When we began we didn’t know our work would take us this far, being voted “Best Theatre” by Albuquerque the Magazine every year since our inception (8 years in a row!) and “Top 5 Best Theatre” in 2019. What an honor!
Duke City Repertory Theatre began as a shared idea between two friends working at The Barter Theatre in Abingdon, VA. Original co-founders, Amelia Ampuero and Kristi Wiley, wanted to create a theatre company where the focus was on the work and growth of artists (not “spectacle” or “flash”), where artists could earn a living wage, and where the work being done would reach the individual rather than simply entertain an audience. Ampuero envisioned a theatre where the art being created had the very real potential to save the world, bringing communities together over a shared experience and serving a city that had a real need for professional, brave theatre.
While several small cities were considered, the pull of Ampuero’s hometown, Albuquerque, NM, was too strong to ignore: the beautiful scenery, the long history of the arts embedded in local culture, the thriving community theatre scene paired with the relative lack of professional theatre… all this and more made Albuquerque the obvious choice.
In October of 2007, Ampuero permanently relocated to Albuquerque, later joined by Wiley and fellow founding member and Barter Theatre alum, Frank Green. Along the way, the founders encountered artists and professionals from all walks of life who were inspired by DCRT’s mission “to serve the audience,” who offered their work and services to the young company (logo design, 501c3 application, corporate sponsors, directors, designers, and more). We are and always will be grateful to those dedicated supporters who did so much for us in those first two years.
Duke City Repertory Theatre was officially granted 501(c)3 status in August of 2009. The inaugural season consisted of five shows performed at The Filling Station, a refurbished service station from the heyday of Route 66: Trust by Steven Dietz, Oleanna by David Mamet, Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol by Tom Mula, Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare, and The Last 5 Years by Jason Robert Brown.
By the end of the first season our small company was ready to grow. We began to explore the kind of art we wanted to create for the city of Albuquerque, and continued to cultivate local artists while working with the best theatre professionals we could find from around the country.
The next three seasons offered us opportunities to work with emerging playwrights (Georgina Hernandez Escobar, Ash Tree), classical theatre (Oedipus, A Christmas Carol) and everything in between. POE, written and directed by John Hardy, a DCRT favorite and company mentor, would be our last production at the beloved Filling Station. The eclectic space provided many challenges for our young company that made us better artists in our service to the community. From May of 2013 until spring 2016, Duke City Repertory Theatre performed at The Cell Theatre in the heart of downtown Albuquerque. When we kicked off our seventh season, the company entered into an experiment to change venues throughout the year, offering a unique feel for each show. One of our favorite venues has been the “Theatre on the Farm” at Farm and Table restaurant, where for five summers in a row, Duke City Rep has collaborated with Tricklock for a show at sunset in a beautiful field.
Along the way, our company has expanded in several key areas:
Artistic Company: For our 11th Season, the Resident Acting Company includes Amelia Ampuero, Evening Star Barron and Danielle Robertson.
Education: In the past, DCRT has held a variety of education programs – Classrooms Alive!, an educational tour that brings professional, curriculum-based theatre to schools across Albuquerque and beyond; Imagine Action Conservatory, a two-week summer program teaching New Mexico’s youth “Life Skills Through Stage Skills”; and The Art and Craft of Acting, an adult education program for business professionals and theatre artists alike.
Artistic Partnerships: We’ve partnered with other outstanding organizations like Sol Acting Academy, Blackout Theatre Company, Tricklock Theatre, Farm and Table Restaurant, The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, and Yelp.
Audience Engagement: For a number of seasons, we held the DCRT Dialogue post-show discussions – a platform where our patrons could safely discuss the work they see and begin to grow their own artistic vocabularies.
Community Outreach: We’ve expanded our service capacity by partnering with local non-profits like Road Runner Food Bank, Enlace Communitario, SAFE House New Mexico, Henderson House, and Cuidando los Niños, using our performances as platforms to host donation drives and raise awareness of these important service organizations.
As we move in to the future, Duke City Repertory Theatre continues to look for new ways to engage our audiences and create better art for the city of Albuquerque through the creation of innovative programming and productions. For Seasons 7 – 9, we challenged ourselves to “Think Outside the Box”, taking a huge risk by leaving an established theatre home (The Cell Theatre) and moved our productions into found spaces (non-theatre) across the city in an effort to bring theatre to more people and challenge the way we approach our art. This also included our own fresh presentation of Shakespeare in Albuquerque- Bard Crawl. Inspired by The Backroom Shakespeare Project in Chicago, we bring lively, fun and sometimes rowdy classics to local breweries each spring.
In Season 10, we are adding a new feature to our traditionally ticketed events. Pay What It’s Worth dates offer an opportunity for the entire community to attend theatre without cost prohibitive ticket prices. Additionally, it gives license to each patron to decide what their individual experience was worth to them by accepting payment after the performance.
DCRT is deeply committed to serving the audiences of this city, state, and region and we look forward to the honor of doing so for many years to come. We’re on an adventure! Won’t you join us?
Season 10 (2019-2020)
Ghost Ghost Come Out Tonight by Catherine Bush
4th Annual Ugly Sweater Revue featuring various artists
This Is Modern Art: A Play by Idris Goodwin
4th Annual Bard Crawl: Othello (cancelled due to COVID)
6th Annual Theater on the Farm (cancelled due to COVID)
Season 9 (2018-2019)
Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind (30 Plays in 60 Minutes) by Greg Allen
The Telling Project: Albuquerque 2018 featuring various artists
3rd Annual Ugly Sweater Revue featuring various artists
Hype Man: A Breakbeat Play by Idris Goodwin
3rd Annual Bard Crawl: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, adapted by Amelia Ampuero
5th Annual Theater on the Farm: Stargazing by Caroline Toby Graham
Season 8 (2017-2018)
Gruesome Playground Injuries by Rajiv Joseph
2nd Annual Ugly Sweater Revue featuring various artists
The Call of the Wild by Jack London, adapted by Catherine Bush
2nd Annual Bard Crawl: Love Labour’s Lost by William Shakespeare, adapted by Martin Andrews
4th Annual Theater on the Farm: Freakshow Baby by Aaron Hendren
Season 7 (2016-2017)
Night of the Living Dead: from the basement based on the film by George A Romero, adapted by Josh Heard
1st Annual Ugly Sweater Revue featuring various artists
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, adapted by Ezra Colón
1st Annual Bard Crawl: Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, adapted by Martin Andrews
3rd Annual Theater on the Farm: Night in the Orchard by Drew Morrison
Season 6 (2015-2016)
Death and the Maiden by Ariel Dorfman
The Nutcracker by ETA Hoffman, adapted by Phillip Klapperich and Jake Minton
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, adapted by Dr. John Hardy
The Drunken City by Adam Bock
2nd Annual Theater on the Farm
Season 5 (2014-2015)
The Drowning Girls by Beth Graham, Charlie Tomlinson, Daniela Vlaskalic
All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth by Catherine Bush
Animal Farm by George Orwell, adapted by Nelson Bond
The 39 Steps by John Buchan, adapted by Patrick Barlow
1st Annual Theater on the Farm
Season 4 (2013-2014)
Gaslight by Patrick Hamilton
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, adapted by John Hardy
These Shining Lives by Melanie March
Season 3 (2012-2013)
Ash Tree by Georgina Hernandez Escobar
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, adapted by John Hardy
Poe by John Hardy
Five Women Wearing The Same Dress by Alan Ball
Season 2 (2011-2012)
reasons to be pretty by Neil LaBute
Wooden Snowflakes by Catherine Bush
Oedipus The King by Sophocles, adapted by John Hardy
Phoenix by Scott Organ
Season 1 (2010-2011)
Trust by Steven Dietz
Oleanna by David Mamet
Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol by Tom Mula
Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare, adapted by John Hardy
The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown