Photo Credit: Jennifer Koskinen

Author: Tim Orr, Producing Artistic Director

Updates on the Hellems / Rippon Remodel and all things CSF

(Exterior. A patron greets Tim.)

“So the Rippon is being demolished? How sad, we really enjoyed the Shakespeare festival. Are you out of a job or do you have other work lined up?”
“No, no! CSF isn’t closing down. We’ll be producing a season of shows in our other theatre next year.”
“What other theatre?”
“We have two.”
“Where’s the other one?!”
“Behind you.”
“How long have you been doing shows in there?”
“Since 1991.”

Greetings from the Colorado Shakespeare Festival!

I hope you’re enjoying the start of 2024 and looking forward to the summer as much as we are. We’re trying something new here at CSF, and that’s me writing to you directly. A lot is happening at CSF with the renovation of the Hellems buildings surrounding the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre, and it’s all great stuff.

But after several variations of the above conversation with patrons last year, I’m concerned people think CSF is going away. Quite the opposite, and I want to tell you all about it.

The Hellems Renovation and the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre

The building surrounding the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre, known as the Hellems Arts and Sciences building, is currently undergoing a complete renovation. Demolition inside the building began during the 2023 summer season. Check this out. 👇

Photo credit: Jon Dunkle

The construction project is massive and will take two years to complete. During that time, the Rippon stage and seating area will be unavailable for productions but unchanged when it’s all over. There will be a grand re-opening of the entire facility in the summer of 2026, and CSF will be back to having a spectacular 5-show season across two theatres.

An Indoor Theatre?!

Here’s the second concern growing on my mind after conversations in the community: I’m afraid many people don’t know we have two theatres. The Roe Green Theatre (formerly known as the University Theatre) is across the pathway from the Rippon Theatre, and CSF has been producing two to three full productions inside on this stage every summer since 1991.

In 2024, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival will produce a beautiful season of full productions with large casts, lavish sets and costumes in this newly renovated indoor space. If you have never seen a show in the Roe Green Theatre, please come this summer and see what we create. The renovation was completed in 2023 and it’s luxurious; it’s a wonderful theatrical space, seating 407. It’s climate-controlled, full of theatrical magic and it never rains.

What will change in the Rippon?

Good question. A lead engineer explained it to me like this, “When this renovation is finished, if you are sitting in the last row of the audience and looking down at the stage, you won’t notice any changes. But everything to the sides, behind you and above you will be different and much improved.”

The pathways around the seating area will be re-graded with ramps, handrails and lighting leading to the front row. Behind the seating area, where the concession sheds stood moldering, you’ll find raised patios with overhead lights, tables and seating areas, all under the Colorado sky. The patios will be accessible through large doors leading into the building’s central hub, which will house a cafe. Pretty cool, huh?

If you’re interested, you can read more about this project at CU Boulder’s website or the Hacker Architects website.

Rendering credit: Hacker Architects

We are looking forward to seeing you this summer!

I hope this clears up any confusion about the future of CSF. I love talking to patrons and answering questions, so please don’t hesitate to stop me and ask anything you’d like this summer.

Ticket inventory is more limited than in past years–that means get your tickets now! The summer season of “Macbeth” and “The Merry Wives of Windsor” promises to be an extraordinary celebration of Shakespeare’s classics. Join us at the Roe Green Theatre for an unforgettable experience – secure your seats now.


Tim Orr
Producing Artistic Director
Colorado Shakespeare Festival