Inspired in 2001, built in 2007 and celebrating ten years in Denver, the Crossroads Theater offers compassionate space for artists, performers, organizers and activists within the Historic Cultural District of Five Points in Denver Colorado.
This cozy 100-seat venue is located on the corner of Welton & Washington Street—a local favorite and ideal for poetry, music, theater, film, dance, visual art, storytelling, lectures and community meetings—convenient for your audience with free covered parking and steps from the 27th Street D-Line light rail Station.
After Lewis was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2001, his priorities shifted. He scaled back his law work and focused almost exclusively on more creative pursuits. He became a regular at the Mercury Cafe and the Bindery|Space, a theater space across the street; he dabbled at producing plays and even helped manage the theater.
Build Complete: 2007
The Kurt Lewis Years (2007-2010)
In 2007 Kurt Lewis began construction of the Crossroads Denver Theater on the corner of 27th and Welton street directly in the heart of Five Points. On April 25, 2007, Cafe Nuba, the predecessor to Slam Nuba, christened Crossroads with a stunning slam-poetry performance.
The City Years (2010-2013)
Denver signed a three-year lease for Crossroads with Hope Communities in December 2010. The city’s roster of venues includes Red Rocks, the legendary 9,000-seat amphitheater, as well as 2,000-plus-seat theaters at the Denver Performing Arts Complex; Crossroads was its smallest space by far. To some, adding the theater seemed like an odd move for Denver — but the city had one very good reason to take on the project: If Lewis defaulted, the city would be stuck with a bad loan. Instead, Arts & Venues paid off $205,000 of Lewis’s loan to the Denver Office of Economic Development with excess funds raised through rental and parking fees the previous year.
The Center for Spiritual Living Years (2013-2016)
When Reverend James R. Chandler, founder of the Center for Spiritual Living Denver, died in 2011, his congregation found itself in transition. CSLD’s space in Capitol Hill was being sold, and the new minister, Mary Jo Honiotes, had to find the church a new home. She started holding services at Crossroads, and she fell in love with the space and Five Points. By the time the city was ready to let go of Crossroads at the end of 2012, CSLD was ready to sign on as the main tenant. The plan was to raise enough money through donations and theater rentals to cover the lease.
Crossroads Creative (2016-Present)
Jaryd Smart & Erik Rodne took over after CSL left Hope in late 2015. Smart muses “This is the kind of space we’re trying to be in. A space of action, which is what we’ve been trying to get to, and now we’re there. For us, this is the best possible thing,” he says. “We spent the first six months as a four-person team, and now we have expanded ourselves. We’ve had two members leave. We’ve brought on a bunch of people now who see what we want to do.”
Impressed by Smart and Rodne’s energetic approach, Malone modified the lease to make it easier for them to afford the space. They know they still need the support of the community. “I don’t think it’s about us, and I don’t think it’s been about us,” Erik says “We don’t own the space; the space is there for the community. Thankfully, nothing’s been interrupted through all the ups and downs.”
Jeff Campbell, a friend and supporter wants to see the theater stay open — even if he’s not running it. “It’s all good,” he says. “I really love the Crossroads, and I’d really love to see it survive.”
Kurt Lewis is cheering on the group, too. “The enthusiasm is key,” he says. “You need passion and persistence in whatever you do, and they have it.”
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