News & Notices
The Fellows Update
The Fellows Update has returned as a quarterly Sightlines feature that will focus on a Fellow, what he or she is doing today, and how to make contact. USITT Fellows provide an invaluable resource of experience and institutional memory that can be of service to any member. The article that follows is by Tim Kelly, who was inducted as a Fellow in 1995.
Where am I now? Having spent many winters in the cold of Colorado, Patty and I moved to Tucson where we plan to spend September through May basking under the Sonoran sun. After retirement from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts in 2008 it took a little while to figure out we were tired of snow and wanted a new adventure. I worked many rewarding years with the DCPA and was given incredible opportunities to grow with the Center and take on a great number of challenges. What follows is an outline of some of the projects I worked on during my forty years with the DCPA.
During my early years in Denver I held the position of Technical Director for the Bonfils Theatre from 1968 through 1978 on the front lines of theatre production. With responsibilities for oversight of the technical side of 20 fully staged productions each year, I gained hard won experience in set construction, lighting, sound, and production management. These skills were brought to bear as my next assignment for the DCPA was to finish construction, facilitate move in, and establish the operating procedures for Denver’s new Boettcher Concert Hall.
As Technical Director then General Manager for Boettcher Hall from 1978 through 1983 I had the opportunity to work with the Hall’s designers and acousticians in the start-up of this one of a kind facility. In 1984 my focus changed when I was asked to create the Department of Facilities & Engineering for the DCPA. Drawing on my theatre production and administrative experience I instituted the unique facilities support procedures essential in operating performance spaces. For the next 24 years with the DCPA my responsibilities took on all aspects of Facilities and Project Management. During that time I was the DCPA Owner’s Representative for over $75,000,000 in remodeling and construction work.
Within the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex my work over the years included remodeling the Stage, Space, Ricketson and Jones theatres. My respect for the existing architecture of the Bonfils Complex assisted me in influencing the architects with a design program for the Seawell Grand Ballroom. This $18,000,000, fourteen month project was constructed atop the existing Space Theatre portion of the Bonfils Theatre Complex; all the while we continued operations of stage productions.
Working closely with Historic Denver on the DCPA's 1901 era Tramway Building, listed on the National Register, it was my responsibility to make certain the design team proceeded with careful sensitivity to the historic character of the building. This project included remodeling 30,000 sq. ft. to house the Center’s Education Department with specially designed rehearsal rooms, offices, scene shop, support space and a 168 seat proscenium theatre. To accommodate the Center for Voice and Speech, we added a 16,000 sq. ft. new 4th floor to the Tramway Building while conforming to all the exacting requirements of Historic Denver.
The management of these projects demanded close attention to strict architectural standards, historic preservation, construction efficiency and, most importantly, a full understanding of the end user’s needs. My work on cultural facilities demanded a degree of familiarity with the arts that was achieved through my early career practical hands-on experience.
While I miss the challenges of working full time, I have come to enjoy the freedom to take on other projects and even spend a little time trying to improve my golf game. I plan on continuing my volunteer work with USITT and look forward to finding other outlets for the enthusiasm I will always maintain for the challenging and fascinating world of theatre and the performing arts.