It’s the last thing you’d expect in a town of 400, but Creede’s Repertory Theater is celebrating its 50th year and continues to be one of the best in the West
It’s the classic tale of boom and bust: The town of Creede began as a silver mining boomtown complete with outlaws and brothels, but by the mid-20th century, it became clear that the mines wouldn’t last forever. In 1966, a group of residents, including a theatre-loving preacher, drafted a letter and mailed it to various universities, hoping that some students would answer the call to start a summer theatre. One of those letters was posted on a bulletin board at the University of Kansas. Steve Grossman, a 19-year-old theatre undergrad, saw the letter and answered it.
Under the direction of Grossman, twelve students drove from KU to Creede. With $32 in the bank and the enthusiastic aid of the community, they mounted the first season. Program ads were sold, the hardware store established an open line of credit, and the twelve tireless students rehearsed. When they weren’t rehearsing, the KU students built the scenery, sewed the costumes, found or made props, lit the stage and sold tickets for $1.00. The opening show, Mr. Roberts, electrified the Creede audience and received an enthusiastic standing ovation. Most people in that audience had never seen live theatre. The KU students went on to mount four more plays: The Bat, Our Town, The Rainmaker and Born Yesterday and run them all in repertory.
Fast-forward 50 years, and the critically acclaimed theater manages to sell more than 20,000 tickets each year to shows like August, Osage County. The season was recently extended to run through Sept. 19, which means you still have time to get there this year.
If you go:
The CRT has two locations in town
- Mainstage Theatre at 124 Main St.
- Ruth Humphreys Brown Theatre at 120 South Main St.
Visit creederep.org to learn more.