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A Theatre In The Woods

Raised in Rapid City and lucky to call it home, this outdoor enthusiast loves to explore the Black Hills with her husband and two dogs. When she’s not at work you’ll find her out hiking, at a local ice cream shop, or perhaps home taking a nap.

August 27, 2019

I don’t know if it’s the setting, the plays, or the actors - probably a combination of all three, but there’s something truly special about the Black Hills Playhouse. The performing arts on display here will exceed your expectations and provide you with a truly unique experience.

Exterior of the Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park

Located just off the awe-inspiring Iron Mountain Road and the out-of-this-world Needles Highway you’ll find a stunning theatre in the middle of the woods. Black Hills Playhouse was created by Dr. Warren M. (Doc) Lee – a theater professor at the University of South Dakota - to house a variety of performances that would draw crowds from across the country. Today, Black Hills Playhouse remains South Dakota’s first homegrown professional theatre company. It’s a space for locals and visitors to enjoy high-quality entertainment and offers employment opportunities for students and theatre professionals.

Performance at the Black Hills Play House in Custer State Park

Over the years, the facility and grounds have undergone many improvements. Originally, the company was housed in abandoned Civilian Conservation Corp buildings built in 1934. A new theatre was built in 1955, and was upgraded in 2008, 2011 and again in 2016. Where there use to be outhouses, now you’ll find modern bathrooms (yay!). Where there use to be dirt and gravel roads that visitors had to travel on to attend a play, you’ll now find them paved (also yay!). Since 2010, more than $1.6 million has been spent on making improvements to the playhouse while still preserving the history and atmosphere that makes it so unique.

Mamma Mia Play at the Black Hills Playhouse

Every summer, the playhouse rotates four to five different plays throughout the season, spanning all different genres. The Black Hills Playhouse has put on some fantastic shows like Mamma Mia!, Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood, and so many more. Operating for over 75 years, the Black Hills Playhouse gets better and better with every season! Check out their website for more information and a description of the shows being performed each season.

For more than 75 years, this theatre in the woods has been home to some of the most entertaining shows in the area and has transformed the lives of performers and visitors alike. While vacationing in Rapid City and the Black Hills, make sure to catch a performance at the Black Hills Playhouse.