STOCKHOLM, Wis. -- Stockholm is known for its art galleries, scenic views and annual events. But tucked in the middle of town, and often easy to miss, is a door, leading to a stairway that leads to a second-floor theater. WideSpot Performing Arts Center is celebrating its tenth season starting this month.
WideSpot sits above the Stockholm Pie Shop and Abode Gallery. The building, which is more than a century old, has no elevator, so show-goers have to ascend a steep set of stairs. When visitors arrive at the top, possibly out of breathe (don’t worry, no one will judge) they find themselves in a small front room where tickets can be purchased. Upon turning left, people enter into a large, high-ceiling room that includes the stage, chairs, a bar and a sectioned-off area that works as a staging area for performers. In the back of the theater there is one office, just large enough for a desk, a few bookshelves and a fridge. The office, used by Lisa St. George, the finance administrator for WideSpot, also doubles as a beverage holder for drinks that will be served during events.
Despite the limited space, WideSpot brings in a season full of talent every year. Some groups and individuals are from the area while many take road trips to Stockholm from surrounding cities.
“We draw a lot of people,” St. George said. “I would say, in the 50 mile radius around the lake but then because so many of our bands come out of the Twin Cities or Rochester or Madison, Milwaukee area, we always get people from that far away, too.”
One of the locally based events scheduled for this season is Pepin Area School’s production “Fairy Tale Princess Game of Thrones.”
Pepin did not have a drama class until this school year when Troy Ingli, previously a teacher and now the activities director, decided to start a class after years of directing fourth graders in a small play.
Along with hosting the school’s play, the WideSpot has a line-up that includes returning and well-loved acts as well as new events, such as a Murder Mystery Theater.
The theater’s schedule runs from October to the beginning of June in part because so many other organizations are running and events are planned for the summer, St. George explained. “We are a really small community and you’re competing, or course, with a lot of other music venues, which is one of the reasons we don’t have anything during that height of the summer.”
While this means that tourists in July through September can’t attend a show at WideSpot, the schedule is set up to provide entertainment during the cold, dark months of winter.
For more information about WideSpot and its tenth season, visit www.widespotperformingarts.org.