Greetings from Randy at the (not-so) quiet campus!
Despite the season postponement, our historic home in Custer State Park has seen a good deal of activity these last few months thanks to BHP Campus Associate Director Randy Niles and the dedicated Physical Plant volunteers who work year in and year out to keep the campus maintained.
We send special thanks to Physical Plant Committee members who have been so generous donating time, effort, and materials to help with projects this year. Thank you to Chair Gary Merkel, Monni Karim, Rick & Susan Giesel, Don Massa, Wade Lampert, Charolyn Mize, and John Kirk. Your gifts have made all the difference!
Several projects have been accomplished this summer including painting, staining, and new flooring across the campus. These projects could not have been completed if not for the generosity of our patrons, members of the Board of Directors, and others. A special thank-you to GCC Dacotah for demolishing the old sidewalk on the men’s restroom side of the theatre, as well as to Flooring America of Rapid City for donating three pallets of laminate flooring that have greatly improved the function and appearance of our dorms.
Fast-forward to next summer and you will be able to see and enjoy the improvements made by the Physical Plant Committee! If you find yourself missing the Playhouse and feel like a virtual tour, join us through this link:
BHP Campus Associate Director
A message from BHP staffer, Kat Preston
After interning as a stitcher with the Playhouse in 2018 and 2019, I knew joining this team full-time was meant to be. I came on-board in January, and I’ve so enjoyed learning my position as Education Production Coordinator.
In addition to learning the ins and outs of inclusive, all-ability theatre, I am learning new skills in virtual programming and administration as we pivot and navigate this Global Pandemic. I’ve been able to try so many new and different things that I probably wouldn’t have attempted without the support of the awesome people at the Black Hills Playhouse.
From trying my hand at graphic design, to helping plan and coordinate a virtual theatre camp from the ground up, (#flatlennyadventures, zoom away camp) I’m loving every minute of my time here. I’m so fortunate to be part of a company that invests in its employees and strives to make the world a more compassionate and beautiful place.
BHP Education Production Coordinator
The House That Doc Built
The Black Hills Playhouse has weathered many storms. Wars, unrest in the US, political challenges in the State, the Great Depression, and actual storms that often took out the power at the theater and may have stopped a show or two. But never in our 75 years did anything stop a season, until the COVID pandemic in 2020.
Our cast and crew apply in January and February and are hired by April. Making a decision on the season was not a decision our board could delay. With courageous and aching hearts, they postponed the 75th season for the safety of our employees, friends, and fans. It also was the prudent thing to do financially given the uncertainty of audience participation due to the virus.
And according to so many of you that contacted us, we did the right thing. Now we are doing the right thing again and planning for our upcoming season. Our schedule will be different from what we presented last year. We don't know what the coming season will bring on the disease front, but we are making contingency plans and, in 2021, the shows must go on.
As we plan for season 75.1, there may be show changes. However, when we heard from friends across the state and country, not one complained about missing a certain show. They lamented the loss of the experience. One letter we received talked about missing the "drive through the forest, the car parks, the popcorn, and the dimming of the lights".
The people who built and acted in the Frontier Theatre (a tent near Legion Lake) can never be forgotten. They built a legacy under the direction of a stubborn and talented South Dakota trailblazer, Doc Lee. The present board and staff's spirit is no less tenacious.
Hang in there with us. Donate if you can. Send good vibes through email and make positive posts if you cannot. With the help of our community, we will emerge brighter, stronger, and better in 2021. And, we will proudly carry on the legacy of the theatre house that Doc built.