New Frontier Theatre

2021 Season Outdoor Performing Space

We are performing all shows outside in 2021 in an outdoor performance area.

Synopsis of Project

Approaching the 75th season of the Black Hills Playhouse (BHP), we are planning to produce a summer season in a different way, but with a nod to the past. From 1947-1950, the BHP performed in a tent near Legion Lake called the Frontier Theatre. Forced by the hand of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the board and staff of the BHP are working to ensure the safety of artists and patrons in this challenging time by creating a new outdoor performing space to debut summer 2021. The New Frontier Theatre, a name born of pragmatism and nostalgia, represents meeting this challenge, but also an opportunity for future performing arts programs at the BHP.


This plan is being carefully constructed to prioritize the safety of our artists and audiences and create seating areas that accommodate a wide variety of needs at our shows. Final design is still in process. We are in the process of constructing the seating chart in advance of reservations opening on April 27 and individual tickets going on sale May 11 to the general public.

As it stands today, our primary concern is making sure that our young company of artists (many who have not been vaccinated to date) will be able to stay healthy throughout the season. If our artists get sick, we won't have a season! Because of the need to maintain social distance in our living spaces, our company is very small, approximately 40 individuals, making it even more imperative that we do our best to keep everyone healthy. Another top concern are individuals who are most vulnerable i.e. children of artists on the campus and people with health issues that prevent them from getting vaccinations.

The seating plan is being designed to accommodate those who want to be socially distanced and masked, and will have a mask-optional seating section. The seating chart will be on the website shortly before reservations open, so please stay tuned!

NFT Team

Led by Associate Director Randy Niles, the BHP Physical Plant Committee, and a team of passionate BHP alums and volunteers, a plan has come together to bring this theater to life just in time for the 2021 Season.


BHP Physical Plant Committee                    BHP Alum NFT Crew

Rick Giesel, Chair                                           Randy Niles, Chris Jones, CDJ Creative Services

Gary Merkel                                                    Dan Workman, Black Hills Playhouse, Augustana College

Don Massa                                                      Jonathon Allender-Zivic, University of South Dakota

Monni Karim                                                   Victor Shonk, University of South Dakota

Ron Jeffries                                                    John Utter, Technical Director, Black Hills Playhouse                 

Charolyn Mize                                                 Chris Haug, Amber Marisa Cook, SE Missouri State University

Randy Niles (staff liaison)                              Scott Mollman, University of South Dakota 


*special thanks to Gene Fennell

who helped with preliminary design ideas


We are eternally grateful to NFT Donors & Funders     


Mark & Carolyn Mollers

John T. Vucurevich Foundation

Black Hills Area Community Foundation Black Hills By Choice Donors

Meg & Loyd Garrison

Mike & Marnie Gould

Jeff Kingsbury


Karen & Scott McGregor

DeElda McPherson

Charolyn & Phil Mize

Vest Lund in memory of Vida Bernard

Ron, Marion, & Kathy Reed



Central States Fair (stage, risers)

Custer Area School District (chairs)

Gene Fennell (preliminary design)

Chris & Jess Jones (current / final design)

Coming Soon: Campus Safety Protocols and Reservation Opportunities

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.


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

Box Office Hours:

Tuesday - Saturday

9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Theatre Address:

24834 S. Playhouse Road,

Custer, SD 57730



Mailing Address Rapid City:

BHP Business Office

PO Box 2513

Rapid City, SD  57709

Mailing Address Sioux Falls:

BHP Education Office

809 Elmwood

Sioux Falls, SD  57103

Production Photos: Russell Jensen of Sage Studios

BHP Campus Photos: Colleen Marsh Olson

Web-banner by: Badlands Media

Ticketing System provided by Arts People


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