052809 PUPPETS (copy)

David and Debby Simpich opened the Simpich Theatre and Showcase, to do puppets shows and display the work of his parents famous dolls and dioramas. The show opened Friday, May 29th, 2009. On Wednesday, July 21, the family announced they would be closing the showcase. KIRK SPEER, THE GAZETTE

For over 12 years, the Simpich Showcase provided whimsical fun to Colorado Springs families and doll lovers as it continued a family tradition that helped bring a love of dolls to the Pikes Peak region.

But soon, the Simpich family will close its curtains for the final time on the showcase and its beloved marionette theater.

In a Wednesday press release, David Simpich, who opened the showcase after his parents retired from their character doll shop in 2007, said that he and his family haven’t yet decided when the showcase will be closed, but that they can’t sustain standard operations beyond early winter 2022.

The Simpich Showcase had already struggled in the years that preceded the pandemic, but 2020 pandemic mitigation protocols presented a tipping point for the family, Simpich said.

“It was the many months of ‘attempted’ strategy during the 2020 COVID pandemic that has finally ‘forced our hand,’” Simpich said. “We feel closing the present facility layout and its current operations is the responsible course of action for the sake of our family; and for repositioning ourselves for future endeavors.”

The Simpich Showcase opened in the summer of 2009 in the same building that housed the “Simpich Character Dolls” business started by Simpich’s parents in 1952. Along with its marionette theater, the showcase included an art gallery and a museum dedicated in part to the nationwide road tours the family embarked on to spread a love for marionettes.

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Last April, Simpich released a video of one of his marionette plays, in response to Easter Sunday taking place during the pandemic. That was the first time he’d ever released a video of one of his performances for the showcase’s marionette theater.

Simpich Showcase in Colorado Springs offers free video of main stage marionette performance

Unfortunately, Simpich said the showcase’s closure will mean that theater, which hosted its last full season of performances in 2019, won’t see another season.

Simpich added that another reason behind the decision to not squeeze in a modified theater season was that many of the props for the marionette show were destroyed by a flash flood that swept through the family’s storage unit. Luckily, his collection of dolls was spared from the water.  

Online doll sales and restoration services, which the Simpich family has offered to Colorado Springs doll enthusiasts since, won’t cease until the showcase officially closes.

As the family enters the process of shuttering operations, Simpich said they have laid out a provisional “farewell process” for those who have supported the center and would like to say goodbye.

Harkening to the showcase’s roots, Simpich said that the building the family used will be repurposed into a studio space for his sons’ burgeoning video production business, which they started using experience they gained working for the showcase.

Simpich doesn’t plan to leave the world of art either.

“For me, as a puppeteer, and for my ever-supportive wife, Debby, this art form’s momentary and intangible quality is a large part its power and appeal,” Simpich said. “I’m hopeful to explore and bring to fruition some special theatre and storytelling projects in the future.”

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