Theatrical Smoking and Freedom of Expression

TCG Bulletin Stories:

From the January 2010 TCG Bulletin:
As we reported in the January 2009 TCG Bulletin, the Colorado Supreme Court agreed to review the constitutionality of a statewide smoking ban as it is applied to live theatre performances. The Court agreeing to hear the case was the first victory in a three-year legal battle between three local theatre companies and the Colorado Department of Health. Denver’s Curious Theatre Company, Paragon Theatre and Boulder's Theatre 13 argued that smoking onstage is expressive behavior protected by the First Amendment. A Denver District judge rejected that argument in October 2006, and a three-member appellate court followed suit in March 2008. The theatres then took the case to the Colorado Supreme Court. On December 14, 2009, the Colorado Supreme Court upheld earlier Colorado court decisions, and denied an exemption for theatrical smoking. TCG has filed several Amicus Briefs, expertly written by Bruce E.H. Johnson, trustee of Seattle Repertory Theatre and member of TCG’s National Council for the American Theatre, in support of TCG member Curious Theatre Company. The Colorado theatres are considering next steps. TCG plans to continue our support of the case, whether at the state or federal level.

From the January 2009 TCG Bulletin:
The Colorado Supreme Court has agreed to review the constitutionality of the statewide smoking ban as it is applied to live theatre performances. This is the first victory in a two-year legal battle between three local theatre companies and the Colorado Department of Health. Curious Theatre Company, Paragon Theatre and Boulder's Theatre 13 argue that smoking onstage is expressive behavior protected by the First Amendment. A Denver District judge rejected that argument in October 2006, and a three-member appellate court followed suit last March. Oral arguments are expected to be heard in early March.

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