Alumni Association

The Black Hills Playhouse Alumni Association (BHPAA) was first formed in 1980. After several dormant years, the organization was re-formed in 1994 as a separate, not-for-profit corporation in South Dakota.  People are members by virtue of their association with the Black Hills Playhouse as a company or board member.  There is no membership fee.

Since its earliest inception, the BHPAA organized reunions to bring new and old alums together. With its reformation, it has organized and executed several major projects for the good of the BHP. The first project of the re-formed group was to organize the 50th Anniversary BHP Alumni Reunion in July 1995 which was attended by over 300 alumni and patrons. As part of the celebration, the BHPAA raised $60,000 to build Hab Hall.

This log structure on the Playhouse campus now serves as a social gathering place for patrons and company members, as well as a company rehearsal and workspace. It was dedicated to Hap and Ellie Haberman (veterans of almost 50 years at the Playhouse) in honor of ALL of the alums who have worked over the years to bring high-quality theatre to audiences in the Black Hills.

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In July of 2005, the BHPAA organized the 60th Anniversary BHP Alumni Reunion and raised $5,000 to purchase new equipment for the scene and costume shops. In 2006, the BHPAA raised funds and produced "Stage Directions: 60 Years with the Black Hills Playhouse," a documentary covering the history and operations of six decades at the BHP.

Other projects include assistance in purchasing the air conditioning and heating in the theater, regular newsletters and maintenance of the alumni database.  The BHPAA was instrumental in raising funds to help the BHP in its successful Get Back in the Park campaign in 2011 and produced and alumni show called "Party Pieces" to raise $25,000 for the stage draperies.

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In 2015, the BHPAA organized the 70th Anniversary Celebration and raised over $70,000 towards $426,000 to replace the electrics in the theatre.  In 2018, over $40,000 was raised to create a covered porch on the dining hall.  It also established a BHPAA Endowment Fund which will perpetually distribute funds for projects the alumni association has an interest in funding. 

The BHPAA has facilitated and participated in a number of BHP events. The Association partnered to hold the Hap Haberman Memorial held at the Playhouse in May of 2018 which was attended by over 300 people. As a revered BHP alum, Hap’s legacy included significant contributions to the Playhouse from friends and admirers. Legacy gifts are tremendously important to the Playhouse and BHPAA helps sustain those endearing relationships that can result in a lasting memorial to the BHP.  

The BHPAA has facilitated and participated in a number of BHP events. The Association partnered to hold the Hap Haberman Memorial held at the Playhouse in May of 2018 which was attended by over 300 people. As a revered BHP alum, Hap’s legacy included significant contributions to the Playhouse from friends and admirers. Legacy gifts are tremendously important to the Playhouse and BHPAA helps sustain those endearing relationships that can result in a lasting memorial to the BHP.  

In addition, the group generously sponsored the tuition for one camper for the BHP Jr. Performing Arts Camp, tools for the shop in honor of Founders of the BHPAA, and helped the BHP raise money to purchase needed kitchen equipment and wireless microphones.

The BHPAA shared BHP social media fundraising projects. In the spring of 2018, The Gimme Shelter project surpassed its goals with a solid showing from BHP alums. A covered porch was completed last spring to expand the eating space in the dining hall. This project was accomplished with help from the SD National Guard who provided the labor and design by BHP Alum Gene Fennell. The Playhouse once again called on our alumni support system to help with the Heat Wave fundraiser at the end of 2018. The alums assisted by recording Facebook videos asking for donations, donating money and soliciting other BHP supporters to donate over the first annual South Dakota Day of Giving on Thursday, Nov 27, exceeding our $8,000 goal to buy new heating units for the dorms which were installed in the Spring of 2019.

The BHPAA sponsors the Extra Mile Brunch for the BHP company, which recognized company members who have gone the extra mile over the season.  Most of the funds are provided by memorial gifts to the USD Foundation for the Playhouse. Recognized are those current company members who have distinguished themselves through exemplary customer service, outstanding work in their field, or dedication to the BHP during the summer.

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In 2020, the BHP and BHPAA will work together to plan celebrations to mark the 75th Anniversary milestone of the Playhouse in Custer State Park.

The Black Hills Playhouse, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to deliver exceptional theatre programs that engage diverse people and strengthen South Dakota communities.

NOTE:  CUSTER STATE PARK PASSES REQUIRED FOR ENTRANCE AT THE PLAYHOUSE

They may be purchased at the BHP, at most entrances of the Park and online HERE.

Theatre Address:

24834 S. Playhouse Road,

Custer, SD 57730

Mailing Address:

PO Box 2513

Rapid City, SD  57709

Box Office: 605.255.4141

Box Office Hours:

Tuesday - Friday

10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

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BHP Campus Photos: Colleen Marsh Olson

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Ticketing System provided by Arts People

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Business Line Hours:

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10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

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