Transforming Stories, Deconstructing Barriers and Elevating Those with Disabilities in Metro Denver

For more than 30 years, Phamaly Theatre Company has been challenging preconceived biases and assumptions about individuals with disabilities through producing professional productions that utilize disability as a creative asset. At every performance, you will see actors with all kinds of disabilities: physical, cognitive, intellectual and emotional.

“We believe that everyone deserves comprehensive access to transformative artistic experiences,” said Sasha Hutchings, the company’s managing director. “And it is the responsibility of everyone who engages with the arts — appreciators, supporters, participants and creators — to make this a reality.”

In 1989, PHAMALy (Physically Handicapped Amateur Musical Actors League) was founded by five students from the Boettcher School in Denver, all living with disabilities, who had grown frustrated with the lack of theatrical opportunities for them. In 1990, PHAMALy produced its first show, the ambitious “Guys and Dolls.” It was a smash, and it was just the start of what this innovative organization would achieve and the thousands of people it would go on to influence.

Now known as Phamaly Theatre Company, its mission is to be a creative home for theatre artists with disabilities, to model a disability-affirmative theatrical process and to upend conventional narratives by transforming individuals, audiences and the world.

The organization’s founders were ahead of their time in building an inclusive organization that directly served disenfranchised individuals with disabilities from all racial, ethnic, gender and class identities. Throughout its history, Phamaly has maintained its dedication to this principle of inclusion.

“Through innovative productions, our organization advances the social narrative of disability to affect greater inclusion, participation and respect for people with disabilities in all facets of society,” said Sasha. “Phamaly’s long-term vision is to become a national hub for disability inclusiveness in performing arts, as well as to influence other theatre companies to feature performers with disabilities.”

Sasha remarks that Alpine Bank has supported Phamaly in many ways, including facilitating the organization’s applications for both its Paycheck Protection Plan loan as well as its PPP loan forgiveness during the COVID-19 crisis. “Alpine Bank helped make what could have been a confusing process go very smoothly during an extremely difficult time,” she said. “We are lucky to have such a committed partner in our community.”

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