Community theater and indoor playspace coming to Craig

December 13, 2023

Craig Press

2023 Business Plan Competition Winners - 2nd Place - Jeana Womble (left) and 1st Place- Grant Mader (right)

Craig resident Jeana Womble recently shared her plans for a new community space geared toward Craig’s kids.

On Monday, Womble was awarded second-place in the startup division in the first Craig Business Plan Competition, coordinated by the City of Craig’s Economic Development Advisory Committee and Colorado’s Small Business Development Center. She received a $5,000 prize for her business plan for the Yampitheater Playhouse project.

The Playhouse, which is currently under construction in the east wing of Centennial Mall, will be a multi-use space, according to Womble.

“This is going to be a performing arts center for Craig — for community theater, for music,” Womble said.

She plans to start a youth performing choir, and to open up the space for others who want to teach instruments or offer private lessons. The space will also be available “for music and bands and all kinds of concerts, whatever will fit on the stage.”

Additionally, the space “will be dedicated for kids and indoor play all year.”

Womble said she has long championed “playing with purpose,” which means that the space will include a wide range of equipment and themed play structures. The play structures will include a two-level pirate ship, two-level enchanted medieval castle and an old west jailhouse. There will be backdrop murals, dress-up costumes and accessories available to enhance the themed experience.

In addition to the structures, the space will feature cargo nets and other climbing surfaces, oversized beanbag chairs, slides, a variety of swings and space to run.

Womble hopes to “encourage kids to make believe, create, use your imagination, play with your friends face-to-face and run out your energy — don’t depend on TV and video games to make up your stories.”

Womble pointed to the current lack of indoor spaces and opportunities for kids much lamented within the Craig community.

“I’ve always felt very strongly about opportunities for kids to get out and play and be outside and just go places and be active,” Womble said. “There are lots of wonderful outdoor things in Craig, but there’s a lack of places for kids.”

Womble said that she’s been working in the space for almost six months, “painting, repairing, more painting,” and estimated that the project is “three quarters of the way completed.”

She shared that the efforts of her husband Jeff and son Tim, local artists Nina Shroyer and Janet and Kelly Hayes, and Trent Jones of Mountain Pine Manufacturing have all been indispensable to the project.

“It’s a lot to get done, but it’s really coming along,” Womble said.

While Womble completes the “last little push” of work and awaits approval on her nonprofit status, she hopes to keep the community updated on her progress on the Yampitheater Playhouse Facebook page.

“I have been saying ‘hopefully in a month’ for the past few months,” she said lightly, regarding her timeline for opening.

But even if she’s unsure of an exact opening date, she is sure of one thing.

“I think it’s going to be a wonderful venue and a wonderful gathering place for Craig.”