Creede connections still strong after fifty years

Posted on Aug 12, 2015 in Alumni News and News

Mechele Leon, chair and professor of theatre, in front of the Creede Repertory Theatre
In 1966, 12 KU Theatre students left Lawrence and drove to Creede, Colorado, a flailing mining town in the San Juan Mountains, never dreaming that their trip would become one of a lifetime for themselves and the town.

Steve Grossman was a junior at KU when a flier posted on a Murphy Hall bulletin board titled “Operation Summer Theatre” caught his eye. He made the call, took an initial visit to Creede and shook hands to commit to return for the summer with friends in tow.

Upon returning to Lawrence, Grossman, c’67, g’97, recruited 11 fellow theatre students to found the now “legendary” Creede Repertory Theatre. Founding members include: Shari Morey Lacey, ’69; Pat Royse Moynihan,c’67; Steve Reed, c’70, c’70; Kay Lancaster, c’66, g’70; Gary Mitchell, c’66, g’72; David Miller, c’69; B.J. Myers, c’69, g’71; Connie Bohannon-Roberts, d’66; Earl Trussell, c’70; Joe Roach, c’69; Lance Hewett, c’70; and Grossman.

“Creede Repertory Theatre is a shining example of how the arts can invigorate and sustain a community,” said Henry Bial, director of KU School of the Arts. “We are proud of CRT’s KU roots and were honored to participate in the celebration of its Jayhawk founders.”

Lawrence and the University of Kansas are still legendary in Creede, and the Department of Theatre was honored to be a part of the celebration. Mechele Leon, chair and professor of theatre; Kathy Pryor, managing director of University Theatre; and Bial attended the anniversary festivities, which included a KU alumni event, a talk back with the KU founders and a dedication of the Founders Lobby.

The Department of Theatre’s connections to Creede are far from over. Lily Lancaster, a KU theatre student, is finishing up a summer internship, and KU theatre alumni return each year to see and star in productions—not to mention the many alumni who have set up permanent roots and careers in Creede as well.

“It is clear to me that Creede Repertory Theatre and KU Theatre share a legacy founded on a devotion to making great theatre, developing and supporting theatre artists, and celebrating the communities that support us,” Leon said.

—Heather Anderson, marketing & communications coordinator, KU School of the Arts

The KU connection to Creede was chronicled by Jennifer Jackson Sanner in Issue 5, 2005, of Kansas Alumni magazine during the theatre’s fortieth anniversary year. Click here to read the feature from our archives. We hope you enjoy the nostalgic look back at a piece of Jayhawk history!

The 12 founding members and KU theatre alumni the first summer in Creede.
Above: The twelve founding members and KU theatre alumni the first summer in Creede, Colorado.

Seven of the founding members of the Creede Repertory Theatre at the dedication of the Founders Lobby during the 50th anniversary celebration.

Above: Seven of the founding members of the Creede Repertory Theatre at the dedication of the Founders Lobby during the 50th anniversary celebration this summer.

Top photo: Mechele Leon, chair and professor of theatre, in front of the Creede Repertory Theatre.

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