What we believe
The Black Hills Playhouse will create inclusive performing arts experiences as South Dakota's leading professional and educational theatre.
The Black Hills Playhouse delivers exceptional theatre programs that engage diverse people and strengthen South Dakota communities.
INCLUSION: Theatre is an integral part of the human experience and needs to be accessible to all. We embrace shared humanity, in order to experience transformation through theatre.
ARTS / COMMUNITY IMPACT: Arts are impactful vehicles for social, civic, cultural, and educational engagement and vital to the growth of dynamic communities.
RELATIONSHIPS: Strong, deep, and meaningful relationships are key to sustainability and extend the reach of the BHP mission.
SUSTAINABILITY: Responsible management, strategic planning, and engaged teams are essential to the success of the Black Hills Playhouse.
The Black Hills Playhouse is committed to creating theatre that welcomes, celebrates, and promotes the human experience in all its diversity. We seek to collaborate with, employ, share the stories of, and engage individuals of all backgrounds and experiences to foster a healthy environment for opportunity and growth through the power of performance art.
WHAT WE DO
The Black Hills Playhouse (BHP), associated with the University of South Dakota, was established in 1946 as a summer stock theatre located in the Black Hills of SD. Entering its 75th season, the BHP is one of the oldest continuously running summer stock theatres in the nation. It provides high-quality, professional theatre productions, and diverse artistic opportunities for theatre professionals and students in an idyllic, natural environment. Hundreds of thousands of people have enjoyed productions since 1946, and thousands of students have received training through BHP programs.
The BHP runs diverse year-round education programs including Dakota Players, a 20-year-old touring children's theatre company, which travels to communities large and small throughout SD. In 2021, new programs based on Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Native culture are in development. Since 2015, BHP has operated performing arts camps in the Black Hills which have attracted hundreds of participants in grades 5th - 12th from all over SD.
Since 2013, the BHP has engaged students through classes that lead to performance and large-scale productions in partnership with LifeScape and DakotAbilities, organizations dedicated to helping people with disabilities achieve greater independence.
We recognize that the land we work on is the ancestral and unceded land of the Cheyenne and Oceti Sakowin Indigenous tribes who are past and present stewards of the land and it is land considered sacred by many tribes. We recognize and seek to work with the nine sovereign nations in South Dakota--Cheyenne River, Crow Creek, Flandreau Santee, Lower Brule, Sisseton-Wahpeton, Standing Rock, Yankton Sioux, Rosebud, and Oglala tribes. The name they call themselves is Oceti Sakowin which means Seven Council Fires.
Current BHP programs include lessons that teach theatre through the lens of Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings. This work is only possible because of Indigenous people and partners who have elected to share their knowledge with us. We pursue this work with the goal of providing opportunities for all people in South Dakota to learn about, respect, and celebrate the variety of cultures that exist in our state.
Produce quality theatre, thoughtfully chosen for community impact, while challenging the company to achieve high artistic standards.
Create and deliver inclusive accessible year-round theatre programs designed to meet the needs of communities while engaging, enriching, and igniting the shared imaginations of company members and participants.
Work with arts, finance, and community partners to increase access to arts education and cultural experiences.
Strengthen and preserve the Black Hills Playhouse as a South Dakota cultural treasure through critical and historic partnerships with the University of South Dakota, Custer State Park, and the BHP Alumni Association, while continually seeking innovative partnerships which further the mission.
Maintain professional staff and leadership, an active board of directors, and responsible financial management to ensure implementation of all goals.