Aurora Director of Library and Cultural Services Midori Clark announced the hiring of seasoned theater professional Richard R. Cowden as the new executive producer of the Aurora Fox Arts Center, effective Aug. 28.
Cowden comes to the Aurora Fox Arts Center from his most recent role as general manager and executive director of Denver’s Mizel Arts and Culture Center, where he oversaw all the center’s cultural activities including the Wolf Theatre Academy, Denver Children’s Theatre, the Neustadt JAAMM series and other programming. He is also the former director of the arts at Vermont’s Castleton University, where he led the departments of art, music and theatre, while also serving as director of the campus’s Fine Arts Center; he also served as the head of the Department of Theatre Arts at Colorado Mesa University from 2006 to 2010. Cowden is also the creator of the CICERO public speaking system, which he used to provide high level presentation coaching to celebrities, political leaders and Fortune 500 executives.
“We are very excited to have Richard (Rich) as the new executive producer of the Aurora Fox Arts Center,” said Clark. “Rich’s vast expertise in all the aspects of theater production, along with his teaching experience, makes him a well-rounded leader and visionary for the Aurora Fox.”
As a director with over 50 productions to his credit, Cowden was the associate artistic director of Denver’s Edge Theatre Company, where he directed the world premiere of Jonson Kuhn's “Newark Violenta” and received a Broadway World award as best director for his direction of the regional premiere of “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.”
“I am so humbled and honored to assume the executive producer role at the Aurora Fox, a place I've visited as an audience member so many times and where I've had such wonderful experiences, said Cowden. “I believe in the Aurora Fox's role at the center of the metro area's theatre community, and I'm looking forward to creating work that is thought-provoking, uplifting, challenging, and sometimes just plain silly. Rather than thinking of the Aurora Fox as a community theatre in a traditional sense given our professional focus, I want folks to feel welcome here regardless of their background, their cultural identity, their economic status, or even their level of interest in the theatrical art form--in other words, I envision the Aurora Fox as the community's theatre.”
Other professional credits as an actor, singer and director include sharing the Carnegie Hall stage with Stephen Sondheim as a member of Essential Voices USA, starring in Iceland's top-rated comedy series “Spaugstofan” and appearing as a featured soloist for the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Richard holds an MFA in directing from the Ohio University School of Theater and a BA in Music Theatre from Colorado Mesa. A sought-after presenter and teacher, he taught acting, directing, playwriting, improvisation, script analysis and theatre history for over 25 years.
Cowden also wrote and directed the Wolf Theatre Academy’s post-pandemic “comeback” production, “Emergence,” in 2021 and directed 2022’s “Matilda” and “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged),” “Puffs” for WTA and recently helmed the Denver Children’s Theatre production of “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.” He also serves on the executive committee of the Collaborative of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD).
Cowden will oversee the operations of the Aurora Fox Arts Center, an award-winning professional theatre, a program the city of Aurora’s Cultural Services Division. The Aurora Fox is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, Small Professional Theater Tier 1 that employs five full time staff, 200 local theatre artists annually and two performance spaces: a 242-seat proscenium theater and a 72-seat corner thrust black box “studio” theater. The Aurora Fox is committed to the celebration of diversity and authentic representation of the Aurora community in its selection of plays, casting process and pursuit of theatrical innovations.