Denver Actors Fund in Action: Sheila Ivy Traister

Traister99Sheila Ivy Traister, left, in “99 Histories” for Theatre Esprit Asia last year at the Vintage Theatre.


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.

_DSC0621Financial-aid recipient: Actor, director and playwright Sheila Ivy Traister has been performing in Denver since 2000. Her first year in Denver,  Westword designated her as the year’s Best Actress for her work in Shadow Theatre Company’s multiracial production of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and Theatre Group’s “The Blue Room.” Most recently, she has performed in “99 Histories” for Theatre Esprit Asia at the Vintage Theatre, and performed in the world premiere of “Slow Dance with a Hot Pick-Up” at Boulder’s Dinner Theatre. She starred with Dale Li in Paragon Theatre’s acclaimed “The Sound of a Voice” in 2010. “Traister is heartbreaking as she reveals the combined effect of a cycle of loss, grief and isolation,” wrote Adam Goldstein in the Aurora Sentinel. Sheila has also performed for the Denver Center Theatre Company, Aurora Fox, Town Hall Arts Center, And Toto Too, Playback Theatre and Changing Scene. Sheila has appeared in more than 15 films, and her TV credits include “In Plain Sight” and the miniseries “Asteroid.” Sheila studied mechanical engineering at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and served on the Pistol Team.

 Her story: Sheila took a serious fall in November 2012 and has since accrued more than $73,000 in debts related to her medical expenses. She still awaits three additional surgeries: A full knee replacement, the repair of a torn hip ligament and the repair of a separated shoulder. Sheila also was diagnosed with a severe concussion in the fall, which affects her vision and cognitive functioning. Her recovery has exhausted both her personal savings and retirement. Her expenses average about $1,800 a month, but, at present, her income only amounts to about $600 a month.

How we helped: The Denver Actors Fund board of directors approved an initial gift of $1,800, or the equivalent of about one month of Sheila’s overall expenses. That made for the second-largest gift in the short history of the Denver Actors Fund. Combined with subsequent support including targeted donations from the community, The Denver Actors Fund now has made $2,800 available to Sheila.

A message from Sheila Ivy Traister: “I’m so incredibly grateful to this community of artists and patrons; those of you who have given of yourselves, your time and resources to be there for those of us in dire need. I was really at a loss for how I would get through this next month. Beyond helping me to meet the financial demands created by the circuDAFmstances surrounding my medical needs, you’ve helped me to remember that grace is at work in my life, and that no matter what happens I can trust that I am always taken care of.  I’m humbled and most appreciative to everyone who has made the Denver Actors Fund possible. I would like to thank my dear friend Cajardo Lindsey for reaching out on my behalf.  With my whole heart, thank you all for this most timely and blessed gift!”

To help us help Team Traister more: If you would like to donate to the Denver Actors Fund, see below. If you would like to direct a specific donation to help further defray Sheila Ivy Traister’s significant ongoing financial obligations, mail checks in her name to Denver Actors Fund, 4594 Osceola St., Denver, CO 80212. Or use this donation link, and in your note, direct your gift to Sheila. 

Read more Denver Actors Fund testimonials by clicking here



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 financial relief, a team of more than 60 Denver Actors Fund volunteers offers good neighborly assistance including meal prep and delivery, child care, transportation, errands, construction, pet-sitting and more. For more information, visit our web site at www.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:
4594 Osceola St.
Denver, CO 80212



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poster1.4_Cross 134 women (and a few token dudes) from the Colorado theater community, all supporting the Denver Actors Fund. They cost $20 per poster (20×28). To order, email your quantity to We’ll take care of delivery and payment from there.



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Video: See highlights from “Misacast 2014,” a September fundraiser held on behalf of the Denver Actors Fund:


Photos: My day with Theatre Esprit Asia’s “Spirit & Sworded Treks” and “Dust Storm”

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By John Moore
June 20, 2013

Opening Nos. 83-84: Theatre Esprit Asia’s “Dust Storm” and “Spirit & Sworded Treks”: Denver’s first Asian-American theater company is presenting two solo plays performing in repertory through this coming weekend at the Vintage Theatre’s studio theater. “Sworded Treks” is written by company co-founder Maria Cheng. It weaves tai-ji forms, storytelling, stir-fry cooking and stand-up comedy through the spiritual struggles of a Chinese-American woman who tells us what Johnny Unitas, ecstatic sex, a beheaded Barbie doll and martial arts all have to do with the tao of spirituality. Michelle Hurtubise, who splits “Sworded Treks” performances with Cheng, has remaining appearances at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, June 22; and at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 23. Cheng performs at 8 p.m. Friday, June 21; and at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, June 23 “Sworded Treks” plays in repertory with a one-man show about World War II internment camps titled “Dust Storm,” with three actors sharing those performances. Remaining showtimes: 4:30 p.m. (Dale Li) and 8 p.m. (Peter Trinh) on Saturday, June 22. All shows in Vintage Theatre Productions‘ studio theater, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora. Call 303-856-7830. On the day we visited, Vintage was actually responsible for five performances in a single day: Three performances by TEA; its own mainstage offering of the Agatha Christie spoof “And Then There Was Nun” (since closed); and a reprise of its recent hit “RFK: A Portrait of Robert Kennedy” at the next-door Aurora Fox (through June 23; call 303-739-1970). Thanks: Charles Cobb, Kat Reynolds, Gloria Shanstrom.


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How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. Photo by John Moore. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

Theater news: Vintage completes $1 million purchase

Photo by John Moore


By John Moore

The 11-year-old Vintage Theatre has completed the nearly $1 million purchase of its new home in Aurora, and immediately announced plans to expand its programming, performance spaces and collaborations with other local companies.

Vintage has purchased the 190-seat theater complex at 1468 Dayton St., originally opened in 2008 as the Shadow Theatre and most recently known as the Dayton Street Theatre, from Cornerstone Equity of Aurora. Vintage took occupancy in April, and is currently offering “The Inspector General” on a mainstage theater that is about to get some company.

The two-part epic “The Cider House Rules,” playing on alternating nights, will christen an accompanying new 70-seat studio theater on Sept. 7. The new space has been carved out of what used to be backstage rehearsal and banquet rooms. Artistic director and co-founder Craig Bond also plans to offer live, late-night cabaret entertainment on a new raised stage in the theater’s existing lobby. A liquor license hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.  Comedy and live music programming begins there Aug. 24.

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