Theater company for actors with disabilities to stay open after community donates $100,000

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DENVER -- A theater company will stay open after a generous outpouring of support from the community.

Phamaly Theater Company exclusively uses actors with physical, mental or emotional disabilities.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re disabled. It doesn’t matter if you can’t do things that other people can. As long as you’re talented, you’ve got a chance,” an audience member at a recent production said.

They have been putting on high-quality productions throughout the Denver metro area for nearly 30 years. But in early 2017, the company ran into major financial trouble.

“We expanded too much, too quickly. Along with other contributing factors that affect many organizations, the expansion resulted in extra expenses that we thought could be made up through additional funding and ticket sales. However, we missed our projections and, little by little, incurred a deficit,” Phamaly posted on its website.

It began a fundraiser to collect $100,000 by July 1. Phamaly not only reached its goal, its surpassed it with time to spare.

“I hope it helps kick the door open for disability in general so other theaters go, yeah we’ll work with you. We don’t care, we just want you as the actor,” paralyzed actor Robert Michael said.

The actors describe Phamaly not just a hobby, but as an opportunity for people with disabilities to freely express themselves.

“I have heard more than one actor say this company saved my life,” blind actress Linda Joy Wirth said.

“There have been performers who have been so depressed that they’re at the point of being suicidal. They have found Phamaly. They have found their voice and they have begun a whole new life.”

Phamaly’s newest show is "Annie," which runs July 15 to Aug. 6 at the Stage Theater at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The production will feature a dog with disabilities.

Phamaly is still accepting donations to help fund the future of the program.