Boulder theatre company travels around Colorado this summer

Theatre companies are always looking to find ways to get people to come out and see shows. But what if you took away both the price and the hassle of getting to the venue?

That’s part of the theory behind an outreach program from Boulder’s Butterfly Effect Theatre of Colorado (BETC), which will tour two shows in a custom-built mobile stage throughout Colorado this summer. Created in collaboration with SimBLISSITY Tiny Homes and THD Productions, BETC will sally forth in what’s essentially a tiny home on wheels that’s been specially modified for theatrical performance with high-end sound and lighting and a retractable stage space.

It’s a big step up from BETC’s initial outing last summer, according to the theatre’s producing artistic director Stephen Weitz.

“We learned a lot about what we wanted to do artistically,” Weitz said. “It was a small truck and had no wings for actors to leave the stage for an exit or to grab a prop. Plus, we had to bring everything in externally, like lighting and sound equipment. So we looked to address how to adjust to some of those limitations.”

In Colorado, the idea of using a tiny home as a mobile stage originated with the Bravo! Vail Music Festival, which collaborated with SimBLISSITY and THD in 2019 on the idea and, after a pandy pause, launched a 43-concert tour in 2020.

The BETC TheatreTruck is the fifth tiny mobile stage that’s been created by the collaboration.

This summer, BETC plans to tour two plays with the new rig: the world premiere of Amelia’s Big Idea, BETC’s first musical and first theatre for young audiences production created by co-writers Heather Beasley, Richie Cannaday and Edie Carey. The second production is E.M. Lewis’ new play Dorothy’s Dictionary.

Weitz said the touring company will consist of four actors and a four-person crew.

“It really goes back to theatre history in the U.S., where traveling shows were pretty common,” he said. “It’s a great way for us to get out and reach new audiences — especially in places that don’t have access to professional theatre productions.”

He added that making the shows free was another important way to remove barriers for audiences. The ability to do so was made possible by using COVID relief money the theatre received, along with donor support.

“We made a philosophical decision about whether to hold onto that money or try something different,” Weitz said. “We chose to be aggressive with it and create this program to get out there and get more people to participate in the arts.”

So, instead of their usual home at the Dairy Arts Center in Boulder, BETC will present 35-40 performances around the state in its 35-foot mobile stage. Along with more room and integrated lights and sound, the rig also has a big battery, enabling off-grid performances where needed.

Of course, outdoor theatre has its own risks with weather and other factors, but as Weitz notes, it goes with the territory.

“Those factors are part of the charm and magic of the program,” he said. “The audience just needs to keep in mind that it’s not a controlled indoor environment.

Some of the first shows are listed below. For more information about future BETC tiny stage shows this summer, check out their website.


BETC TheatreTruck upcoming shows

Wednesday, June 22

11 a.m.: Amelia’s Big Idea
Presented by Jefferson County Public Libraries at the Standley Lake Public Library, 8485 Kipling St, Arvada

Friday, June 24

10 a.m.: Amelia’s Big Idea
7 p.m.: Dorothy’s Dictionary
Presented by Boulder Arts in the Park at the Boulder Bandshell, 1212 Canyon Blvd, Boulder

Sunday, June 26

4 p.m.: Dorothy’s Dictionary
Presented by the Town of Lyons at The Lyons Farmette, 501 W Main Street, Lyons

Wednesday, June 29

11 a.m.: Amelia’s Big Idea
Presented by Jefferson County Public Libraries at Columbine Public Library Branch, 7706 W Bowles Ave, Littleton as part of the Library Summer Challenge. Learn More

Friday, July 1

6 p.m.: Amelia’s Big Idea
Presented by the NOBO Arts District at 4949 Broadway, Boulder

Sunday, July 3

7 p.m.: Dorothy’s Dictionary
Presented at Echo Brewing and Pizzeria at 600 Briggs St., Erie
Please note: Outside food and drink are not allowed at this event. Enjoy the great food and drink from Echo Brewing and Pizzeria! View menu

Thursday, July 7

4 p.m.: Amelia’s Big Idea
Presented by Broomfield Parks and Recreation at Community Park, Second Ave and Main St, Broomfield
Learn More

Friday, July 8

11 a.m.: Amelia’s Big Idea
Presented at Echo Brewing and Pizzeria at 600 Briggs St., Erie
Please note: Outside food and drink are not allowed at this event. Enjoy the great food and drink from Echo Brewing and Pizzeria! View menu

Saturday, July 9

4 p.m.: Amelia’s Big Idea
Presented by the Firehouse Arts Center at the City of Longmont Public Library, 409 4th Ave, Longmont, CO 80501

Thursday, July 21

10 a.m.: Amelia’s Big Idea
Presented by the Northglenn Arts Center at the