Silverthorne Banks On A New Performing Arts Center To Support Theater, Draw Investment

Photo: Silverthorne Performing Arts Center Dancer (Jones)
Zuri Washington, center, performs as Deloris in the Lake Dillon Theatre Company's 2017 production of "Sister Act."

The Lake Dillon Theatre Company has staged a lot of shows in makeshift spaces, like an old town hall built in 1899 and a former Adidas store.

But the company, now in its 23rd season, has a brand new home to call its own. And the venue is actually intended for theater. That’s thanks in large part to the town of Silverthorne, which agreed to pay $6.3 million to build the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center.

“There are new programming opportunities that we haven’t been able to do before,” the company’s executive director Joshua Blanchard says. “From 2008 to 2014, we had exponential growth, and we were absolutely at capacity.”

The 16,000 square foot facility has three theaters as well as spaces for rehearsals, education programs and offices. It’s also adjacent to a new outdoor amphitheater. Silverthorne covered the $9 million cost up front, while Lake Dillon Theatre will reimburse the town nearly $3 million by the end of 2018.

Photo: Silverthorne Performing Arts Center (Jones)
The $9 million Silverthorne Performing Arts Center opened to the public on Saturday, June 24, 2017.

The company signed a 20-year lease as the primary tenant and will pay a discounted monthly rent of $1,800. The town also receives $1 from each ticket sold.

“The town is not necessarily making money on this venture,” Silverthorne’s director of recreation and culture Joanne Cook says. “The benefit to the community doesn’t come from direct revenues from the theater, but instead it comes from the investment that follows the theater.”

Silverthorne officials want the center to serve as an anchor for a new downtown. There are recently built restaurants and condos nearby, and more development is in the works.

The center is meant to serve year-round residents first and foremost, Cook says.

“Even though Summit County is a very tourist-oriented area, Silverthorne actually houses the highest percentage of primary homeowners in Summit County,” she says.

At the same time, Cook hopes this push for arts and culture establishes Silverthorne as more of a destination for visitors. The center will be open to the public during the day. Other groups can rent spaces during the Lake Dillon Theatre Company’s offseason too.

After starting its 2017 season on June 23 with “Sister Act,” Lake Dillon Theatre opens two more shows in its first week: “Buyer and Cellar” on June 30 and “Ghost: The Musical” on July 1.