THE VENUE THEATRE

​​The Venue Theatre Company, founded in 2013 as an educational 501c3 nonprofit, provides enriching performing arts education for the youth of the greater Denver and Foothills area. With highly trained, Broadway experienced educators, The Venue meets all children at the level they are currently at and encourages them to develop their skills both as performers and as individuals.

Here at The Venue Theatre Company, we are deeply invested in the magic of art and performance. We believe in opening hearts and minds by giving youth the tools to share their songs and stories. The Venue is more than just a nonprofit theatre—it's a safe haven comprised of students, volunteers, and instructors all working toward one common goal: creating the best environment for children and young adults to become all that they can be. 

The Venue Theatre is committed to being a diverse, inclusive, and safe space for authentic expression and creative collaboration. All students, crew members, and volunteers, whatever their race, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation or identity, biology, education, neurodiversity, or physical ability, will be honored, integrated, and respected.

OUR TEAM

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Stephanie Wilkes

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

A specialist in voice and piano instruction, Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education/Choral from the University of Delaware and a Master of Arts in Music Education from the University of Maryland-College Park. Her research is geared towards rural elementary music teaching and how teachers can provide strong characteristics and attributes to teaching in rural demographic areas. Stephanie spent four years teaching high school choir and theatre. She directed three different high school choirs including a mixed choir, women’s choirs, and a cappella choirs. In addition to her classroom teaching, Stephanie is an experienced private vocal instructor able to teach in a variety of styles including jazz, classical, and musical theater. She spent three years teaching with a music studio in Washington, D.C. where she taught piano and voice to students ages 4-18, as well as adults. Stephanie has also played the piano for 26 years, in classroom, church and other accompaniment settings. Stephanie is also the co-founder of Elk Creek Music Studio in Pine Junction, CO, providing music lessons to the Conifer/Pine/Bailey communities.

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Amy Fletcher

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Amy is a native New Yorker with 35 years of experience in professional theatre.  After performing on Broadway and in numerous touring productions, Amy began pursuing a career as an educator and mentor. She has worked at several high schools, as a professor of Theatre and Dance at Five Towns College and achieved her MFA in interdisciplinary arts and theatre education from Goddard College. She was thrilled to join the Venue Theatre, after relocating to Colorado with her amazing husband Michael and son Matthew. Venue director and/or choreographer credits include: Thoroughly Modern Millie, Bye Bye BirdieGuys and DollsUrinetownAnything GoesNewsiesVenue on Broadway and Venue Through the Years

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Emery Pace Archer

MUSIC SUPERVISOR

EP brings twenty-five years professional experience as a performing musician and experience directing or music directing over twenty educational theater performances including West Side Story, Footloose, Beauty and the Beast, Guys and Dolls, The Lion King, Trail to Oregon, Twisted, RENT & The Worldwide Dessert Contest. EP has performed for audiences of over 7,000 and recorded with international artists including Ursula Oppens, Colin Carr, Timothy Russel and R. Carlos Nakai.  EP is currently director of Performing Arts at Conifer High School, teaches cross-curricular songwriting for the Lamont School of Music at DU, and has taught and performed as a Teaching Artist with the Colorado Symphony’s Young Composer program in addition to being Music Supervisor at the Venue Theater. EP has a MM in Jazz Performance and Pedagogy, and a BA in classical violin, and is the composer, lyricist and author of CRESCENT HEARTS, a full scale collaborative rock opera in progress. Their most recent release UNDERNEATH is an album of songs they currently perform on voice, violin, piano and guitar. EP is an advocate for LGBTQ+ community, especially those in the arts. EP loves to open the out-of-the-box lens to those they work with in order to create meaningful and connected experiences on stage.

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Marisa VerSteegh

Marketing Director/Director/Choreographer

Marisa VerSteegh is a recent graduate and holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts and Dance from the University of Northern Colorado. Originally from Twin Falls, Idaho, Marisa is extremely active in the Colorado theatre scene. Having recently finished a summer season with The Spark in Boulder, Marisa is thrilled to be a part of The Venue Theatre Company. Her recent appearances include Squidward in the first regional production of Spongebob the Musical, Peggy, the darling starlet in 42nd Street, and Judy in A Chorus Line. She has also directed, choreographed, or performed in over 50 productions, and is ready to apply her knowledge at The Venue.

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Katie Shook

Parent/Volunteer Coordinator

Katie is originally from Michigan. In high school she was competitive in dance, baton, and poms. She also studied piano and percussion, and was part of the drum line. At the age of 15, she started dancing in shows at Lansing Community College.  Winning herself a dance scholarship to that college, she studied modern, ballet, jazz and tap. She won parts such as a soloist, duets & trios, and a student choreographer. 

 

After graduating, she moved to Orlando, Florida and danced for the American Gladiator’s Dinner Theatre as well as the character dance shows at Universal Studios Florida. She then toured with Sesame Street Live. Returning to Michigan she danced for the modern dance company, Happendance, and was head coach for the Okemos High School dance team.

 

She moved to Colorado in 1999. She was a member of The Belles Performance Team, which lead her to a place with Rocky Mountain Rollergirls Pep Squad for 5 years.  She teaches dance at Winddancer Studios in Lakewood and travels with Groove Productions dance competitions. She is very happy to have joined The Venue since choreographing Elf JR in 2021. 

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Rebecca Schonbrun

DIRECTOR - The Lightning Thief 

Rebecca is an award-winning director and choreographer, specializing in giving confidence to new actors and dancers. She believes that with patience and respect to the process, any child can perform like a pro! Originally from St Louis, Missouri, Rebecca could be found in regional productions including West Side Story, and Jekyll & Hyde the Musical before transitioning into directing and choreographing productions all over Colorado. Rebecca has directed and choreographed children's theatre productions including: West Side Story, The Music Man Jr., Newsies, Into the Woods Jr., and Oliver. She has also contributed to several awards won at the Junior Theatre Festival (Excellence in Dance, Excellence in Music, and Excellence in Ensemble). When not in the studio, Rebecca can often be found on the hiking trail with her dog, Rudy. She is thrilled to be joining the Venue for her first season, and can't wait to get started! 

OUR FOUNDERS
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Nelson Conway

FOUNDER

Nelson retired from a 25-year career teaching music and drama in 2007. He studied music under Dr. George Lynn at Loretto Heights College and Lynn Whitten at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He studied technical theater with Joseph Psuik, drama and musical theater under Richard Clark, Tom McNally and Jan Sullivan. Nelson started the choral and drama departments of Conifer High School in 1996 and has directed and produced countless shows. Nelson co-founded The Venue in 2013.

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Joni Havens

FOUNDER

Joni, a certified K-12 teacher, found her interest in theater while performing in elementary and high school productions. In college, she became a professional pantomime and circus aerialist, performing on stages across the U.S. and on television. She has directed over 30 community theater productions and founded a performing drama club in a Colorado high school. She loved performing but her heart's delight is in directing children's theater.​ Joni is a co-founder of The Venue.

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Deb Christensen

FOUNDER

After spending 23 years in Denmark where she delivered 1,300 babies as a certified midwife, Deb returned to Colorado with her Danish husband and thoroughly enjoys her career as a realtor with Keller Williams Foothills Realty in Conifer. She also has volunteered as a high school accompanist for The Venue and was an active member of the Board of Directors at The Venue. Newsies was her 30th show she collaborated on at The Venue. Deb is always supportive of the student here and is in awe of their talent and courage!

OUR BOARD

TJ Bartt

BOARD PRESIDENT

TJ Bartt currently works in the property insurance field, supporting the state of Colorado. When his family moved here, their interest in the theatre landed their family with “The Venue” family which has provided a safe and education environment for their children. The joy of being surrounded by such talented people and the caring approach to teaching the crafts associated with the theatre has been a bright light for he and his family in their mountain community.

 

Paul Liffengren

MEMBER AT LARGE

Paul brings 30 years of experience in the financial services industry to the board. Paul is currently a Financial Consultant with Fidelity Investments. Paul got involved with the Venue Theatre in 2013 and he helped with the building of the theatre. Paul is passionate about the mission of the Venue and the impact the theatre family has had on his own family and the community at large.

Michelle Murphy

Michlle has been with Evergreen Academy for about 15 years. She is the office manager at this wonderful school but you will sometimes find her in the classroom as well. She has always loved working with kids. Michelle graduated from Regis University with a Masters degree in Early Elementary Education and loves being able to draw on that experience when working with the kids. Her family  loves to be outdoors.  They are avid skiers and travel a lot for baseball and moto-cross events.

 Ever since her daughter joined The Venue Theater over 8 years ago, she has fallen in love with the people and community!

Brian Banks

Brian grew up on the north shore of Long Island, NY.  He has lived abroad in France and Australia, and for several years in Steamboat Springs.  Brian graduated from City University of New York and received his Masters of Accountancy from The George Washington University in Washington, DC.  He is a certified public accountant with Ernst & Young tax practice.

Brian has two daughters who are active in Venue Theatre.  In addition to volunteering with the theatre, Brian is an active member of the Watchdogs program at Parmalee Elementary School in Indian Hills.

When not working, volunteering, or shuttling around his girls, Brian can be found on snowy mountain in the winter, or on a river in the Warmer weather.

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RENTALS

Rent our theatre or studio

From performances to conferences, recitals to celebrations, The Venue Theatre is the best place to host your event this season. With a seating capacity of over 100, there is more than enough room to spare. We are proud to offer our space to any member of the community for classes, services or events.​ Consider The Venue for your upcoming event or check on availability for weekly or monthly use. We are proud to offer competitive pricing and hosting if necessary.