SHERIDAN — If you’ve attended a show at the WYO Theater — especially one that sold out — you know that the lobby space hasn’t been conducive to much pre-show mingling. You’ve likely noticed the same thing if you’ve stood in line to buy Sheridan WYO Rodeo tickets the day they go on sale.
In just two weeks, though, that cramped space will reopen with a little more legroom.
As part of the theater’s recent renovations, the box office and lobby areas received an upgrade, expanding into the old Hallmark building on the corner of Brundage and Main streets.
WYO Theater box office manager Pam Overton said the renovations allow for more space for customers, but also the WYO Theater staff and volunteers. Overton helps wrangle more than 30 volunteers who do everything from work in the concession stand to usher customers to their seats. That group of volunteers now has its own room where coats and personal belongings can be tucked away during shows.
“It will really alleviate the pileup in the box office,” Overton said.
Overton has worked at the WYO Theater for about nine years — in fact she celebrates her work anniversary this month. She noted that her favorite part of the job has been getting to know the community.
“I’m a very social person, so it’s great for me,” Overton said of her duties. “I can work and communicate with people, get to know the families. I’ve seen kids grow up through Tandem Productions who are now in college. That’s the best part.”
While tight spaces may have been conducive to getting to know people, the expansion will make everything a little more comfortable.
The WYO Theater box office doesn’t just serve its own customers, it also handles ticketing for the Whitney Center for the Arts, the Civic Theatre Guild and the Sheridan WYO Rodeo.
The final phase of the WYO’s expansion efforts will eventually see the entire Hallmark building north of the theater renovated, but the first floor is currently undergoing its makeover with O’Dell Construction serving as construction manager. Full occupancy is scheduled for November but some of the space — such as the box office — will be usable prior to that time, according to WYO Theater executive director Erin Butler.
The first-floor expansion will include not only the expanded lobby space and volunteer room, but also a new dance studio, a green room for performers, a coat check for guests, an expanded stage left, a street-side loading door, an elevator for patron use and equipment transfer and a curved staircase that will mirror the already existing staircase.
All of that, along with exterior updates such as a new roof and façade, are expected to be completed this fall.
In terms of what customers will notice in the new space, Overton said it will be the extra elbow room and the face-lift, primarily.
“For them to stand in line or visit before a show, it will just be much more inviting, open and bright,” Overton said. “It is just a much more welcoming environment.”