Nature: A Walking Play

NOTE: Performance starts near the Little Brown Chapel near the State Game Lodge, NOT at the Black Hills Playhouse. Reminder: Custer State Park vehicle passes required. To purchase tickets on-site, cash is preferred due to lack of internet access. Tickets available for all performances.
For more info see FAQs below.



Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling the State Game Lodge at 605-255-4541.


Due to limited parking near the LITTLE BROWN CHAPEL, please use parking areas at

  • Visitor Center

  • State Game Lodge

  • Peter Norbeck Center

  • Coolidge Store

  • Little Brown Chapel



1 1/2 hour before each performance

1 hour after each performance


Camp chair or blanket, umbrella, water bottle, bug spray & long pants, sturdy shoes.  If you have someone with a disability who needs accommodations, please let us know at 605 255-4141. Water will be available for $2.00 a bottle (cash only)


Pre-show music with bagpipes, drums, and community chorus starts 1/2 hour before the show near the LITTLE BROWN CHAPEL.  Photography and recording devices are not allowed to be used during the play.

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The Black Hills Playhouse and Black Hills Energy in association with TigerLion Arts, presents Nature, an outdoor walking play celebrating the dynamic connection between humanity and the natural world in five performances from Thursday, August 29 through Sunday, September 1.

This poignant story of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, has proven to be a resounding success. Heralded as “One of the Most Striking Performances” by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and by critics as “…truly one of the special and unique theatre experiences ever…” this profoundly moving experience is coming to the State Game Lodge complex during the 2019 Labor Day weekend.


Grounded in the story of their friendship, this virtuosic production offers a perspective on their lives that is strikingly relevant, richly complex, and yet utterly simple.


Nature is performed outdoors as a “walking play.”  A professional ensemble of actors takes the audience on a journey through the natural environment as scenes unfold around them. Bagpipes, ancient flutes, drums, and rich choral arrangements are intricately woven into the experience.  

Nature is an extraordinary, family-friendly journey that co-mingles story, spirit, and nature, as a means to reconnect its audience with the natural world. This original work is collaboratively created with writer/actor Tyson Forbes, a direct descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson.


In 2019 Custer State Park will celebrate its 100th birthday. In 2020, the Black Hills Playhouse will have been in the Park for 75 years. We are proud to be a part of the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks 100 Years of Outdoor Traditions Celebrations!

Play starts at the Little Brown Chapel west of the State Game Lodge in Custer State Park.


Ticket Prices

Adults: $15 

Children: FREE thanks to our sponsors and funders

*Custer State Park passes are required of all vehicles  that enter the Park


Performance Dates

Thursday, August 29th at 6:00 p.m., post-show discussion with co-creators after show

Friday, August 30st at 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, August 31st at 2:00 p.m.

Saturday, August 31st at 6:00 p.m.

Sunday, September 1st at 2:00 p.m.

Reservations strongly recommended!


Alternatively, call us at 

605.255.4141 or 1.855.584.4141 (Toll-Free)

Box office hours are Tuesday - Friday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

"The cast and crew were phenomenal, and the performances absolutely brilliant."


“Nature was a perfect show for our site as we encourage visitors to enjoy the natural landscape, increase their environmental literacy, and find spiritual renewal. "


Frequently Asked Questions

Where will Nature be performed?

This event will take place, starting at the Little Brown Chapel, in a meadow near the State Game Lodge (13389 US HWY 16A, Custer, SD 57730), NOT at the Black Hills Playhouse. Look for signage in the Park and a map will be posted shortly with specific locations.

How long is the show?
90 mins/No Intermission
Come early for a 30-minute pre-show performance that includes bagpiping and choral music to enjoy!​

How long is the walk?

The walk is approximately 8 blocks. Please let us know if a member of your party has special needs. It takes place in a meadow.

What about the weather?
The show will go on, rain or shine, unless weather conditions make it unsafe. Weather-related information will be distributed through email to ticket holders who have provided their email information and on 
Facebook. In the event of a weather cancellation, your ticket is good for any other performance.

What is included in the ticket price?
Your ticket to the show includes admission to the performance, as well as to the extraordinary outdoor setting. If possible, plan your trip so you can spend some time on the grounds. Bring a picnic to enjoy before or after the show.​ Ticket holders can show the coupon at the top of this page for a $3.00 discount at the State Game Lodge restaurant on any purchase of $25 or more.

Where do I pick up my tickets?
Check-in will be underneath a canopy beside the Little Brown Chapel. Wristbands will be distributed to those who have purchased their tickets.


Where will we be walking?
Performances start at the Little Brown Chapel west of the State Game Lodge. The show takes place along a mowed path in a meadow, beside a creek within the State Game Lodge complex in Custer State Park. Audience members will be guided along paths and maneuverable terrain to each location.​ It is approximately 8 blocks worth of walking through the meadow. Click
here to view the map.


What else should I know? What should I bring?
Allow yourself plenty of time for parking and walking to the reception area. Bring a portable camp chair or blanket if you want to sit along the way. An umbrella and rain gear might come in handy depending on the weather. Bug spray, long pants, and sturdy shoes are recommended.

Is this show appropriate for children?

Absolutely. Children of all ages love this show. The music, the dance, and the outdoors mixed with the adventure of moving from site to site, keep them engaged and entertained.

Is photography allowed during the performance?

Photography and video recordings are strictly prohibited during the performance. We want the audience to unplug and experience NATURE through their eyes and ears rather than a device.

Where can I buy tickets?

To acquire tickets for this event, click here to purchase online or please call us at 605.255.4141. We will be selling them onsite, but it is easier to purchase tickets in advance. Box office hours may be viewed on the bottom of the webpage.

This event is made possible through the

generous support of our partners

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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.

Theatre Address:

24834 S. Playhouse Road,

Custer, SD 57730

Box Office: 605.255.4141

Box Office Hours:

Tuesday - Friday

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

Business Line Hours:

Monday- Friday

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

Production Photos: Russell Jensen of Sage Studios

BHP Campus Photos: Colleen Marsh Olson

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Ticketing System provided by Arts People

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