their community impact programs. In 2015 LTAC spearheaded the first sensory-friendly summit with 50 different Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD)-funded organizations in an effort to delivery sensory-friendly cultural programming across the Denver metro area. From this, LTAC launched sensory-friendly performances to engage those with intellectual or developmental disabilities who had historically been absent from, and in many cases discouraged from participating in, arts and culture programming. They also partnered with local organizations to underwrite ticket prices to ensure their sensory-friendly shows are accessible to all. These efforts culminated in the Lone Tree Arts Center being first organization to receive the SCFD’s Rex Morgan Award for their sensory friendly initiative in 2018. This award honors outstanding contributions to the community’s culture through leadership, volunteerism, and organizational excellence.

“The amazing community support we’ve had for all of our programs over the past ten years has enabled us to present a wide variety of programs,” according to Leigh Chandler, Artistic Director for the Lone Tree Arts Center. “In addition to our Main Stage music, theatrical, and dance programming, there’s something for everyone at the Lone Tree Arts Center, from kids shows to programs for people with autism and developmental disabilities, to programs for seniors. While we’re relatively young for an arts organization, the rapid growth we’ve experienced, along with our reputation for providing professional, high quality performances, has allowed us – in our current tenth anniversary season – to present world-class artists such as Pink Martini, Taj Mahal, and Keb’ Mo’. To have artists of this caliber performing in an intimate venue like ours provides an experience for patrons like no other. We’re excited to continue to grow and to bring incredible performances to everyone in the South Metro area.”

The Lone Tree Arts Center represents a very different city than it did when its doors first opened ten years ago. Since 2011, the city’s population has grown, new companies have relocated to the city, and RTD’s light rail has extended its reach into Lone Tree. Through it all LTAC has grown with the city, expanding not just its performance offerings but also its civic role. Thanks to the staff’s tireless efforts, more people than ever in Denver South have access to high-quality performing arts, regardless of income, age, or sensory challenges. As with any dynamic city, it is certain that Lone Tree will be a very different city in ten years than it is today. What is also certain, however, is that the Lone Tree Arts Center will continue to grow with the city and will continue to be a cultural gem for not just the city, but for the Denver South region.