Coming of Age at Sunrise YMCA to be performed Sept. 18


An historic artist rendering of the Sunrise Y with several decades of patrons outside Cutline A: Dance Wyoming’s teacher and choreographer Ton Winter, along with playwright/director Kay Kuhlmann and teen actor, Tracy Chamberlain, rehearse a 1940s jive step in preparation for “Coming of Age at the Sunrise Y: 1917-1967” that will be presented Sunday, Sept. 18, at 3 p.m. The performance is open to the public at no charge. Cutline B: Sunrise Mine headgear will be worn by several characters performing in the play. Cutline C: The Sunrise Y boasted a championship baseball team. This jersey displays sponsorship by the CF&I company store.

SUNRISE - “Coming of Age at the Sunrise Y, 1917-1967,” a look back at five decades when the Sunrise YMCA served as the central meeting place for Sunrise families, is coming to a stage near you. That stage is the actual YMCA. Located on the main street of the former mining town, audiences will reach the performance venue by traveling north of Guernsey to Hartville, then proceeding one mile up the hill to Sunrise. The performance begins at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, and is free. Children are welcome.

A cast of 14 teens and adults will bring to life characters who used the Y for a variety of activities. The YMCA opened its doors in 1917, almost two decades after the mine began operations. The grand facility was funded by John D. Rockefeller, making it the first YMCA in the state of Wyoming.

“You will be experiencing stories from history, while watching and listening in the very place that history was made,” according to playwright/director Kay Kuhlmann, a former Sunrise teen who created the script from research and first-person accounts. “I’m particularly focusing the story on teenagers. But, of course, you can’t separate the youth in the town of Sunrise from the story of the mining town itself during those five decades. So, you will meet residents of all ages during the performance.”

The theatre workshop project, hosted by Sunrise Prehistoric and Historic Preservation Society (SHAPPS), is sponsored by the Platte County Historical Society.  Society president Rick Robbins urges Platte County residents to turn out for the one-hour program in this historic corner of Platte County.  Following the performance, the audience will have an opportunity to tour the YMCA and to take part in a discussion led by Guernsey-Sunrise High School Principal Liesl Sisson.

To pre-order box lunches from Sunrise Trade Co. ($10 includes a sandwich, side and beverage) to enjoy as a picnic before the performance, call Kevin at 812-595-0399, not later than Wednesday, Sept. 14. The store is located on your way up the hill and just before entering Sunrise.

This project was made possible by grant funding from Wyoming Humanities and the Wyoming Arts Council, which are state agencies.  For more information about the performance, call or text Kay at 575-317-4994.