For one of the plays included in Front Range Fables, a balloon dragon makes an appearance.

The Fine Arts Center is presenting Front Range Fables this summer at various stages around Colorado Springs, including at its new outdoor stage.

Performers rehearse for the Fine Arts Center’s upcoming Front Range Fables events.

Front Range Fables kicks off this weekend.

For the first time in 18 months, the Fine Arts Center will host live theater again this weekend. But it won’t be on the normal indoor stage.

The Fine Arts Center is taking theater outside with Front Range Fables, a series of family-friendly plays inspired by historical events in the Pikes Peak Region that will be performed weekly this summer at various locations around Colorado Springs.

Like any good fable, the idea for Front Range Fables has a good beginning.

In September, the Fine Arts Center Theatre Company produced original radio plays as a way to fill the absence of live theater during the pandemic. One play in the anthology series was called “To Slay the Dragon” and was based on the historic Conejos neighborhood.

As FAC staff like Nathan Holverson listened to the play, about a dragon sculpture in the neighborhood’s playground and a knight who showed up to slay the dragon, something about it screamed to not just be heard, but seen acted out.

“We all just thought, ‘This would make a great show for young people,’” Holverson said. “And it would look so cool to see it.”

The pages kept turning in their heads.

“It became this mission, I guess, to turn that into a play,” he said. “And then to find other stories we could tell.”

For each Front Range Fables session, which Holverson calls a “fun family-friendly summer festival adventure,” three 20-minute plays will be acted out. There will also be interactive art projects tied to the theme of the plays.

Along with the on-stage version of “To Slay the Dragon,” the “fantastical fables” include one inspired by the story of Julia Archibald Holmes, the suffragist and abolitionist who was the first woman on record to summit Pikes Peak in 1858. Called “Shepherd of the Great Mountain” and written by local playwright Marisa Hebert, the fable follows a princess “who breaks with tradition and scales an unscalable mountain to prove to the king and the people of the kingdom that she is just as fit to rule as any man,” as the online description reads.

“We call that one our feminist play,” Holverson said.

For “The Stone Garden,” playwright Jessica Kahkoska was inspired by Curt Goerke, who owned the portion of Garden of the Gods that included the famous Balanced Rock in the 1800s. He put a 20-foot wall around the rock and began charging admission. The fable version of the story is about a man who “learns a very important (and lasting) lesson about generosity and compassion.”

These three plays will be performed at places like the Hillside Community Center and Meadows Park, often with landmarks mentioned in the plays serving as a backdrop. Holverson says the pop-up nature brings a special quality to the series of plays. And it gets theater in front of more people.

“We want to bring theater to the community,” Holverson said. “After the past year and a half, getting outside and finding ways to congregate together is of paramount importance to us.”