A People's History of Colorado is our attempt to introduce the general public to our state history "from below," or through the lens of those who did not enjoy political, economic, cultural, or social privilege. When we look at history from this perspective, we find important untold stories. Excavating these stories has been challenging and inspiring. Why shouldn't our school children be taught about Lupe Briseno instead of Baby Doe Tabor? Mother Jones instead of Adolph Coors? Shouldn't the Sand Creek Massacre be used to explore the mentality of imperialism that dominates our current conflicts? Would it help young students understand some of the hatred against immigrants that exists today if they learned the history of white supremacy in Colorado, which includes the reign of the KKK in the 20s, the closing of the CO/NM border in the 30s, and the imprisonment of Japanese Americans in Amache during World War II? We offer this look at Colorado history to inspire others by highlighting the actions of courageous people, in hopes that some in the audience might find courage to face situations in their own lives. History and Social Studies teachers today face growing pressure to teach to guides and tests instead of hearts and souls. The standardization of history, the use of pacing guides, and the censorship of textbooks serve as strait jackets for our best teachers, transforming the teaching and learning of history into an industrial assemblyline of facts. Let this play be dedicated to teachers who resist the "banking" method of education (see Paulo Freire), those teachers who continue to nourish the soul and to build student-centered classrooms, where students are subjects with rich experiences instead of objects forced to memorize data for standardized exams. May this play create a social space where the courage to teach from below is nurtured and the scapegoating of teachers and of schools serving low-income families is challenged.
Organic Theater is our beautiful, sometimes messy, method. We create theater through a collective process and a concensus model. We do not have a director. All of our art is constructed together, the intersection of many visions and experiences. All of us are volunteers, giving of our time and energies so that others might give of theirs. In the end, we believe that this model leads to a more authentic product than that provided by professional theaters. Our mission is to grow together in community with others, to engage the general public in the practice of exploring history, and to promote social justice through the art of theater. We attempt to attract people to our shows who are new to the theater, those who find themselves priced out of the Denver Performing Arts Center. We exist in order to return the art of theater to the people. In the spirit of Oscar Romero, who spoke truth to power, we thank you for supporting our work and for nourishing this theater tonight with your presence.