LEADVILLE, Colo. (KDVR) – Watching cutting-edge films in ornate opera houses not usually open to the public is possible this fall with the latest arthouse experience launching by the Colorado Tourism Office.

The Colorado Historic Opera Houses Circuit is offering visitors five film festivals and series and the chance to see them in historic opera houses throughout the state.

“Plan a trip along the Circuit to experience big-screen entertainment in five historic opera houses in mountain towns full of golden aspen and charm,” said Mary Glover, a spokeswoman for the project.

“The Circuit” Glover refers to connects Aspen (Wheeler Opera House), Central City (Central City Opera House), Leadville (Tabor Opera House), Ouray (Wright Opera House), and Telluride (Sheridan Opera House). A new website, ColoradoOperaHouses.com, features fall opera house events and trip-planning tips.

The rundown of the Colorado Historic Opera Houses Circuit is:

1. Aspen Film FILMFEST 2022 | Sept. 27 – Oct. 2 | Wheeler Opera House (Aspen)
Aspen Film is having its 43rd Filmfest. This festival showcases filmmaking from across the globe. Several films will feature Olivia Colman, Colin Farrell, Colin Firth, Brendan Gleeson, Woody Harrelson, Paul Mescal, Micheal Ward and more. Following the festival are two separate evenings of films. See website.

The Wheeler Opera House, built in the 1890s, is a stone structure that blends Romanesque Revival elements and Italianate architectural styles.

2. Shining Mountains Film Festival | Oct. 14-16 | Wheeler Opera House (Aspen)
The Shining Mountains Film Festival was founded by the Aspen Indigenous Foundation in 2018 with the goal of being a platform to give voice to American Indians, Circuit officials said. Featured films and documentaries look to reveal unspoken history of the nation, generational traumas and struggles indigenous peoples of America face daily, officials said. “This annual festival showcases the rich culture, wisdom, traditional ways, beauty, and diversity of the first inhabitants of America,” a statement from Glover said.

3. Telluride Horror Show | Oct. 13 – Oct. 16 | Sheridan Opera House (Telluride)
For three days, films feature horror, suspense, thriller, dark fantasy, sci-fi and dark comedy. The festival will include Sheridan Opera House but also take place in various other theaters nearby.

Following the festival is a special showing of The Dean’s List on Oct. 27, 2022 at two listed times. at 5 p.m. & 8 p.m. The Sheridan Arts Foundation and Cedar Palmers Film spent the season shooting the skiing, traveling and lifestyle of a diverse group of Telluride local skiers: “some are students and bartenders, others engineers or carpenters, but all of them would give up anything just to ski.”

Built in 1913, the Sheridan Opera House was attached to a hotel of the same name. One year later, a massive mudslide destroyed many structures around it but the slide missed the Sheridan Opera House and it has gone through many revivals to this day, with efforts to save it from disrepair through the ages.

4. Stories Worth Telling Festival | Oct. 15, 2022, 5 p.m. | Tabor Opera House (Leadville)
The Stories Worth Telling festival is in its first year featuring short outdoor and adventure films made by Colorado filmmakers and/or featuring Coloradan film subjects.

The Tabor was built in 1879 in Leadville, surviving fire, the collapse of silver and numerous repairs to its stage.


5. Movies at the Wright | Wednesdays, Sept 28.-Oct. 28, 7 p.m. | Wright Opera House (Ouray)

The Wright was built in 1888 to counter the mining culture. Its builders thought “Ouray needed to be provided with cultural opportunities to offset the influence of the dance halls, saloons, gambling dens, and houses of ill repute,” says its website history. It has lived long past the mining bust.