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SIOUX CITY | All of Russ and Diana Guhin Wooley's world has been a stage for well over three decades.
The Sioux City natives founded Lamb Arts Regional Theatre 35 years ago. The business, named after the couple’s shared sheep-ish surname, is one of the few privately held, non-equity professional theaters in the country.
For the first seven seasons, the Wooleys rented the second floor ballroom at the Sioux City Hilton Inn, which provided meals for the dinner theater. Soon, it became clear the production company needed a place of its own.
Marvin and Frances Kline, longtime supporters of the arts in Siouxland, helped the Wooleys take the next step. In 1986, Lamb became a subchapter S corporation and found a permanent home in the former Webster School, at 417 Market St.
Eight years ago, Lamb became a nonprofit organization.
Now, for $1 per year, the production company leases the two-story building from the city, which is the same amount charged to other nonprofit groups that use city-owned facilities.
Throughout the years, the Wooleys have appeared on stage in the 200-seat theater, coming alongside countless others local performers.
In addition to putting on productions, the theater company has been offering arts education programs to students since 1989. Diana Guhin Wooley operates the Lamb School of Theatre & Music. Formerly, she taught both subjects in the Sioux City Community School District for 22 years.
Lamb has experienced significant growth in the past decade or so through expanded offerings.
A black box theater was created in 2002, adding a second performance space with an intimate setting able to accommodate 40-60 people, depending on configuration.
The Lamb Caravan was created in 2009, and the first year, it traveled 2,137 miles through five states performing “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” giving students to opportunity to experience a touring show.