Photo by Heather L. Smith/The Aurora Sentinel
The Shadow Theatre Company's former landlord has reported about $20,000 worth of missing equipment to Aurora police, claiming chairs, computers and other items were gone when the now-bankrupt troupe vacated the Dayton Street building last month.
Cornerstone Equity first moved to oust the troupe from the Aurora theater in January, claiming the company had continually failed to pay its $7,500 monthly rent since early 2010 and citing debt totaling about $200,000. Cornerstone officials say the troupe's departure came after two contentious months - Cornerstone went to court to forcibly vacate the company after the Shadow filed for bankruptcy on Feb. 2.
In a release dated March 2, Cornerstone Principal Michael Rasser said the company left the Dayton Street theater in February with a "laundry list" of stolen goods, adding that the company reported the missing items to the Aurora Police Department. Rasser said members of the company tried to "re-enter the facility" twice after the eviction, "once with locksmiths who were caught trying to re-key the doors."
APD Spokesman Bob Friel confirmed the department is currently investigating the missing items.
Rasser specified that the $20,000 estimate came largely from an itemized list of equipment provided by the Shadow earlier this year. Rasser added that the most expensive missing item was 89 purple chairs that are worth about $12,000.
"They’re the ones that we used for extra seating in the facility," Rasser said, adding that the chairs were worth about "$128 apiece."
The chairs were transported to the Aurora theater when the Shadow moved from its original home on Emerson Street in Denver in 2008. Shadow Theatre officials maintain that they took only their own property when they left the building last month.
"We have not taken anything from there that was not ours," said Herman Malone, the president of the theater's board of directors. "Those chairs have been with Shadow since its inception ... They don’t have any right to anyone else’s property. They’re the landlords. When you leave your house, you take your furniture. You take everything that belongs to you."
The rest of the equipment that was allegedly stolen included computers that controlled the lighting system and the ticketing system, Rasser said. In addition, Rasser has said damage to the theater's speakers and exterior have added to Cornerstone's costs in reclaiming the building for their new tenant, the Afterthought Theatre Company.
Rasser added that the troupe left the most expensive lighting and sound equipment in place.
"Most of the technical equipment with the theater is still there and still intact," Rasser said.
Last week, the Afterthought Theatre company announced it would mount its next four productions at the theater, a program that will include remounts of past shows and new productions of "Waiting to Be Invited" and "The Wiz."
Afterthought Creative Director Reynelda Snell said the state of the theater has forced the company to delay their production of "A Soldier's Play," which recently wrapped up a successful run at the Crossroads Theatre in Denver.
The Afterthought will spend the next month addressing sound issues and revamping the Dayton Street space, hoping to debut "Waiting to Be Invited" in April, Snell said.
"There’s work that needs to be done in the theater. We have some blown speakers, we have to work out some things with ListenUp regarding the sound," Snell said. "We’re just trying to make sure that everything is in place so that when we open we’re completely functional."
The Shadow has vowed to continue its current season, moving their remount of Jeffrey Nickelson and Hugo Jon Sayles' musical "In Search of Eckstine: A Love Story" to the Denver Civic Theatre in Denver. The show is set to start next week.
"We're moving on," Malone said. "It's a disruption, but it's only temporary."
Cornerstone officials say they're not expecting to reclaim the thousands of dollars they say they're owed, adding that the priority is getting the theater functional again with their new tenant.