The Tabor Opera House Preservation Foundation in Leadville, Colorado announced on Tuesday that Sarah Dae will be the first-ever executive director (ED) of the organization. Dae brings vast experience and first-hand knowledge to the position: During her seven-year tenure with the City of Leadville, she was instrumental in advancing the city and foundation partnership to purchase and renovate the Tabor Opera House.
Now, Dae will lead all facets of the Tabor Opera House’s present and future, including the first major rehabilitation since its 1879 construction, a $15 million capital campaign, and programming and community engagement. This full-time position will work in collaboration with the all-volunteer board of directors. Dae began in the position on May 2, 2022.
“We could not be more thrilled to welcome Sarah as the foundation’s first ever executive director,” said Foundation President Jenny Buddenborg. “The volunteer board of directors has done a tremendous job leading the organization over the past five years, attaining remarkable goals, including the ability to hire a leader and visionary like Sarah. Our organization and mission are evolving and excelling, and Sarah, with her deep knowledge of and passion for the Tabor Opera House and Leadville, is just the person to take the Tabor into its next phase of growth and vibrancy.”
Dae said that she is an accidental preservationist finding her rhythm in a career with local government while cultivating a passion for the power of place. “There are moments that define you—serendipitous experiences crossing the threshold into something wholly new and reverent,” said Dae. “I ecstatically welcome the challenge as the first executive director for the Tabor Opera House to continue the crucial efforts to rehab and activate this captivating place.”
Dae’s many contributions as a city employee also resulted in Leadville becoming a state Main Street community, the installation of the We Love Leadville tribute monument, the co-creation of an Urban Renewal Authority, and the completion of a highly visible wayfinding system.
A native rural Coloradoan, Dae spent her early years performing in local productions as the captain of her high school drama club and producing shows as a volunteer DJ at KVNK—Paonia’s homegrown radio station. She received a B.S. in Business Administration and Management while raising her four children.
She loves authentic communities that inspire creativity and a reverence for local history. These days in her spare time, you might find her stacking wood at her cabin, sipping a delicious cocktail under the stars, and dreaming up ways to make an impact on Leadville and the Tabor Opera House.
The Tabor Opera House Preservation Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that operates the Tabor Opera House, built in 1879. It leads its rehabilitation, partnering with the City of Leadville, which owns the building. Together, they are working to revitalize the historic Tabor Opera House for a diverse and inclusive audience. The Tabor Opera House has been designated a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.