Telluride Theatre Gala

Last year’s Telluride Theatre Gala took delighted patrons through Alice’s looking glass. (Courtesy photo)

Tickets for Telluride Theatre’s second annual gala went on sale this week. The gala, which is advertised as “a secret party in a secret location,” will take place on July 6 and promises to engage attendees with a magical, creative evening full of surprises, performance, food, drink, auctions and more.

“Every theme is different, and this year’s theme is really exciting and something people are really pumped for,” said Sasha Sullivan, artistic director for the Telluride Theatre.

The gala is an experience that is “uniquely Telluride Theatre,” Sullivan added. Guests aren’t told the location or the theme, but rather they are given small clues about the evening, adding to the excitement and anticipation.

“They get information on what time to show up, where to show up and a little bit about what to expect,” Sullivan explained. “We create a whole world and a whole evening that is in that world.”

Last year’s gala took place on a private property in Aldasoro Ranch with an elaborate Alice in Wonderland theme. The White Rabbit helped to guide guests along various stops on the property for interactive fun, performance, food and drink. Guests also experienced special appearances from characters like Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the Mad Hatter and of course, Alice.

“It was a great night with people, friends, new friends and it was just really cool,” Sullivan said. “The people that came last year were like, ‘this is really magical and amazing,’”

Sullivan said that this year’s event will be just as stimulating, creative and interactive. “We are really excited about this fundraiser and we just wanted to offer a really special night for people.”

Telluride Theatre is a major nonprofit in Telluride.

“We are home to over 100 artists,” Sullivan reported, including performers, musicians, dancers, designers, visual artists, comics and writers. The theatre company holds numerous performances and programs throughout the year including Shakespeare in the Park, Burlesque, the Downlow, Beyond the Box and Books Alive.

Long time Telluride resident, Bärbel Hacke, is an avid supporter of the Theatre.

“I always go to every play,” Hacke said. “It just blows me away each time.”

Hacke explained that the theatre company gives a lot to the community through the arts, from producing exceptional shows to encouraging people from all walks of life to get involved. “There are no barriers,” Hacke said, noting that Telluride Theatre provides a welcoming community, regardless of age, experience or other outside factors.

She added that the passion emanating from the performances and the people involved is contagious. “The talent that we have here, in all different ways, is so incredible. And the people giving their time and really working hard to make it an unbelievable performance, that is so, ‘feel-able.’ The audience feels that you’re somehow part of it, as a spectator.”

In addition to providing a one-of-a-kind theatre experience, the organization also offers year-round educational programs. “Theatre is really important education-wise, for speech, critical thinking, decision making and commitment,” Sullivan said. “Our education program teaches people that have never been on stage, how to be on stage. And then we also teach people who are trained professionals how to get to the next level.”

Beyond helping with production costs and educational programs, Telluride Theatre fundraisers also help artists to get paid for their talents. “We think it’s really important to pay people, to pay artists and to create sustainability for them to live in Telluride,” Sullivan said.  

Given the company’s reputation and history, this year’s gala along with this season’s shows hold creative promise for both performers and attendees.

“We are super passionate about what we do and our fundraisers help us get to the next level,” Sullivan said. “The more money we have the more magic we can create.”

For more information on Telluride Theatre, this year’s gala and the season and how to get involved, visit www.telluridetheatre.org.