The Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund to support first of many upgrades at the Broadway Theater.

Last Updated 2/29/2024


Opening Christmas Day with “There’s a Girl in my Heart”, the original West Theater was built in 1948; seating 758 people. Soon after opening, other existing theaters closed down making the West Theater the city’s premier and only functioning movie theater for nearly 30 years. Eventually, the West Theater was sold and became the Rock Theater and continued to show films. As Rock Springs grew, the business quickly outgrew the location and the business moved to the, then newly built, White Mountain Mall. Unfortunately, after the move, the original location, owned by Victory Fellowship Church, sat vacant for nearly a decade only being occasionally used for storage.

In June of 2008, the City of Rock Springs and the Rock Springs Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency (URA) purchased the Rock Theater for $90,000 in efforts to restore, maintain, and assist in the economic development of the historic downtown area. Private investments in the sum of $500,000, as well as a $1.7 million investment contributed by the City of Rock Springs and the Wyoming Business Council, completed the restoration of the theater. In a combined effort from a local non-profit organization, Rock Springs Renewal Fund, Inc., private industries, and community members, the newly renovated Broadway Theater became the gem of Downtown Rock Springs yet again.

Today, nearly 13 years later, the venue is full of life. There is an official Broadway Theater season that hosts roughly 8 shows a year, showcasing a wide range of performing arts mediums including dance, theatre, and live music. Each of these events provide an opportunity for locals and tourists alike to experience otherwise inaccessible entertainment and cultural exposure right in the heart of Downtown.

The historic venue is also “home” to 4 local, theatrical production companies ranging from nonprofit to professional. The Actors’ Mission is a Sweetwater County staple. Having presented shows for the last 20 years, their Mission of “Feed the body - Nourish the mind” still remains strong. The Horizon Theater and The Starling Company were both formed in 2022 in an effort to provide more access, opportunity, and diversity to the art form. Horizon provides entertainment for the more family-friendly audiences, their next being a classic - The Wizard of Oz. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Starling focuses on the amplification of marginalized voices through performance. The fourth group is Upstage Theater Company, who has dabbled in the worlds of theatre, burlesque, and an on-going Princess Party business.

In lieu of so much activity, the Broadway Theater is now being recognized as an asset for the revitalization of Downtown Rock Springs. As such, the Rock Spring Main Street/URA applied for a grant with the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund to begin a number of projects aimed at elevating the space and meeting the demands of Sweetwater County’s growing theatrical and performing arts industry.

The grant request was approved for a funds match of just under $8k, an invaluable contribution to jumpstart the first steps. With those funds, a brand new ETC Ion XE lighting board and 9 R20 relays were purchased through Barbizon Lighting Company out of Denver, CO. However, this is only the first phase to upgrade the entire lighting system. The next steps include purchasing LED, color-changing lights, updating the relay and dimming systems, and training the individual theater companies on how to operate the equipment.

This update, along with future plans of re-vamping the sound system and other technical aspects, will contribute to the overall quality of events hosted at the Broadway Theater, as well as diversify its capabilities as a dynamic space. The transition to modern LED lighting from the current incandescent system will also cut back on utility costs – as well as stabilizing the comfortable temperatures for patrons during shows.

“There is so much talent here, just waiting to be given an opportunity,” stated Kenny McCormack, Theater and Events Coordinator for the Rock Springs Main Street/URA and the Broadway Theater. “The new rise in the theatre industry for Sweetwater County is happening naturally. This elevation is a positive step - not only for the arts in our community - but for our community as a whole.”

To stay connected to the events taking place at the Broadway Theater, please visit www.BroadwayRS.com. You’re also encouraged follow the venue on Facebook and their new Instagram account (@the.broadwaytheater).

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