Arts and Culture

Now Showing: Kent Thompson and Emily Tarquin

For this year's Now Showing, Westword's fall arts guide (you'll find it tucked into our September 26 issue), we asked artistic movers and shakers to answer a few questions about the state of the arts, both locally and around the world. We'll be rolling out their answers over the next few weeks in pairs that combine both veterans and newcomers in similar disciplines. Today, we hear from two movers at the Denver Center Theatre Company, Kent Thompson and Emily Tarquin.

See also: Now Showing: Nancy Smith and Patrick Mueller

Kent Thompson, artistic director, Denver Center Theatre Company.

Kent Thompson is the face behind the Denver Center Theatre Company, the man who chooses and oversees every work that hits the stage at Denver's premier mainstream theater venue.

What do you think of recent developments in your field, and the current scene?

We're seeing a generational change in leadership across American theater, but also a bigger change. Audiences today want more than a Field of Dreams model (if we build it -- and make it a good show -- they will come). The live performance is still the "animating event," but people want more -- connecting to the show before, during the event. They want an evening out with other people like them.  And audiences love the live connection with performers, but they want it to be a special evening, too. 

What could be done to improve the scene?

Every theater in Colorado is trying new angles of marketing to different audiences (young adults, cultural or racially diverse audiences). That's great, but we have to change the conversation we have with audiences -- and even scarier, our programming has to reflect the audiences we want. For Denver and Colorado, we're asking our audiences not just to "witness" our performances and go home, but to talk, talk, talk.

Who/what has inspired you most in your career?

Performances that are magical: when the audience start breathing literally together, when you could hear a pin drop, and we're all caught up in a moment we will never forget -- be it Atticus Finch's despair over the unjust verdict in To Kill A Mockingbird, to Othello's tragic recognition that he has killed Desdemona without cause, that he has destroyed the love of his life, to -- trust me -- the straight guy discovering his inner a drag queen. Coming soon.

Who/what will you be watching for this arts season?

Continue to be inspired by Wonderbound's reinvention of dance -- and finally, they have a Denver home!  BETC's SantaLand Diaries with the hilarious Matt Zambrano, Amy Herzog's After the Revolution at Curious, and more...

Learn more about the DCTC's new season online.

Continue reading for our interview with Emily Tarquin.
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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd

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