#12: Kent Thompson
In his ten years of working magic as director of the Denver Center Theatre Company, Kent Thompson, who came here after years with the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, has seen — and exacted — change in how the DCTC and regional theater in general present work both immediately contemporary and centuries old. In the company’s upcoming season, look for the DCTC to cross boundaries and invent new models while still presenting a taste of Shakespeare; next May’s collaboration with the New Rail Projects on dance theater will even jump ship at the Denver Performing Arts Complex to sail at a yet-to-be-determined location. Here Thompson shares his 21st-century outlook via the 100CC questionnaire.
Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Kent Thompson: William Shakespeare (or whoever wrote those plays). I’d ask him to write a series of new plays about American presidents from Reagan to Obama. When Will gets over the shock of seeing the world in 2015, he could shed light in very surprising ways on the continuing evolution (devolution?) of American elections, politics and leaders.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
Baratunde Thurston is my latest favorite author, who’s also a comedian and former director of digital for The Onion. His book, How to Be Black, is audacious, clever and biting. He uses humor, outrage and truth to reveal the media’s continued misrepresentation of black people today. It’s a revelatory, hilarious book. Thurston’s been named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company magazine.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
New plays and musicals about the mid-life crises of well-to-do white people living in the Northeast.
What's your day job?
Producing Artistic Director of the Theatre Company at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
Write, teach, support and fund the next generation of theater artists and audiences.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
Pass the SCFD in 2016.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
Garrett Ammon of Wonderbound. He’s endlessly innovative, collaborates across disciplines and organizations in Denver, is very hip and attracts a cool audience, too.
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
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Taking the DCPA outside the arts complex and into our community with offsite, immersive experiences.
Who do you think will get noticed in the local theater community in 2015?
Andrew Hinderaker, a gifted, widely produced playwright (great teacher, too). Writes about hard-hitting, relevant issues that require high intensity and imaginative staging, such as COLOSSAL, a testosterone-laden play about a paralyzing football injury — played through the lens of dance. He’s moved to Denver.
The Denver Center Theatre Company 2015-2016 season begins September 11 by shipping the Lookingglass Theatre Company in from Chicago for its acrobatic, cirque-style signature piece, Lookingglass Alice. Shakespeare’s As You Like It, directed by Kent Thompson, follows on September 25. Find the complete 2015-2016 schedule and tickets at the Denver Center Theatre Company online.