Curious Theatre flips its script

New artistic director leads 25th season

Candy Petrofsky Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 7/29/22

Gearing up for what’s sure to be its most sterling season ever, Curious Theatre Company is raising the curtain on its big silver anniversary with a significant change of scenery — a new artistic …

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Curious Theatre flips its script

New artistic director leads 25th season

Posted

Gearing up for what’s sure to be its most sterling season ever, Curious Theatre Company is raising the curtain on its big silver anniversary with a significant change of scenery — a new artistic director.

“To go from a white man running the company to now a female, and especially, one of color, is vital in continuing our mission of producing thought-provoking, relevant, social justice theater,” said Markas Henry, artist in residence at Curious Theatre Company.

The man Henry is referring to is Chip Walton, the “OG” of what’s known backstage as the magnificent seven — which includes his now wife Dee Covington — who started Curious Theatre Company 24 years ago. Walton and Covington will be leaving the company at the end of this upcoming 25th season to seek new adventures.

They could have conducted a nationwide search to find their replacements, but it turns out that their angel was already waiting in the wings.

“It is so satisfying to hand the theater off to someone on the inside — someone who is deeply intimate with Curious,” Covington said. “All the mystery and anxiety of change is softened. She knows how to make her mark, and as our new artistic director, she’ll do a lot to make audiences of all ages and color feel welcome.”

Jada Suzanne Dixon is the woman Covington is referring to - and is she ever right for the role. A Curious company member for the past 10 years, Dixon has been an actor, assistant director, associate producer, associate director, director and artist in residence. Her Curious credits alone could pack a playbill and she holds three masters degrees, one from the very tony Harvard University. After intense vetting, which no doubt earned her a standing ovation from the board, the polished Dixon will officially assume the role of artistic director just in time for Curious’ 2022-2023 silver anniversary season, which could prove to be its most timely, if not most treasured, to date.

“I’m looking forward to leading Curious into the next quarter-century of bold theatrical work, and carrying on its tradition of thinking outside the box and starting conversations,” said Dixon. “Work that is unapologetic, diverse, tackles the tough questions and stirs emotions. Our five plays this season are centered around the theme, `what does it mean to be an American?’ Something I think a lot of people are thinking about right now.”

“No guts, no story” embodies the ethos of Curious Theatre Company, according to Covington. Established in 1997 by a vanguard artistic company that has since grown to 25 professional actors, designers and directors, Curious has cultivated a local and national reputation as a destination for artists and playwrights to foster and develop new work — and as a place where audiences are challenged.

Now entering a quarter century of bringing thought-provoking theater to Denver, Dixon highlighted just a few of the amazing accolades the vanguard company has racked up in the past 24 seasons:

● Curious has produced 21 world premieres, 13 National New Play Network Rolling World Premieres, 82 regional premieres and four Denver premieres.

● During the last 10 years, 75% of Curious’ plays have been written by playwrights of color, LGBTQIA+ playwrights or female playwrights.

● Curious’ longstanding commitment to pioneering work, equity, diversity and inclusion, as well as artistic and professional excellence, has been recognized with more than 100 local and national awards, including a Denver Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in Arts & Culture.

As with everything in life, change is inevitable and the show must go on. Covington said the company is excited to flip the script with a new artistic director, and she and her husband will remain active and available during this 25th Anniversary transition year.

“Under Dixon’s direction, the lens will shift, but our core values will stay the same,” Covington said. “Curious Theatre will forever remain a destination for artists and playwrights with gutsy things to say to foster and develop new work, and a place where audiences are challenged. And we will never be static. We’ll keep asking questions and reevaluating the answers to keep our audiences enthralled and engaged.”

As for Dixon? She hopes to bring a little extra sparkle to the 25th anniversary season. And with ticket prices starting at just $20, it won’t cost a lot of silver to go.

“I look forward to breaking new ground this season, and beyond, in a very thoughtful and intentional way,” Dixon said. “We want to create theater that’s inclusive and accessible to everyone. Think of me as a caretaker in collaboration with the entire staff to move the Curious legacy forward.”

Curious Theatre Company, Jada Suzanne Dixon, Denver

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