Denver Actors Fund in Action: Katrina Niemisto

‘Here I am. Breathing, because of you.’

Aid recipient: Katrina Niemisto of Denver is a stage manager in the local theatre community who has worked most recently at the Lone Tree Arts Center and for the Denver Center Theatre Company’s Colorado New Play Summit.

Her medical story: Katrina recently underwent a complicated hip surgery necessitated by Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a group of connective-tissue disorders that can affect the body in various and unpredictable ways but generally characterized by tissue fragility and joints that stretch further than normal. Despite having decent insurance, Katrina’s five-day hospital stay left her with three post-insurance bills totaling $1,814.52.

How we have helped: After an examination of Katrina’s bills, The Denver Actors Fund board unanimously voted pay off the full balance of $1,814.52.

A message from Katrina: “I truly cannot thank the Denver Actors Fund enough. This community shows me time and again how strong we are despite so many obstacles. Living with Ehlers-Danlos can be painful and alienating, but I have felt so surrounded with love and support from my community — my chosen family — the entire time. I don’t know what I did to be so fortunate, but I want to keep doing it. Getting back on my feet both financially and physically has had a great impact on my mental health as well. I cannot tell you how many nights I sat up trying to find ways to cut corners. My credit cards were maxed with medical-bill debt, and when I checked into the hospital, I had no idea how I would pay for my stay. But here I am. Breathing, because of you. I don’t recommend having major hip surgery immediately followed by having your gall bladder removed, but if you find yourself in that situation, I truly hope that you are a part of the Colorado theatre community. You are all angels walking this Earth disguised as technicians, designers, actors and stage managers.

The Denver Actors Fund has now made more than $321,000 available to Colorado artists in medical need.

Read testimonials from other Denver Actors Fund beneficiaries here

Note: At the Denver Actors Fund, anonymity of aid recipients is presumed and fully protected, unless and until the recipient chooses to have his or her story told.



To DONATE to the Denver Actors Fund, please CLICK HERE (with our humble thanks)


The Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in medical need. In addition to $321,000 in financial relief, a team of more than 60 Denver Actors Fund volunteers has offered good neighborly assistance to more than 100 beneficiaries including meal prep and delivery, child care, transportation, errands, construction, pet-sitting and more. For more information, visit our web site at DenverActorsFund.Org.


To apply for Denver Actors Fund aid: Fill out this brief online form here



Send checks made out to the Denver Actors Fund to:
P.O. Box 11182
Denver, CO 80212


Ever thought about taking a more active role in the Denver Actors Fund? Click here for more information


Friends, we at The Denver Actors Fund believe in building community while building funds. Most of our events are performative in nature so that you have a good time while helping a good cause. Here are some of the events that are currently being planned on our behalf.

MONDAY, MARCH 18: Lauren Bahlman and Jessica Austgen, improv comedians, book nerds and hosts of a popular podcast called “Required Readcast,” are hosting a special event in collaboration with Benchmark Theatre: Their first-ever LIVE recording of the podcast, during which they comically dive back into the age-old required-reading list to see which books are still awesome … and which scarred them for life. (For a taste, just listen to this hilarious conversation about “Lord of the Flies.”) On March 18, the quippy literary pair will be discussing George Orwell’s 1984. Which is perfect because Benchmark Theatre will be staging the dystopian classic from March 15-April 13. “We’ve been wanting to discuss this one on the pod for a while, and thought it would be a perfect collaboration with the opening of the Benchmark production,” Bahlman said. “Maybe we can bring a little levity to the situation. We’re hoping to have one of the cast members as a guest as well.” All proceeds from that evening, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at 1560 Teller St. in Lakewood, will go to The Denver Actors Fund. Suggested donation of $5. Drinks and such will be available. No reservation necessary.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20: Local actor (and former DAF aid recipient) Emma Rebecca Maxfield (Performance Now’s The Wedding Singer) and actor Andy Seracuse (Vintage Theatre’s A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder) present an evening of songs at the Vintage Theatre with special guest Brandon Bill. Maxfield and Seracuse plan to independently stage an upcoming production of The Last Five Years in September with a “large portion of our proceeds going to The Denver Actors Fund every step of the way,” Maxfield says. So attend the fundraising event at Vintage on March 20 and enjoy an evening of cabaret. A portion of the ticket sales will go to Vintage; of what remains, a portion will go toward The Last Five Years, and an equal portion to the DAF. 7:30 p.m. at 468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or

FRIDAY AND SATURDAY, MARCH 22-23: Darrow Klein, star of the Arvada Center’s new production of “The Diary of Anne Frank,” is also one of the youngest and oldest (as in longest) supporters of The Denver Actors Fund. She is arranging to take collections for the Denver Actors Fund following the March 22-23 performances. This effort is being initiated entirely by Darrow, who is also donating one week of her own acting stipend. If you plan to see this important and acclaimed show about the 13-year-old Jewish girl who chronicled the horrors of being trapped in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, why not plan to attend on one of our special DAF nights? Performances take place at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd. For ticket information, call 720-898-7200 or go to


Click here to see how you can buy DAF products such as T-shirts, key chains, puzzles and much more

By John Moore

Award-winning arts journalist John Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the United States by American Theatre Magazine during has 12 years at The Denver Post. Hen then created a groundbreaking new media outlet covering Colorado arts an culture as an in-house, multimedia journalist for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. He also founded The Denver Actors Fund, a nonprofit that has raised more than $600,000 for theatre artists in medical need. He is now a journalist for hire as the founder of Moore Media Colorado. You can find samples of his work at MooreJohn.Com. Contact him at