Theater Opening For High School Performers

Nelson Garcia, KUSA10:43 p.m. MST January 9, 2016

DENVER - Even though Neil Truglio was suspended from teaching theater at Eaglecrest High School in Centennial, that did not stop him from continuing to teach high school students his passion for the arts.

"I didn't create this for me. I created this for them," Truglio said.

Last year, he says he disagreed with a the way that administration wanted him to run the theater program at Eaglecrest and it led to his removal from the program.

"I was super upset because I figured out he wasn't gonna come back to school I was like well, what are we gonna do?" Bridget McIntosh, Eaglecrest High School junior, said.

In October, Truglio decided to start Modest Arts, a theater production company for high school students in a vacant warehouse space located in the River North area of Denver known as RINO.

"This is not high school theater. This is theater with high schoolers," Truglio said.

Jason Valenzuela is one of 27 Eaglecrest students who decided to join the production which occupies hours after rehearsal after school and on weekends.

"Neil moved on and we kinda just wanted to follow him and see what he had in store for us," Valenzuela said.

Truglio calls Modest Arts a college prep for program for any student, not just from Eaglecrest, who believe theater can help them pursue any sort of higher education from acting to science to mathematics.

"The coolest thing about doing it here is to take this 27 kids and walk into a space where theater has never been made," Truglio said.

So, he and the students are making it from scratch. They're building their own sets, designing their own light system, and working out their own acoustics.

"For him to this was crazy and he's pulling it off somehow," McIntosh said.

The Eaglecrest students are putting on a modern-day version of Romeo and Juliet which will debut on January 14. For more information,  click here:

"I do not anticipate that I will make a lot of money with this endeavor, I don't," Truglio said. "I would say that if we sold out every audience at Romeo and Juliet, we'd probably break even."

The profits of his passion, Truglio says, lies with the students.

"I get the reward of their growth," Truglio said. "I get the reward of a kid who came into the process and was okay and by the close of the process will be great."