#46: Susan Lyles
Denver actor and director Susan Lyles saw a gap and for the last ten years has made filling it her major concern: She took on the mission of showing deserved support for overlooked women playwrights by forming Denver's And Toto too Theatre Company, a group solely dedicated to producing plays by women -- and especially women working in Colorado. This is not theater by women for women -- it's work for everyone, presented on an egalitarian playing field for audiences of every gender who have a love of theatre in common. As she prepares to celebrate And Toto too's tenth anniversary in 2015, we asked Lyles to tell us where she's going; read on for her answers to the 100CC questionnaire.
Susan Lyles rolls up her sleeves to work on the set of Pardon My Dust.
If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Cameron Mackintosh -- to learn producing from the most prolific producer in modern times? What a great gift. Oh, to be the Cameron Mackintosh of straight plays.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
Women playwrights in general are fascinating -- their voices are becoming stronger, their stories more wide-reaching. The Denver indie theater scene is exploding. The voices of our local playwrights, men and women, are reshaping the American theater scene, and I am proud to be a part of that movement.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
Is there a trend? I think that as long as an artist is creating, it's all good.
Susan Lyles takes a swig in The Green Room.
What's your day job?
Running And Toto too and being chauffeur to my two boys.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
Create an environment where playwright, actors and designers can create art as their day job.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
Create affordable performance space for the smaller theater companies in the Denver Theater District.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
There are so many amazing and creative people that I have been lucky to work with over the years, and it's hard to choose just one. That said, the one creative that I want to be when I grow up is Billie McBride: smart, talented, kind and sassy.
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
The big agenda item this coming year is celebrating And Toto too's tenth anniversary, making us the longest running theater company in Denver to focus entirely on producing work by women playwrights. We are bringing back some of the playwrights we have worked with over the last nine years in the form of sofa reads, coffee shop reads, workshops and performances. Finding a permanent home is also high on our to-do list this coming year. There are also some really exciting changes coming in 2015 that we will be announcing soon.
Who do you think will get noticed in the local theater community in 2014?
And Toto too Theatre Company -- finally.
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And Toto too's season-ending production, The Playground, opens Thursday, November 6, at work | space, under the direction of company founder Susan Lyles and Nicolette Vajtay. Show runs through November 22, and tickets are $20 to $22. Learn more about Susan Lyles and And Toto too online.
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