A local performing arts theater is set to receive a half a million dollars from a private donor. Forrest Mars has pledged the sum to the WYO Theater in Sheridan.
The pledge is the largest gift from any individual, according to a release from the theater's capital campaign co-chairs, Kandi Davis and Richard Davis.
Richard Davis said the organization is grateful for the donation, and many others Mars has made over the years to support Sheridan area community organizations. He said this latest gift, to help with the WYO Theater expansion, is a mark of Mars' generosity and community spirit, and along with others, was critical to the group's beginning the fall construction project.
The expansion project is expected to be done by early next year, and will include a second auditorium, to be called the Mars Black Box Theater, along with a larger lobby and concessions area, more restrooms and dressing rooms, and on the main stage, more wing space, storage, upgraded technical capabilities and a costume design and construction area.
Nicolas Johnson is the WYO Theater's executive director.
He says: “Currently, work continues on the installation of sheet rock on the interior walls. Electrical and plumbing rough-in is also nearing completion and a number of design decisions have been made. Weather permitting we anticipate getting the brick work on the street side of the building started within the next three weeks.”
He said the initial support for the project came through grants from the Wyoming Business Council, secured by the city of Sheridan with the assistance of the Sheridan College development office. Private donations and local area foundation support has come through the work of the committee.
Also, a public fund-raising campaign is currently underway. Donations of any amount are needed to fulfill two different matching grants, one from the Homer & Mildred Scott Foundation and the other from the Peter Kiewit Foundation. Anyone wanting to lend support can call the theater at 672-9083.