Art News

Amid Shakeups, DCPA Appoints Attorney Martin Semple as Board Chair

Martin Semple will take the helm of the board at Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
Martin Semple will take the helm of the board at Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Denver Center for the Performing Arts
The Denver Center for the Performing Arts has seen a lot of turnover in recent years, but one guiding force has been board chairman Daniel Ritchie. Today, March 7, the organization announced that Ritchie will be replaced in that role by Martin Semple, an attorney who has specialized in employment law — a skill set the DCPA seems to need as of late.

In May 2016, DCPA CEO Scott Shiller stepped down after just a year in the job. Ritchie took over until August, when the organization hired its latest CEO: Janice Sinden, Mayor Michael Hancock's chief of staff for five years, whom the DCPA touted as a "historic choice" for the job. She came to the gig with fundraising and organizational skills, if not much experience in the arts.

Under Sinden, DCPA Theater Company artistic director Kent Thompson resigned, and DCPA trustee Jim Steinberg stepped down, claiming Sinden had pushed Thompson out and that she "doesn't know the field."

Sinden told Westword that Steinberg's statements were "inaccurate."

As for Semple, he's looking forward to the new post. "I am honored that the Denver Center’s Board of Trustees has selected me to succeed Dan as its new Chairman,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to working with my colleagues, Janice and the exemplary staff of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts to develop a vision that ingrains this organization into the very fabric of our community — both locally and throughout the American theatre.”

Ritchie described Martin as a "staunch supporter" of the DCPA who has contributed to the group for forty years.

“As a business leader, civic partner and individual patron, Martin has been entrenched in all aspects of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts,” said Sinden in a statement. “I am delighted that he will lend his expertise and friendship to the continued success of the DCPA as we develop a vision for the future that embraces our community, elevates our artists, and enhances our place as one of the city’s cultural gems.”
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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris